RoboCop (2014)

Director: José Padilha
Writer: Joshua Zetumer
Remake of: RoboCop
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson

OmniCorp are a robotics company who have been trying to get their robots on the ground in the USA as well. But people there don’t trust the judgement of robots. So when police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a bomb that was attached to his car, OmniCorp jumps at the opportunity. They ask Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), to take the parts of Alex that are still functional and build a half-human, half-robot police officer with it. But that combination isn’t easily pulled off and even after it is, there are still problems to be encountered.

There were some things that I liked about the film but in fact the most entertaining thing about it was standing around with my friends for an hour afterwards and bitching about all its failures. And there were plenty of those.


As I said there are things I liked about the film. I liked that Alex’ wife got more to do than just be mentioned (though Abbie Cornish was tragically underused as usual). I liked the small call-backs to the original. I really enjoyed Samuel L. Jackson’s role and the TV show they put together – which was a wonderful update of the media criticism of the original (with just as much subtlety, which is to say: none). And most of the time I wasn’t bored. [teashoe also read the news captions and quoted them to us afterwards – it’s worth it to pay attention to them.]

But other than that the film didn’t have that much to offer. Joel Kinnaman was a really bad choice as lead – he couldn’t carry the film at all and I hesitate to call what he did acting at all. Especially when you compare it to the rest of the cast who had the more badly written characters to contend with but had so much more fun (Gary Oldman can make everything work and Michael Keaton decided he was gonna act, dammit, despite the script). Which is not to say that Alex Murphy was actually well written because with characters and dialogues like that pretty much everything is doomed. [And, even though Michael K. Williams also does his best with what little he is given, why the hell did they have to make Murphy’s partner male? Just so they could have a black guy sacrifice himself for the white lead, not once but twice?]

Joel Kinnaman

The trouble is that the movie didn’t even manage to make the cross into so bad it’s good territory. Despite some ludicrous facts like what parts they decided to keep human (that hand. Why? WHY??? It wasn’t connected to anything. It just didn’t make sense) it wasn’t bad enough and despite their attempts to broach more serious subjects like what makes us who we are (which got such a superficial treatment that they probably shouldn’t have raised that question in the first place), it wasn’t good enough. Plus the movie undermines its own message by having Alex be pretty trigger happy for a good guy. [I mean, that ending? Seriously?] But the absolute worst thing about it was the sound mixing when it came to RoboCop. No matter how far away, no matter what he touched, he always made the same sound at the same way too loud volume.

In the end it was just a really bland film with bland action scenes and bland dialogues (apart from Samuel L. Jackson) and bland characters, plus a way too predictable plot. It manages to avoid everywhere it could have been interesting to go and rather explores everything we already know.


Sumamrizing: Even though I didn’t particularly like the old one, I’d rather watch that again than this.

6 thoughts on “RoboCop (2014)

  1. I didn’t like it either. Here’s the comment I wrote to Maynard after his surprisingly gloring review of the remake, which sums up my problems with it:
    While – AFAIR, it’s been quite a while since I saw 2 and 3 – better then the sequels, IMHO “Robocop 2014” is vastly inferior to the original.
    1.) F*ck that black suit. It was pseudo-cool instead of cool. I don’t get why they thought the needed to update his look, the silver Robocop-design is still unbeaten IMHO. What made it even more annoying was that for a second I thought we would get the silver one back, when they went over those designs, but no.
    2.) As nice as it was to hear the original Robocop-theme, it was only played twice, and only for a couple of seconds. Everything that Bromfman composed for the movie doesn’t stand a chance against Poledouris.
    3.) It totally missed any heart. The whole family-stuff didn’t really work for me.
    4.) I vastly prefer the arc of the original. There, Murphy was believed to be dead, he startet out as a “robot” and over the course of the movie, had to regain his memories – and his humanity. In the 2014-Robocop, his character development was all over the place, without any buildup.
    5.) I found the action to be incredibly forgettable.
    6.) I truly missed the satire of the original.
    7.) The Pat Novak scenes were far too on the nose with their critisism of modern “journalism”.

    The only truly good part was the revelation scene of how much – or rather little – of Murphy is left. I also liked the revelation that Robocop isn’t as effective as the drones because he “thinks too much” and is too human. Then again, given their goal – finding a way into the US market – I didn’t get why this was such an issue in the first place, to be honest. Making him less human seemed to totally defy the reason why they wanted a human-machine-hybrid in the first place. Does it really matter if he’s a little slower than the drones? Would a company that does this mostly to enter a new market and make some more cash really care about the efficiency of their product?

    But I was talking about the things I liked about this new Robocop, wasn’t I? Well… yes, that one scene, and a couple of ideas. One thing that I hold in their favour: They didn’t just make a carbon copy of the original, but instead tried to find new themes and ideas. Too bad that I thought that the themes and the ideas of the original are vastly superior.

    • 1) Also did you notice that he wore the black suit as long as he was in “full robot” mode but when he got his humanity back, he went silver again? Because something black can’t possibly be good or something.

      2) Ah! I forgot to mention the wonderful soundtrack of the original. The couple of moments it was used in this one were actually the most effective soundtrack moments in the entire film, so I can totally understand why you’d want more.

      3) The family stuff worked for me because Abbie Cornish always works for me. But there could have been more and it could have been smarter.

      4) I thought that the movie tried to ask the questions about Murphy’s humanity a little differently from the original but unfortunately failed to make that interesting because they provide you with the answer straight away, too. What makes Murphy human is his brain and if you fuck with the brain, you become un-human. When you have such a (simple and simplified) answer that comes straight with the question, why bother exploring the topic?

      I was wondering about the efficiency thing as well. It doesn’t make much sense, when you think about it, for exactly the reasons you point out. But then again, nothing that company did made much sense to me.

  2. I admit, there were a couple things that didn’t make sense, like the hand or the meh epilogue, but you know what? Dammit, it entertained me so, so much. My expectations were rather low, but for whatever reason, it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time, especially in the last third. Well it’s a Bubenfilm =D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.