I was very worried about the new RoboCop, and I’m very happy to have been very wrong.
Growing up I watched the original so often it’s been installed as one of my prime directives. Trailers for RoboCop 2014 didn’t leave me hopeful, but I’m delighted to report that it’s the Inverse Trailer Effect: shitty movies can look awesome because they’ve been built to sucker people in with best bits which can be reduced to a minute of five-second smashes, and awesome movies can look shitty because all the best bits won’t fit in five-second smashes. Robocop 2014 is the latter.
Now a NO SPOILER checklist of essential RoboReasons fans should see the new movie.
- Brutal evisceration of modern media bias: YES
- Gorgeous callback to original RoboCop design: DOUBLE-YES
- Villains who are unquestionably assholes: YES
- Upgrade of original message to suit the times: YES
- Sequences the original would have included if they could only have dreamed of having the special effects to pull them off: YES
And most importantly
- Famous Quotes From The Original, Multiple:
- – Cool line used seamlessly: CHECK
- – Cool line crowbarred in a bit but you don’t mind because it’s the best one: CHECK
- – Cool line used in brilliant inversion of original meaning: CHECK! SCREENWRITING BONUS!
The movie understands (just as the original did) that simply standing there and shooting bad guys while invulnerable isn’t a compelling plot. Despite being the plot of most action movies. There are a couple of glorious show-off sequences, like the original drug factory shooting gallery, but the plot progression doesn’t depend on fights getting bigger until you end up with tough-guys-throwing-each-other-through-a-steelmill. It’s a classic RoboCop final showdown, but with a new solution to fit the new Robo. I’m still annoyed that Officer Lewis was testicled for no reason other than “they already have a woman”. On the upside, Clara Murphy is an actual character instead of the feared self-propelled tear-lubricated wet blanket.
It’s not a retread of the original, it’s a new movie, and rather a good one. It’s how a RoboRemake should work: a genuine rebuild, using cool parts from the originals (even salvaging a couple of concepts from RoboCop 2), fleshed out with their own new material, and released into the civilian population to kick ass.
More movie fun with Pacific Rim: The Story of the Irish Jaeger and 5 Sequels Made By People Who Must Not Have Seen The Original.
I agree with you entirely except the “”shooting whole invulnerable” part. I felt they got to the high stakes / weapons that could actually damage him part a bit too quickly and would have enjoyed a little more straight up fuck you badguys awesomeness out of Robo vs hopelessly outmatched humans before we got there.
This is something Terminator 2 really understood well, and gave us the gleefully brutal scene of Arnie pwning the holy living fuck out of the LA police department in the Cyberdyne building before moving on to the factory fight where it wouldn’t be near so easy.
I’d say both had the same amount: original had the Drug warehouse, 2014 had the Testing Facility, and then both got on with their other themes. Next time he meets Clarence in the original, the state-of-the-art bang-bangs are already in play. And the Weapons Warehouse in the new movie inverted it nicely – they did bring out the weapons that could hurt him, and he mopped the floor with them anyway. (Makes him even cooler, showing that he can triumph even without the invulnerability advantage).
I’ll still agree that I could have gone for more ass-kicking. Because invoking T2 will always convince me of anything.