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.