I’m glad my husband convinced me to watch the original RoboCop last year, so that I would actually have an interest in seeing the reboot. No, that’s not true. When I first saw the trailer for the new RoboCop, I thought, “OMFG fuck you Hollywood and all your fucking reboots. Leave my youth alone!” But then the trailer revealed the presence of BAM. Samuel L. Jackson. BAM. Gary Oldman. BAM. Michael Keaton. Fine, RoboCop. I’ll watch you, but be warned, I’ll be watching you.
I figured it would be a “meh, when it comes on The Movie Network,” kind of movie, but reviews turned out to be surprisingly positive. As in, the reviewers were surprised that they could be so positive. So we surprised the girls with their favourite babysitter and headed out for date night. Still, had we waited a week longer, RoboCop would have been out of luck because I’d have wanted to see 300: Rise of an Empire. For the plot.
Aaanyway, the movie jumped right on in with Samuel L. Jackson as media mogul Pat Novak, loudly proclaiming the ignorance of a United States that refused to use the technology available to protect its people from crime. Cue harrowing scene in Tehran where law enforcing robots intimidate the people, until some of the people rebel. Shots fired. Shit hits the fan.
It set the tone for the movie. This wasn’t going to be the silly violence of the original, but thankfully, it wasn’t a heavy-handed moral-of-the-story machine, either.
This is rated only PG-13, which means very little blood and gore, which pleased me. The original movie was over the top with that, and unless you have ample naked and rippling flesh to balance that (I’m looking at you again, 300 … heeeey 😉 then I’m not so much interested in the gratuitous violence, though I’m sure diehard fans of the original aren’t happy. I know the reason for a PG-13 rating is mainly marketing – as in, maximizing the audience and making it possible for nostalgic parents to take their kids along.
I thought RoboCop 2014 paid great homage to its predecessor, not just in name, with Michael Keaton playing the role of not-so-nice businessman, Raymond Sellars. It was, in many ways, a reflection of the previous, with each element updated to suit our time. There were differences, of course. Namely in the focus on making Murphy more human @1. The original RoboCop required intrusive flashbacks to eventually get his memory and thereby his humanity back. The 2014 version opts to keep Murphy’s humanity – complete with the feels that Joel Kinnaman portrays very well (which diehard fans also might not appreciate so much because OMG MAN TEARS!). His wife and child play an active role in this maintaining the humanity process, making it all the more horrible when Gary Oldman’s Dr. Norton is forced to remove the last pieces of his humanity after an ill-timed malfunction.
From there, it’s not entirely clear why Murphy ends up reverting back to his old self. We just have to accept the wife and child triggers, as well as Dr. Norton’s say so. It leaves the final showdown a bit wanting, especially considering how it previously ended, but it’s not enough for me to complain too much.
In fact, my only significant disappointment turned out okay in the end. I had really liked that Murphy had a female partner in the original and she wasn’t automatically a sex object or love interest BECAUSE VAGINA. Ann Lewis was his partner, loyal to the core. She had his back as he had hers. Murphy’s partner is male now, played by Michael K. Williams, and initially, he doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with the focus so squarely on a very efficient Murphy, but when Murphy really needs him, Jack Lewis is there, as solid as a woman rock.
Oh I was also disappointed in K.C. Collins’ character because OMG Hale you can’t be a bad cop! This is not going to go over well with the Light Fae at ALL.
Overall, even though I wasn’t invited to reprise my role as Business Woman #3, I was very pleased with this reboot. While I would still appreciate if Hollywood at least tried to tell new stories, I’m okay with reboots and remakes if an effort is made to understand why the original failed or succeeded. As long as there is a clear attempt to do a good job, as opposed to merely make a buck by making things explode (lookin’ at you, Michael Bay), then I suppose I can live with a trend that apparently will never go away.