Director: José Padilha
Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton
Alex Murphy’s attempted murder and subsequent lifesaving transformation from ordinary human police officer to robotics infused cop (or RoboCop) is the stuff of 1980’s American cinema legend. Now they’ve brought it back to modern audiences and even better, in my humble opinion. The multi billion dollar, multi national conglomerate, OmniCorp has been trying to fight a congressional act that prevents them from policing the streets of the U.S.A. with robots. In an effort to sway public opinion on their robots they devise a plan to put a man in a robot of theirs as to give it the conscience the masses question in the current unmanned drones they use.Enter Detroit police officer Alex Murphy, whom has been car bombed and almost killed. Murphy’s wife signs over permission that allows him to be rebuilt in to the man/ robot hybrid that OmniCorp has been looking to build. The question is, will the man or the machine win out when it comes living Alex Murphy’s new life?
There’s a lot to like about this new version of RoboCop as I was never a fan of the originals. I think they got this one right. They ask questions about the morality of policing the streets of the world with machines that have no instinct for right and wrong just programmed orders. They also wrestle with the concern that if something like a RoboCop were to become a reality would his free will be only an illusion that can be controlled by the operator of his systems or will he truly be able to choose his own way of completing his task? What happens if he is defective? Do they throw away prototype even though that means ending his life? All poignant points they make in this film as opposed to the old one. The new emphasis on the emotional part of the whole process of Alex’s transformation are played up a lot more in this version. This helps to make the viewer attach to and care about the characters involved in his life before and after his attempted assassination.
The actors were cast very well. Joel Kinnaman ( Stephen Holder from The Killing TV series), plays the role of Alex Murphy well. He pretty much brings the same street savvy attitude and accent to the role that helps modernize the character. Gary Oldman as Dr. Dennett Norton I will needlessly state is great in his role as he always is the consummate great actor. Michael Keaton is OK as Raymond Sellars but nothing too exceptional but he doesn’t need to be as the role never really requires it. Michael K. Williams (or Chalky White to Boardwalk Empire fans) appears as Murphy’s partner. Yes, you read that right they changed his partner from a woman in to a man.
I really think this movie could be a summer movie contender. I also believe it’s a great way to transition in to the blockbuster movie season. With all of it’s changes (and great changes they are) it still keeps the soul of the original with plenty of homages to the source material to satiate it’s cult following. Bottom line is, you should go see this movie.