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RoboCop– Movie Review

Submitted by on February 14, 2014 – 7:50 pmOne Comment

Why did they need to remake RoboCop? They didn’t. But despite a lack of good reasons and some (unsurprisingly) unbelievable plot developments, RoboCop (2014) employs a great cast, some interesting cinematography, and a dose of humor to make an enjoyable action movie.

Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is a clean cop on Detroit’s corrupt force in the near future. He is investigating a crime lord who has protection on the force. Meanwhile, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) is a robotics CEO who can’t circumvent a law prohibiting robot law enforcement in the US. Their worlds collide when Sellars decides to put a man inside a machine, and Murphy is almost killed in an assassination attempt from the crime lord. Murphy is given a second chance at life as a robo-human prototype. But when his human side creates problems, Sellars and Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) tamp down the emotion. However, Murphy overpowers his programming, and starts to pursue the people who worked against him.

The story is flimsy and too broad to really capture current anxieties over drone warfare, government surveillance, and the privatization of security forces. The character development suffers too- Oldman and Keaton turn in fine performances, but they can’t hide the fact that they become villains at the drop of a hat. Dennett sites medical ethics at the beginning, but is soon bragging about how easily he “fixed” Murphy’s human emotions. And Sellars is a reasonably ruthless business man at the start, but is a near super-villain of evil by the climax.

It’s more interesting watching Murphy try to adjust to his shocking new life. Kinnaman does a great job acting with just his face, bringing to life situations that could have easily been camp: seeing himself as just a head and a pair of lungs, videochatting with his wife, and “overriding his programming.”

Director Jose Padhila, whose blood-soaked Elite Squad movies in Brazil offered a much sharper social critique, still brings some flair to RoboCop. From a dream sequence that turns into a nightmare, to the obligatory gunfight in the dark, the film remains engaging to watch.

Of course, no review would be complete without mentioning Samuel L. Jackson. Who knew he would make such a great Bill O’Reilly stand-in? And just wait until the end when he goes full Jackson.

Did you see RoboCop? What did you think? Let us know in the Comments.

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