Robocop Review

Robocop

Letting go is a lot easier said than done, especially when it comes to the people we love.

Just ask Clara Murphy, wife of police officer and all round action man Alex.

Hot on the trail of one of Detroit city’s biggest criminal overlords, Officer Murphy and his partner in crime fighting get a little too close to snaring said bad man in a phony arms deal and end up paying a heavy price.

Having shot their way out of this sticky situation like a modern day Butch and Sundance, Murphy emerges unscathed although the same cannot be said for his hospitalised partner.

It seems as though Murphy is the luckier of the two, until Detroit’s gun running man targets a bit of lethal retribution.

With his body broken and battered, Murphy is literally half the man he used to be; which is when Clara is approached by a Doctor Dennett Norton of renowned cybernetics group Omnicorp with a proposal that might just save her husband’s life.

What kind of life this would be is another matter entirely.

Robocop can now be added to that never-ending list of supposedly classic films to have been reborn for a new generation.

Paul Verhoeven’s original was by no means great, but under the maverick Dutch director’s guidance this tale of a half human half robot cop was quirky enough to acquire a sort of cult status.

Where director Jose Padilha’s resurrected tin man succeeds while other reboots have failed is in its timing; modern technology has made the idea of a cyborg that can match us humans far less fanciful than it was in the eighties.

Cleverly opening with a scene that plays on military drones saving american lives while liberating yet another middle eastern country from the tyranny of being run by their own people, Padilha sets Robocop’s tone to ironic through a series of Samuel L Jackson shaped vignettes that seem wholly inspired by the propaganda merchants disguised in patriotic rhetoric known as Fox news.

As with the original, this parody of the not so distant future is the real fun of Robocop.

We follow Murphy’s journey from regular cop to the robo kind, as Jackson’s faux republican media persona repeatedly bleats on about why america should be using drones to eliminate their domestic issues.

The rest of Padilha’s Robocop is pretty standard action fare, with plenty of shoot outs, explosions and the inevitable end of film showdown.

Only problem with this being that the actions scenes are a whole lot more fun when Murphy’s human, and not a machine that’s basically incapable of making a false move or shot.

This new Robocop is good, disposable fun for any action junkies out there, but hard-core fans of the original may have difficulty letting go of Verhoeven’s take on this.

Jonathan Campbell

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February 2014
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