'RoboCop' reboots with more action
The reboot of “RoboCop” uses the basic blueprint from the 1987 movie starring Peter Weller. It's been modified and updated to create a sleeker design, but it is not as intellectually cutting-edge.
Big business has become the new go-to villains now that the Russians aren't as scary, making the film less of a cautionary tale about how machines are taking over our lives and more focused on the evils of corporate America.
Just like the original, the new “RoboCop” focuses on Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a first-rate cop who becomes the target of one of the top criminals in near-future Detroit. An explosive attack leaves Murphy with little more than his brain and right hand worth saving. Fortunately for him, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) has been trying to come up with a way to get the public and politicians to get on board with his new robot peacekeepers.
The chief complaint is that robots are too analytical in their thinking. That's when Sellars comes up with the plan to have his chief robot expert, Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), put the few remaining parts of Murphy into a robot body to create the perfect union of a machine's abilities with a human's thinking.
In the original film, Murphy's past was a blank, returning in only spits and spurts of images. His emotional struggles came out of trying to recapture the world that helped define his humanity. The new Murphy remembers his family and his struggle is more of how to be a husband and father when most of your body has a limited warranty.
Because the new RoboCop has more memory of past life, the performance by Kinnaman has more emotional impact than Weller's work. But Weller sold the idea of a manbot far more convincingly because he wasn't saddled with sentimental situations.
Both films offer plenty of action, with the new version having a slight edge just because of the technology that's available to create massive battle sequences. What the new “RoboCop” loses in its message, it makes up with first-rate fights.
The least interesting part of the new “RoboCop” are segments that feature Samuel L. Jackson as the host of a TV news program.
The new “RoboCop” shows we have the technology to build a sleeker, faster and more powerful version of the original film. But it comes at a price — the new movie isn't as crisp when it comes to its political and social messages.
Rick Bentley writes for The Fresno Bee.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 5-year-old boy needed for ‘Let It Snow’ role
- ‘Black or White’ leaves Kevin Costner spent — emotionally and financially
- Review: Stylish whodunit ‘The Loft’ doesn’t reach narrative heights
- DVD reviews: ‘The Judge,’ ‘Fury’ and ‘The Book of Life’
- ‘Birdman’ gets Oscar boost with 2 weekend wins
- ‘Let It Snow’ filming in Millvale
- Review: Cotillard shines in Dardennes’ moving social drama
- Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’
- DVD reviews: ‘Boyhood,’ ‘Get On Up’ and ‘The Guest’
- IMAX ‘Game of Thrones’ coming to Waterfront theater
- Keaton and ‘Birdman’ get 9 Oscar nominations