Judge Patrick Naugle has been rebuilt, and he's not any more impressive either.
Our reviews of Robocop: Criterion Collection (published September 16th, 1999), Robocop (Blu-ray) (published November 1st, 2007), The Robocop Trilogy (published August 24th, 2004), and The Robocop Trilogy (Blu-ray) (published October 25th, 2010) are also available.
Crime has a new enemy.
In 2028, a new breed of hero will be born from the bowels of OmniCorp, a corporate conglomerate that works at making mechanical combat soldiers for the US military. When flatfoot detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman, The Killing) is killed in a mysterious explosion outside his family's home, Dr. Norton (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight) gets Alex's wife's (Abbie Cornish, Sucker Punch) consent and uses the technology of OmniCorp—run by the shady Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton, Batman)—to put the remains of Murphy into a cybernetic suit. Murphy is now Robocop, a man with a machine's strength and a machine with the emotions, fears, and instincts of a man. Murphy's new visage is the new face of OminCorp, and with his newfound technological abilities he must set right what was once wrong, as well as discover the buried secrets behind those who tried to murder him.
"Everything old is new again." That statement could be the official creed of current Hollywood. For the past umpteen years, the movies have been inundated by remake after remake after remake…after remake. I can pinpoint exactly where all this started: 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Of course, there were remakes long before 2003, but that specific film seemed to kick off a trend of taking old horror movies—Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Evil Dead—and refashioning them into modern day tools of capitalism. It's not that anyone felt a remake was really warranted (most of those original movies are perfectly serviceable relics of their era), except for studio execs who only see dollar signs where artistic credibility once dwelled. The deluge of horror remakes bled over into other realms, including the science fiction and action genres where we got reboots of Total Recall and Planet of the Apes. Now add to that growing list Paul Verhoeven's 1987 classic Robocop.
*((record scratch sound effect))*
Wait…what? They remade Robocop?! Why???
That's the question most movie fans have been asking themselves. Why would Hollywood take a perfectly wonderful action sci-fi movie from the 1980s and turn it into a slick, soulless quickie cash grab? Hmmm…I just answered my own question. I am sure the filmmakers, including first time feature length director José Padilha (who hails from Brazil), had good intentions while putting together this new film. Everyone probably sat around the room and decided they were going to try to make the best new version of Robocop they could. In the end, their efforts came up short.
Three major reasons why the new Rococop just doesn't work:
* The PG-13 rating
* The Screenplay
* The Action
Is there anything to appreciate in this new version of Robocop? Yes, and it falls on the shoulders of Gary Oldman's Dr. Norton, the man who puts Alex Murphy into the suit. Oldman is one of those rare gifted actors who can switch back and forth between villain and heror. Norton truly cares for Murphy (and little about making combat ready robotics), and his character is the single best thing here.
Presented in 2.40:1/1080p HD widescreen, MGM's Robocop (2014) (Blu-ray) transfer is stellar, without a defect to be found. The colors and sharp and the picture are crystal clear, offering a reference quality image. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track is excellent and filled with a lot of bombastic moments featuring tons of surround sounds and directional effects. While there are a few quiet moments, this mix will give any home theater system a workout.
Bonus features include four minutes of deleted scenes, some Omnicorp product announcements, three short behind-the-scenes featurettes ("The Illusion of Free Will: A New Vision," "To Serve and Protect: Robocop's New Weapons," "The Robocop Suit: Form and Function"), two theatrical trailers, a DVD copy of the film, and digital copies for your portable device.
I readily admit to having a heavy bias going into Robocop (2014). I'm all for remakes, but when you re-imagine movies that are beloved and critically acclaimed, the odds are stacked against you. I appreciate what director Jose Padilha and his team tried to do, but all it ends up doing is reminding the viewer of how much better the original is.
Prime Directive: Pull the plug.
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Scales of Justice
• Deleted Scenes
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