You may be wondering why the new remake of “RoboCop” is opening on a Wednesday instead of the traditional Friday.
I suspect the reason is that Friday is Valentine’s Day, and theater owners did not want to have to deal with squabbling couples — the women wanting to see “RoboCop,” the men wanting to see “Endless Love” — in their lobbies.
You may also be wondering why on earth anyone would remake “RoboCop.” Wasn’t the 1987 original already a perfect film? Yes. Yes it was. But then everything gets remade these days so you just have to roll with it.
Directed by José Padilha, the 21st Century “RoboCop” opens with Samuel L. Jackson playing a Sean Hannity/Glen Beck-type named Pat Novak. Novak uses his television show to shamelessly promote the work of OmniCorp, the leader in robot soldier technology. While OmniCorp has been successful in keeping the peace overseas, CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) wants to break into the domestic market.
Alas, the American people don’t want inhuman drones replacing the police, so Sellars needs a marketing gimmick to change public opinion. Enter Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a critically injured honest cop. OmniCorp convinces Murphy’s wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) to turn Murphy over to company scientist Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman).
Norton fuses man and machine to create RoboCop — the future of law enforcement. Will RoboCop be enough to sway the public and what if Murphy has his own agenda?
I can’t help but think there’s a serious flaw to Sellers plan. Even if the public prefers cyborg cops over robots, where are you going to find enough physically damaged policemen to turn into RoboCops? Are policemen going to volunteer to have their body parts removed so they can be rebuilt into cyborg law enforcers?
Based on its own merits, “RoboCop” is a decent sci-fi/action film. The special effects are sharp, the cast is engaging and the story moves along at a fast pace. It’s significantly better than RoboCops 2 and 3.
But compared to the original it’s a flashy, shallow, hollow show. It’s seriously lacking the wit, satire and surprising twists of the Paul Verhoeven-directed version. I could go on and on about the differences, and I think I will in another post next week.