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home : features : features May 23, 2016

2/16/2014 6:02:00 AM
Reel Watchers: Robocop
Ryan Abella
Kingman resident

This is the future of American justice. Detroit is crime ridden yet again. Politicians debate while corporations buy votes and pursue lucrative government contracts. And in the center of it all is an incorruptible cop on a mission to hold everyone accountable and put the bad guy away.

Sound familiar? That's because the cop genre has been defined and shaped into this cookie-cutter plot structure, and if you take away the robots the new RoboCop is no exception.

This is a remake of the 1987 classic. In 2028 Officer Alex Murphy, after surviving an attempt on his life, is rebuilt by the robotics company OmniCorp and becomes a part-man, part-robot police officer. He is the face of a push by OmniCorp to provide the American people with "safety and security" by putting their robots on the streets while providing them with huge profits. Throughout it all, Officer Murphy struggles with the little humanity he has left all while investigating the people behind his attempted murder.

This remake brings some big names to support Joel Kinnaman as RoboCop, with actors such as Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman, plus Samuel L. Jackson as a very convincing caricature of Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. Kinnaman plays the transition from human to machine very convincingly, especially in scenes where Officer Murphy is with his wife and son as this domineering robot.

That human struggle gets lost in the political agenda of the script that is not as subtle as it could be and a lack of character development across the board. The bad guys and good guys are established right from the beginning, and there are very few twists and surprises along the way. Its 1987 predecessor was packed with social satire without taking itself too seriously. While the issues of today (money in politics, corrupt corporations, a garrulous 24-hour news cycle) are addressed and poked at in context, RoboCop feels like an action film that's trying too hard to be more than it is.

If you're looking for an action film that's fun to watch and contains some good ol' fashioned cop drama, the new RoboCop is for you. Just don't expect much more out of it. I give it 2 ½ miners out of 4.

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