Matt Adcock’s film review: New Robocop has been diluted, but it’s not as bland as other sci-fi reboots

Robocop
Robocop

“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!”

Let’s take a look into the not so far away future – it’s 2028, when the world’s worst crime hotspots can be safely sorted thanks to US-made military grade drones which deliver lethal force for any who transgress.

Not in the USA itself, though – citizens have backed a law forbidding robots being able to take life, which is vexing multinational OmniCorp boss Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) as it’s a market where his firm could make billions.

Director José Padilha’s ‘Robocopy’ reboot of Paul Verhoeven’s classic 1980’s ultraviolent robot-em-up is a valiant effort but the tale has very much been toned down from the grisly over the top action/dark satirical humour of the original – Robocop 2014 is slick, slow origins tale.

The hero cop who gets fused into the titular bionic robo-body bobby is Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – and he just might be the future of law enforcement, as well as a way for OmniCorp to win over the US public.

Robocop is the brainchild / creation of Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) who comes across like a future Frankenstein, enraptured by his ability to bring man and machine together.

But where does Murphy’s humanity reside and how far will OmniCorp redact his emotional responses in order to make him a ‘better law enforcer’?

Kinnaman is tasked with carrying the film’s emotional core – especially in his strained relationship with his lovely wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) and doe eyed young son David (John Paul Ruttan).

Padilha’s film feels most at home when the action kicks off – and that shouldn’t be a surprise to viewers as his previous flicks have been the crunchingly violent, tough cop Elite Squad movies.

Everything in the 2014 Robocop looks machine tooled to be cutting edge – the new armour comes in foreboding black and the image is reinforced by Murphy’s macho new motorbike.

Overall this reboot does a decent job of taking an iconic film hero and successfully toning it down for a wider audience. It loses its cult classic status in the process but I’d rather watch this again than some other remakes, such as the similarly neutered Total Recall.

Sci-fi fans can look forward to more ‘new’ Robocop if this makes enough money, and I’d certainly buy that for a dollar!