Writer: Casey Chong
Overall: 3.0 Out of 5
Cast: 3.0 Out of 5
Plot: 2.5 Out of 5
Effects: 3.5 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.0 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: The “Robocop” trilogy.
When acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky (best known for the award-winning "The Wrestler" and "Black Swan") was first announced he would be directing the "Robocop" reboot in 2010, many have figured the once-popular franchise was in safe hands. However, when Aronofsky ended up leaving the project and Brazilian director Jose Padilha ("Elite Squad") was brought in as his replacement, the "Robocop" reboot was gradually greeted with skepticism. After all, we are talking about "Robocop", the Paul Verhoeven-directed 1987 original classic which was widely applauded as one of the most beloved sci-fi action movies ever made in Hollywood.
When police detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is seriously injured by a car explosion in the line of duty, CEO of OmniCorp Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) sees him as a golden opportunity to convince the American citizens that the creation of "Robocop" will become the future of law enforcement for cleaning up the crime in Detroit.
Jose Padilha is clearly wanted his "Robocop" reboot to be more glum and serious-minded rather than rehashing the Paul Verhoeven's ultra-violent version that comes with a heavy dose of social satire. As his first big-budget Hollywood production, Padilha does a fairly good job handling the kind of movie that requires a lot of special effects.
Unfortunately, Joshua Zetumer's screenplay feels mostly bloated. The biggest problem here is that the "Robocop" reboot drags too much with Murphy's personal family matter, while the supposedly vital plot about Murphy seeking vengeance against the criminals who nearly caused him dead, is sadly underwritten. Even the movie's so-called "robo-phobic" issue addressed by Samuel L. Jackson's Pat Novak of the media host doesn't really say much that is worth debating for.
Still, "Robocop" has its few moments. The special effects are spectacular, while the costume design for the all-new black tactical version of Robocop is rather acceptable. For the action department, Padilha shoots his picture with the same raw intensity and quasi-documentary approach that he used to deliver in his first two "Elite Squad" movies. The only gripe here is the lack of robot action between Robocop and other tactical robots.
As for the cast, Joel Kinnaman brings both engaging charm and emotional intensity to his Alex Murphy and Robocop character. However, it was the two particular supporting actors that shine the most. Michael Keaton delivers a first-rate slimy performance as Raymond Sellars, while Gary Oldman is equally impressive as the sympathetic Dr. Dennett Norton. As Pat Novak, Samuel L. Jackson does what he can to make his minor character worthwhile.
While this new "Robocop" is hardly a masterpiece or a great reboot by any means, it remains a fairly satisfying reboot as long as you leave the mindset of the 1987 original version aside and treat this as an entirely new movie altogether.
Cinema Online, 30 January 2014