It was a weekend of love and fun at the movies, RoboCop most would say, under performed this Valentine's Day weekend. Never personally having seen the original Paul Verhoeven's 1987 RoboCop possibly helped me keep an open mind. I went in with no preconceived notions of what to expect or what should or should not be there, I went to just enjoy an action movie, and that is exactly what I got.
Director José Padilha (Elite Squad) and screenwriter Joshua Zetumer transform the original story to the modern world. Like other movies out currently, this is a stab at the military and government behavior towards our country and others. Samuel L. Jackson plays Pat Novak, the loud mouth, right winged TV political host who supports, rather brashly, any government or military involvement in every day life. The issue of government/military involvement in our every day lives today is a hot button issue that is explored throughout the movie.
After doing some reading about the original movie, the basic story appears to be much the same. Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), severely injured in the line of duty must undergo live changing and saving surgery. He becomes the "man inside the machine" in order to get on the streets and combat crime with minimal human risk. Murphy finds that he is not only cleaning up the streets but those in his own back yard, which majority of those around him are crooked in one way or another.
This movie not only packs a punch with the special effects and modern upgrades in technology but also in performances. Actors Michael Keaton, who plays the OmniCorp money hungry head Raymond Sellars and Gary Oldman, plays the biomechanics innovative Dr. Dennett Norton who struggles with his ethics and his job. Oldman is a good counter part to the internal struggle that our lead character Detective Murphy must deal with being both a mechanically controlled machine and a loving father and husband.
RoboCop at its center the struggle of what it means to be human and at what risk do we take abandoning that. Both Keaton's character, Sellars and his biggest supporter Mattox (Jackie Earl Haley), a robot tactician, want to put a robot out in the streets, negating the human element. Dr. Norton seems to understand the risk and appreciates human life, being the only ally that Murphy gets in the big corporation. This movie deals with so many varying human emotions and elements that audiences will not only find themselves drawn in by the action but be forced to think by the story.
A step up from the original? Honestly, I can't compare the two, but for a stand alone movie of 2014, it is one that audiences should enjoy. Sharp action, amazing visual and special effects, gun fights and mindless action, all the while mixed with a moral center. RoboCop is a movie that if given a chance might surprise you, it's worth the risk.