We live in a cinematic world where the remake and the reboot are common place and the results even on a good day mixed at best. As it pulled in a tidy $240 million plus at the global box office and is now bowing on DVD & Blu-Ray this new "RoboCop" does enough to distinguish itself from the 1987 original but not necessarily in all the right places.
Multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years; and its meant billions for OmniCorp's bottom line. It's now time to bring this technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman)a loving husband, father and good cop in Detroit is critically injured in the line of duty, and the chance to meld man and machine has arrived. This corporation envisions a RoboCop in every city across the country, but when the law and the best interests of the corporation don't line up, there is still a man inside the machine pursuing his singular brand of justice.
While it starts off decent enough as a blend of action, violence and wry social satire, "RoboCop" can't overcome some pacing problems that caused it to end on a fairly underwhelming note. Director José Padilha in his English language debut knows how to handle some quality action coming off of the action packed "Elite Squad" series as the action sequences are well staged and all look great. The overall narrative starts well enough as the social and ethical themes of the original are brought to light with some current political hyperbole mixed in, but it tries to rush the evil corporation dynamic into the plot a little too hard at the end. We know the company is shifty, we just don't particularly care.
Joel Kinnaman slides into the role reasonably well but the material just doesn't allow for him to add any flavor to the proceedings. Gary Oldman brought as much drama as he could to it all as Dr Dennett Norton as he grappled with what he had done to Kinnaman's Murphy, but so much of the ensemble was wasted as they're were simply too many shades of grey and very little character development as the villains were never all that menacing and the good guys weren't quite 100% sincere.
Picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray are top notch and the special features include deleted scenes, product announcements from OmniCorp and a behind the scenes look at RoboCop engineered for the 21st century.
Far from a waste of time, but "RoboCop" falls flat as the slick production design can't cover up for some the weak elements in the script that doesn't balance out what could have been a compelling and complex story. It went for a higher minded political morality and only got about half way to where it was hoping to go.
3 out of 5 stars.
"RoboCop" is now available for rent or purchase on DVD, Blu-Ray and On Demand from all major retailers or providers.