The risk of re-making a movie like Robocop is that if you don’t do it right, you’ll end up offending fans of the original 1987 version. Everyone will be comparing the two, but this review will focus solely on the new product and critic it on its own merit.
Robocop 2014 is a surprisingly good. It has an outrageous storyline, but it is good science fiction. It raises up a bunch of questions and shares ideas about the future, but doesn’t take itself too seriously. For instance, I don’t believe that the term “robocop” is ever uttered in this movie. The robocop is always referred to as Officer Murphy. The movie is part Frankenstein and the Six Million Dollar Man, but nobody is going to walk away from this film in fear of the future. It’s not that kind of movie. It’s fun and even shows a little heart.
In the year 2028 (right around the corner folks!), OmniCorp, a robot technology company, is feverously promoting its security product that is being used in just about every country except for the USA. Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson) heavily promotes the company in his TV show that is seen throughout the movie. This portion may be the best part of the film in that Novak is serious as a heartbeat, but he is such a stereotype, that he reminds you what type of movie you are watching. OmniCorp struggles with creating a security robot that the public will be okay with. They want something with a conscience. When police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) gets critically injured, OmniCorp sees their chance.
OmniCorp’s CEO, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), asks scientist Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) for his help in creating the ultimate human and machine crime fighter that America will accept. Norton is a pioneer in developing robotics for rehabilitation of patients and this opportunity would help pour in new money into his study. He reluctantly agrees and gets permission from Murphy’s wife (Abbie Cornish) to proceed. One day Murphy wakes up to realize that he is now more machine than man and unbeknownst to him, he has a lot less control over his faculties than he thinks. The scientists call this “perceived free will.”
Officer Murphy is a wonder to behold, but despite his “super powers” the story focuses more on the human struggle inside of the machine to do what is best for his country and his family rather than thrilling action scenes. Don’t worry, they are in this thing too, but they play a less important role here.
The cast of Robocop is solid. It’s great to see Michael Keaton in a starring role again. Funny that after all these years, he still carries physical traits or tics if you will, that he had way back when he filmed Mr. Mom. Even as a “bad guy” he is still pretty likeable. Oldman’s face shows the battle inside of Dr. Norton’s head as he struggles with “playing God.” It is a reminder to us that with all of today’s technology, we should always question how far we should go. Just because we can, doesn’t mean that we should. The special effects are truly remarkable, though we have all been conditioned to not accept anything less.
Robocop entertains while it will make you re-think how you view the media, law enforcement, medical companies and even the White House.