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'RoboCop' review: A milder reboot

Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, and Joel Kinnaman promoting "RoboCop."
Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, and Joel Kinnaman promoting "RoboCop."
Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images

RoboCop (2014)

Rating:
Star2
Star
Star
Star
Star

Over 25 years since the original film’s release, “RoboCop” has come back to life. Reboots are hit and miss, usually completely unnecessary, but Paul Verhoeven’s original film is a very dated action movie that appears cheesy to new audiences. This attempt to freshen the cult classic is understandable, especially after recently successful “Dredd,” but new “RoboCop” doesn’t have the contrast of good versus slimy evil that worked for the original.

Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is a cop that can’t be bought, so local crime lord Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow) wants him out of the way. As a bomb goes off in front of Murphy’s family’s home, Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) works to create a kind of super soldier for businessman Raymond Sellars’ (Michael Keaton) robotic army. Norton manages to keep Murphy’s destroyed body alive by fitting him a robotic suit that also gives him advanced skills. Now a super cop, Murphy’s emotions need to be kept in check by Norton and his team to keep him unfeeling and robotic to maintain Sellars’ control over him. Even in his trancelike state, Alex recognizes right and wrong and attempts to solve his murder and keep his wife and son (Abbie Cornish and John Paul Ruttan) safe.

The first sign that this remake strays from the original action-packed film is its rating; 1987’s “RoboCop” earned an R for its excessive though sometimes cheesy violence, but this modern remake only received a PG-13. This is mostly achieved by having considerably less evil villains. The character of Antoine Vallon is a rather small blip in the story. Mostly, the morals of Michael Keaton’s and Gary Oldman’s characters are at question; many of the characters have shady ethics with somewhat understandable motivations but aren’t evil.

Maybe one of the only understandable remakes, especially because of its timely though heavily shoehorned in political statement led by Samuel L. Jackson, “RoboCop” is no better but no worse than the original. Kinnaman is an awful actor, extremely believable as a robotic manipulation, and doesn’t make the connection to his wife and child feel genuine, but Peter Weller was not very good, either. It’s not worth rushing to see, but you could do much worse.

Rating for “RoboCop:” C

For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.

“RoboCop” is still playing at a few theatres in Columbus, including AMC Lennox, Grove City, and Easton. For showtimes, click here.