There are dozens of 80’s movies that should remain untouched. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, how many others have been churned through the Hollywood idea mill, they need to be left as is. “Robocop” is not one of those movies.
After several sequels and a barely passable television show, the original “Robocop” had been washed over so many times, that the original story and the character had been diluted into an almost unrecognizable state. A remake wasn’t the worst direction you could take this franchise. Too bad the sleek, special-effects heavy, restoration of the classic cult flick barley does enough to stand up against its inspiration.
“Robocop (‘14)” stays within most of the same boundaries set by the original. After digging too deep into a kingpin’s business, the gangsters attempt to end detective Alex Murphy’s (Joel Kinnaman) life by blowing him to bits in his family’s driveway. Murphy’s only hope of survival is to be rebuilt as a crime-fighting machine by “OmniCorp,” a huge corporation looking to turn’s Detroit’s out-of-control crime problems into profits. After he miraculously finds himself in a new robotic shell of a body with amazing skills and tools, Murphy goes on the hunt for the people that tried to take him away from his family.
The action film does its 80’s predecessor proud by ramping it up to a nostalgic level you’ll only find in films from that era. Loud explosions and endless rivers of bullets are showered down throughout the film.
In a popcorn-movie like this, the narrative isn’t going to be the strongest facet. Robocop’s story isn’t complex, the expectations weren’t sky-high, but the cast consisting of Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Jackie Earle Haley and Gary Oldman, gave quite the showing bringing some ample progression and emotion to vault off and keep things interesting. Nothing much was going to come from “Robocop” in this category, but when the time came to shoot up a warehouse or take down some two-story tall renegade robots, he was on his game and that’s really what counted in this remake.
Just like its forefather, “Robocop” is a mostly hollow action-bloated trip into the future. The updated version won’t lead the charge for a sequel, but its revival didn’t necessarily damn it back to the drawing board either.