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MaddWolf
Movie Reviews, DVD Picks, Shenanigans

No Donuts Required

No Donuts Required

 

by George Wolf

 

Rebooting 1987’s RoboCop seems like such an obvious idea, you may wonder why it took this long. No matter, the new RoboCop is here now, ready to clean up the streets and pump some fun (along with a decent amount of lead) into your Valentine’s date plans.

We’re back in crime-ridden Detroit with honest cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnamen) but beyond that, the backstory is rightly, and effectively, re-imagined for a new audience.

Robot drones built by global conglomerate OmniCorp have become commonplace in American military action overseas. OmniCorp would like to expand but Congress, bowing to public sentiment against these “soulless” enforcers in our own backyards, has blocked any attempt to put the same robots to work in law enforcement here at home.

That’s a problem for OmniCorp honcho Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), and for uber-outraged TV host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson, just as hilariously over-the-top in his Bill O’Reilly sendup as you would expect).

The chance to turn the public tide their way comes when Murphy is blown nearly to bits by the local crime lord. OmniCorp scientist Dr. Dennet Norton (Gary Oldman) and his team spring into action, meticulously bringing Murphy back to ass-kicking life via the super suit!

Director Jose Padiha (a Brazilian film veteran making his English language debut) has no trouble delivering the frenetic action and impressive visuals, so much so that any motion- sensitive viewers might want to skip the IMAX print. Otherwise, strap in and enjoy the ride! It’s one that Padiha paces well, hitting the gas just when events start to bog down in melodrama.

Screenwriter Joshua Zetumer dials back the misanthropy of the original to provide more thoughtful inner conflict, as Murphy/RoboCop fights to overcome the engineering which allows him only the “illusion of free will.” Less subtle, but still worthwhile, are the nods to the ongoing debate about liberty versus security.

What’s missed in this new version is the knowing approach the original brought to the entire cop genre. Murphy’s fight to bring down the crime boss and his cronies is stitched together with nothing but well-worn cliche, and just doesn’t mesh next to the satirical layers that bubble up elsewhere.

No, RoboCop 2014 ain’t perfect, but it’s sleek and exciting enough to make the inevitable sequels feel much more promising.

 

Verdict-3-0-Stars

 

 

Written by maddwolf

2 Comments

  1. Jason King · February 13, 2014

    We pretty much agree on most things with this movie George. I could not stand Kinnamen as Robo though. The entire film was so well made but at the same time just flat, too safely played and would have been better embracing the R rating of the originals and giving us a bloodfest 🙂

    But Jackson stole the film for me and I don’t care how crap a film is, if Keaton is in it I am there – so good to see this year as his big resurgence.

    http://saltypopcorn.com.au/reviews/robocop-review/

    Here is my review on Salty if you want a read.

  2. George Wolf · February 13, 2014

    Yeah, Kinnamen was flat for sure, that’s probably why I didn’t even mention him (should have I guess). Sounds like we also feel the same about How to Train Your Dragon – absolutley loved that one!

    Thanks,

    George

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