As soon as I saw the trailer for RoboCop, I had a nerd moment and got excited because involves a huge amount of biomedical engineering, which happens to be my major. The technology behind RoboCop got me to the theater, but the plot, cast, and filmmaking kept me there.
Alex Murphy, an officer for the Detroit police department, gets involved with a crime boss, who then arranges to have Murphy killed. The attempt at his life fails, but he is left in critical condition. The only way to save Murphy’s life is to use his body in the experimental procedure that would put what’s left of him inside a robot.
This procedure is done by OmniCorp, a corporation that sells droids used as law enforcement internationally. OmniCorp has an ulterior motive other than saving Murphy’s life. The United States is the only country that is not utilizing OmniCorp’s technology, and the marketing department believes that the only way to sway the public opinion is to have a robot with human qualities. The plot follows Murphy as he goes through the transition from human to quasi-machine, and the subsequent ethical issues that follow.
Hands down, my favorite parts about RoboCop were the graphics and emphasis on the role of technology. The film was aesthetically pleasing, and there was a wide variety of visuals. The film is set in 2028, and in retrospect, most of the technological advances seemed like they could actually be feasible. I really appreciated the thought that was put into making the film seem as realistic as possible when concerning ideas of future technology.
Another aspect of RoboCop that I enjoyed was the importance of the supporting cast. In particular, I loved Samuel L. Jackson’s role as Pat Novak. Novak serves as a program host who is determined to sway public opinion to allow droids to serve as law enforcement in the United States. I found his part so entertaining because it pokes fun at the role the media plays in our daily lives. Also, Samuel L. Jackson is just hilarious and over the top. It’s hard not to love him.
However, there were few issues that I had with RoboCop. I had trouble connecting with the protagonist. I’m not sure if it was because he was emotionless throughout the majority of the movie—since he’s a robot and all—or if it was because there wasn’t that much emphasis on his character. Murphy didn’t have many lines throughout the film prior to becoming RoboCop, and I think that because of that, I found it hard to understand him as a character.
There wasn’t really much content to the plot. There was a lot of RoboCop running around and killing people and other robots. However, the main focus of the film was the ethical issues surrounding Murphy as RoboCop and his interactions with OmniCorp, and things were getting very heated. I was so invested in the plot and what was happening toward the end of the film, and then it just ended. I wasn’t ready for it to end! It wasn’t even as if they ended it on a cliff hanger; it just ended. I thought that more explanation was needed in order for the plot to come full circle.
Remakes of movies make me anxious; I never know if it will ruin the original, or even possibly be better. Most of the time, I have a really strong opinion about the remake. However, I have only seen the original RoboCop a couple of times, so I don’t think that I’m in too much of a position to comment on the differences and similarities between the two. If you’re a fan of the original RoboCop, you’ll just have to see for yourself. Standing alone, I enjoyed RoboCop, and would definitely recommend it. Hopefully RoboCop doesn’t turn into a terrible series of films and ruin the legacy of the original film and the quality of the remake.
When the original RoboCop was released in 1987, it was a work of pure sciencefiction. I found the 2014 remake of the film to be a work relevant to current events while retaining the science fiction element. Now, the technology that seemed near impossible just 25 years ago, is today’s emerging ideas. This film also addresses head-on one of the most polarizing debates of the 21st century: What should, if at all, be the role of drones and related technologies in the everyday lives of Americans? While the final product is far from perfect, and may not even go down as a classic, I found it to be both an entertaining work of film that at the same time provokes important thought.
The film’s strongest points prove to be in its overarching themes and visual effects. The effects, while primarily computer generated, do not appear overly disconnected from the live action scenes like many previously works that heavily relied on such effects. The effects appear fairly seamless and provide a positive impact on the film. This is a plus for it, as this issue has brought down many major releases as of late; especially true, in other modern reboots of late 20th century films like Total Recall (2012), and Terminator Salvation.
The themes covered will definitely force the viewer to consider how they feel about the idea of “machines” being involved in their lives. I thought the film did a great job of showing both sides of the argument. While many characters had strong, specific opinions on the issue, overall the film didn’t attempt to further one side. It is left up to the viewer to decide whether the events that Alex Murphy goes through and the decisions made by all the supporting characters were for the best. Another interesting theme the film presents is how emotions affect a person. Murphy does not prove effective as a combat robot while he can still perceive his own emotions, as soon as the scientists controlling him remove his ability to feel he is able to work in his intended manner. However, this also removes his human element completely for the time. The film presents that humans are different from robots because they can never be made completely emotionless. Murphy is presented with an emotionally trying situation and begins to return to his “normal” state. However cheesy this sounds in writing, the issue is explained and played out in a way that I found fairly believable and interesting.
With all these positive points you might think I found the film to be amazing, however, this was not the case. The execution of the plot, specifically its pacing, is quite problematic. To me, the film over-focussed on the onset of its major plot issues in proportion to other areas, and then rushed to resolve them to finish within a two hour running time. It lacks a true climax without much of a confrontation between the villain and Murphy. The ending left me wanting more, and I truly thought: “Are they really gonna end it like this?” multiple times. This is never good for a film. It was very strong all the way through, but the way it finished left a different feeling about the entire film.
Overall, the experience of seeing RoboCop was a very enjoyable one. I would strongly recommend going to see it, as it would definitely be worth the price of admission. However, don’t pay that admission with the expectation of a masterpiece even better than the classic original. Instead be prepared for a film which considers relevant current events and will prove interesting no matter which side you might take on drone integration.