RoboCop – They Try To Rebuild Him, and Fail – Review

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Courtesy MGM/Columbia

Everything 80’s is new again?  Shouldn’t I be exempt from seeing the remakes if I already lived through the horror the first time?  I demand to invoke that clause if they remake Weekend at Bernie’s.

Set in 2028, Joel Kinnaman stars as Alex Murphy – a good cop surrounded by corruption and crime in a Detroit that is lawless and dangerous (also known as Detroit being Detroit).  He thinks some of his fellow cops are working with the local crime lord, and, as he and his partner get closer to the truth, Alex is targeted for murder.

He barely survives the attempt on his life, but OmniCorp thinks they can rebuild him.  The big multinational conglomerate’s charismatic leader, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), believes Alex could be the one who can help him sell a new crime fighting tool to cities across America.  The company’s Dr. Dennet Norton (Gary Oldman) combines Alex’s computer-enhanced brain with a robotic body to make him an almost invincible weapon of mass destruction, but still capable of relying on common sense and human compassion to police the right way.

However, Alex’s memories about his former life start to return, and he wants to get even with those who tried to kill him as he is less and less capable of being human.

Can Dr. Norton come up with a way to control Alex?

Should he?

What kind of damage will this RoboCop do?

RoboCop is a movie with a whole lotta nothing going on interrupted by the more than occasional explosion.

Writers Joshua Zetumer has 4 different plots going on here, but none of them seem to tie in together at all.  Scenes with Alex and his family are supposed to humanize the character and make us like him because he has a wife and a kid, but those are the moments where you confidently can go to the bathroom without missing much because Zetumer is just paying lip service to the whole idea of the dedicated family man and loving father and husband.

Oldman is acting the pants off of everyone else and tries to make Dr. Norton’s inner struggle the most passable story in RoboCop as he shows us the Doc grappling with the desire to see his project succeed versus his moral conscience trying to figure out whether or not he should be building Frankenstein’s Monster, but it’s not at the center of RoboCop, so it can’t pull you in on its own.  It’s a nice side dish in a messed up meal.

And, we have some sort of political battle going on between Sellars and a U.S. Senator opposing his company, but the only fun and/or interesting part of that story is watching Samuel L. Jackson camping it up as a parody of a Bill O’Reilly-type TV talk show host.

Then, let’s not forget all about those corrupt cops!

Sadly, each one of these stories just gets placed into the rotation by director Jose Padilha as each scene runs out of steam.

The special effects are pretty good, and you do get to see some stuff go boom (except for an extended sequence in the dark that probably looked awesome on the storyboard, but not in the execution), but RoboCop is a bland, pointless movie.

1_5waffles_sml1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

RoboCop is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material.

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