Hollywood is turning backwards more and more often it seems, seeking inspiration and grasping at any spare bucks they can get their fingers on. The amount of remakes in progress is beginning to hurt our heads and every so often our hearts too. Here’s looking at you Total Recall. Some remakes though, like good old DREDD, are actually quite enjoyable and manage to put the original to shame in a lot of ways. But these sorts of films sadly seem to be in the minority.
When they announced that Robocop would be remade it wasn’t really much of a shock. It was an iconic piece of science-fiction but rather than putting the studios off touching the franchise, it really just makes them see dollar signs. Of course fans of the original were quick to voice their disapproval, for which i cannot blame them.
Many things during the making of this film prompted fresh horror from fans, including the re-design of the suit and of course the 12A rating which meant all the fun gratuitous violence of the original was shockingly absent from the remake.
It’s a fine line to tow, do you stick close to what made the original good and lose all creativity or do you veer off and risk upsetting the original’s fans? It’s certainly a tough call.
The story is quite similar to the original in some ways. It’s set in 2028 at a time when the huge multinational OmniCorp is the primary contractor for the US military.
OmniCorp is producing drone after drone and robot after robot to fight America’s wars without the need to put huge numbers of troops on the front line. But OmniCorp is not happy with that, after all they want more money, so they look at putting robots on the streets of America itself to ‘serve and protect’, though the American people are of course more than a little opposed to this idea.
So to combat this fear of a faceless force of robots OmniCorp come up with the idea to fuse a real human cop with an artificial body, which is where young detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) comes into the story.
Murphy is left mortally wounded after a horrific assassination attempt and is the perfect person to get the public rallied behind and lead the companies charge into the police force.
But Murphy doesn’t quite play ball the way OmniCorp want him too. He’s not quite the puppet they expected him to be, not even slightly.
Like the original this remake is all about the struggle between a man and his machine parts. But unlike the original Kinnaman is consciously fighting against what is happening to him. Weller was a detached cyborg, Kinnaman is far more human.
This remake is easily a more moral exploring and emotional outing, so the absent of violence makes a little more sense. Though that’s not to say there’s no action, it’s still packed to the rafters with plenty of shooting, just not the sort of up close over the top violence that made the original such a cult classic.
Much of the film works quite well as a modern re-imagining of a technologically outdated classic, some of it feels flat and wholly out of place, most often some of the lighter more humorous moments. Overall though this is a smart sci-fi flick that is certainly very enjoyable. Though whether a remake was necessary still remains up for debate.
From our point of view no, it wasn’t really.