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RoboCop (2014) good movie
USA, 110 min, Rated PG (ON) G (QC)
Reviewed 02/14, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca
www.ofrb.gov.on.ca | www.rcq.gouv.qc.ca

José Padilha - Director
Joshua Zetumer - Screenplay
Lula Carvalho - Cinematography


"When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured, OmniCorp sees their chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine." - robocop.com


Wry humour jabs at corporate greed and right-wing grandstanding in this toned down and character-driven, updated re-imagining of director Paul Verhoeven's R-rated 1987 sci-fi cult classic, RoboCop. Set in the year 2028, Joel Kinnaman stars as morality-minded Detroit Police detective Alex James Murphy, left blown apart and barely alive after an assassination attempt ordered by Antoine Vallon (played by Patrick Garrow), a local crime boss Murphy and hospitalized partner Det. Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams) were doggedly investigating. Convinced it will save Murphy's life, his wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) entrusts what's left of him to the cybernetic research subsidiary of Detroit-based OmniCorp, an unethically opportunistic manufacturer of militarized robots supplied offshore that exploits Murphy's potential to sway public and political opinion in its lucrative scheme to legally introduce robotic peace officers on American soil by putting an armed man in a machine. RoboCop co-stars Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson, as RoboCop creator Dr. Dennett Norton, oily OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars, and fiery TV personality Pat Novak, respectively.

Reportedly inspired by the movie The Terminator (1984), the original RoboCop (1987) film starring Peter Weller in the title role was an ultra-violent revenge actioner notably spiked with hilariously subversive commercials throughout. In it, corrupt corporate giant Omni Consumer Products takes over crime-riddled Detroit City's beleaguered police force, subsequently culling and reconstructing murdered police officer Alex Murphy as that movie's titular cyborg peace officer. RoboCop was nominated for Best Sound and for Best Film Editing Academy Awards by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and won the last Special Achievement Oscar for Sound Effects Editing from the Academy, after Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), and The River (1984). It spawned comic books, computer games and a couple of TV series, as well as two big screen sequels, RoboCop 2 (1990) starring Weller, and RoboCop 3 (1993), starring Robert John Burke. More recently, a 2011 kickstarter campaign funded the creation of a 10-foot-tall bronze statue of RoboCop, slated for downtown Detroit in Fall 2014.

Admittedly, I was slightly dreading screening this 2014 reboot. Check out my pressbook review of the new RoboCop movie's poster, trailer and website at Hubpages to see why. Fortunately, debuting screenwriter Joshua Zetumer deftly re-imagines RoboCop for a contemporary sci-fi audience by focusing more evenly on the man struggling with his high tech second lease on life. He's not an anti-social, guns n' guts fanatic gamer disgruntled with reality who's overjoyed by his mecha transformation. Murphy's reactions play out as believable, for a man trapped by such drastic circumstance. When he's revived and shown the lumbering replication of a man he's become at the hands of Omni Foundation chief scientist Dr. Norton, Murphy is confused. Mortified. Angry. When Murphy's artificial body is pulled away to reveal the pittance of his fleshy remnants - little more than a dangling clear sack of internal organs - Murphy, tortured and ashamed, mourns for his wife and young son. He begs for death. The core story of RoboCop is about Murphy's slow reclamation of his humanity, despite CEO Sellars' relentlessly callous agenda for this fine new OmniCorp prototype. Sellars is further pleased later on, when a recalibrated RoboCop's combat test results assure him his carefully marketed "product" is just a robot that thinks it's a man. Brilliant, complex writing. (Read more)

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