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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.
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