Wednesday, May 7

Double Feature: RoboCop (1987) / RoboCop (2014)

Two short reviews, one movie franchise. While I was aware of the Robocop franchise from way back, I haven't really seen the movie until recently - and same goes for the reboot of the franchise. Doing a double feature on them doesn't mean I'll be pinning them against each other. After seeing both movies, I thought that these should be taken as separate entities. Sure, there are similarities and such, but as my consensus, they were both pretty good movies. The premise is simple: Detective Murphy get murdered, but survived by putting his remaining functioning body parts into a machine that allows him to move, and is transformed to become this super protector of Detroit City. However, his main priorities change when he investigates on his own murder, leading him to unfold plots that were happening in the city.

RoboCop (1987)

RoboCop had a pretty solid plot that it followed, allowing the transcendence of events to easily flow through without having to cause serious questions or huge plot holes that may be detrimental to the movie. It doesn't easily jump from one sequence to the next, which makes the movie easy to follow and understand. 

The comic tone of the movie also sets the mood. From the main characters down to minor ones, humor is exuded in them. This RoboCop, was seriously badass. Despite being a machine (and the movie made it clear that he barely has any recollection of his past life), he was actually quite cocky and cool. I mean, the scene where he casually walks away from that toxic waste? Awesome! Besides the evident fun that the movie is set up to be, I like how he was an iconic public figure instead of just being used as a crime fighting machine. He became that hero that everyone was waiting for; he also became the face of the future. 

While the movie focused on the whole crime fighting aspect, there was this scene that still exemplified a bit of the human droid. Besides the latter parts, I like how the transformation was mainly shot through the eyes of a somewhat conscious Officer Murphy. While he himself wasn't aware of what was happening in his surroundings, putting those scenes in his eyes allowed the audience to somewhat see and experience the life changing path that the man was going through.

I know that there's always have to be some sort of lady love in these kinds of movies, so I was pretty disappointed that it didn't turn out to be his wife, but his police partner. Isn't there some kind of rule about fraternizing in the force? What's more, is that she's usually involved in scenarios when he was about to get killed.

Peter Weller gave the face to RoboCop, though his character didn't have much of a say about it (or anyone related to him for that matter). He was simply given the job, and instead on playing with his memory and emotion, the company had just wiped it out to avoid any questions and inquiries. Weller was good, but his performance was overpowered by Ronnie Cox and Kurtwood Smith, although it seemed that Smith was over exaggerating his character a bit. Cox portrayed his character with charm - he was great in the role. 

I think I kind of understand why people love this franchise. It was really fun, and witty - it was just great overall. I haven't had the chance to see RoboCop 2 and 3 yet, but hopefully it'll be as fun as the first. 



Final Word:  A fun filled ride!


Cast: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Dan O'Herlihy
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Year: 1987


RoboCop (2014)


The reboot stuck to the basic foundations of the original, so in terms of plot it was easy to follow. However, there were slight plot holes that made the character interjections and interventions a bit unexplainable. The movie also does a stoic way of answering possible perceived questions, by simply stating what it is we need to know before we formulate such theories. It has managed to introduce RoboCop in a new suit, and while I like the slick black look of it, it seemed much weaker than the original suit (and expensive to maintain in the long run).

The movie was marketed as an action packed flick, and it does deliver at some point. However, I think that certain scenes could have been revised to make it climactic - particularly that warehouse scene where he meets the person who tried to assassinate him. It could have commenced with more action, considering that this was the guy who tried to kill him. I thought that if this was not the great scene, we would have been given something super climactic, but I was wrong. Also, I like Samuel L. Jackson, but I think his scenes could have been trimmed down, as the reporting aspect of it was a bit out of the way in terms of the story line.

What makes this Robocop slightly different from the former is how Robocop is perceived. This version basically gave us a crime-fighting machine to uphold peace. The intent itself was simple, but when they began modifying Detective Murphy, then it becomes the loss of humanity in order to benefit humanity. It's simply putting a face on a machine, something that was repeatedly stated that the country's politicians were against. Putting a human face on a droid speaks to humanity's emphatic capability, that if this protector can understand us, it can just as well relate with us.

Joel Kinnaman gives Robocop a soft face, not too egoistic, yet doesn't come up looking weak either. He's perfectly cast in the suit, as his physique provides a friendly face to something that is built to kill. However, he doesn't really show much of his acting chops, as while he is the figure of the movie, his performance is basically topped by everyone else in the film. There's Michael Keaton, whose character basically kept on digging himself a grave but was still pretty good. There's Abbie Cornish, who I thought had a difficult time showing facial emotion, but her efforts are recognized. Lastly, there is the great Gary Oldman, who basically stole every scene he's in.

It's a pretty decent reboot. Maybe because I didn't grow up with the Robocop franchise, and has only seen the original film recently, but I think it was good. There was more depth to the character, and it digs through whether Robocop be an acceptable norm or not. Sure, it could use some tweaks, but if you're not looking for in depth action flicks, this is pretty good.


Final Word: Compared to other 'classics' that have been rebooted, this one was decently good. 


Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton
Director: Jose Padilha
Year: 2014

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