Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review - "RoboCop" (2014)

Where do I start.

I didn't hate it. But I didn't love it either. 

The original “RoboCop” is one of my favorite movies. So I went into this cautious, as remakes tend to always miss the mark when it comes to capturing the magic of the original. Comparison to the original is inevitable, as much as the film maker's tried to make their own movie, you will always have the original in your mind and comparing the two. But I tried as hard as I could to give it a fair try.

The cast....Joel Kinnaman was fine, but I didn't feel a connection with his Alex Murphy like I did with Weller's Murphy. With Weller, I immediately like Alex Murphy and dread what is coming for him. I didn't feel that here. Considering that you spent more time with the character before his transformation into Robocop, that's not good. Michael Keaton was fine, and Gary Oldman was Gary Oldman. Jackie Earle Haley's character was the most interesting, but they spend almost no time with him, he's just kind of there, they should have developed him a bit more. He's kinda just there to hate Robocop, for no real clear cut reason. 

The beginning kind of dragged a little, they took a bit too long to really get into things, and that dragged the movie down a bit. It picks up, but they should have tightened it up. I agree with the others who have said there is no clear cut villain. Keaton is shady, there's some corrupt cops, and a drug dealer that was pretty much a waste. I didn't like that they try take away his humanity after he becomes Robocop...did they really think his humanity wouldn't present a problem? The whole “illusion of free will” thing I wasn't buying, I knew it wasn't going to work. Oh, showing him without the suit? Hated it. Totally not necessary. What is it with movies lately where they have to show you everything? You can't just say something and not show it anymore. 

It was nice to see the family interaction before he becomes Robo, and should have made his tragic event even sadder, but it didn't. In the original, Murphy dies a brutal , painful, horrible death. That didn't happen here, in fact it seemed to almost be an afterthought. I felt nothing when it happened. Oh he got pretty badly damaged, but it didn't seem important to the film makers to show us just how horrible it was. After he becomes Robo, the family didn't seem to serve any purpose at all. This all comes down to one thing....Murphy should have died before becoming Robo. Takes the family out of the equation, and makes him an actual machine. His death gives everything more gravitas.  I think for me what it all came down to was this movie lacked the one thing that made the original so special...heart. Didn't feel that here at all. Felt kind of empty. I had no emotional connection to anyone in this movie. That's a problem.

Visuals were very good, I liked the new slick look of the ED-209 (although I still like the original better, but this one was cool). The action sequences were shot pretty good, I really liked the shootout that took place in the dark. A bit too much with the shaky cam, but not enough that it drove me crazy. I barely noticed the score, except when they used the original theme redux, which was ok, but didn't have the grandeur of the original theme. It almost felt like things were being set up for another movie, even though the way it ended a sequel isn't clear cut. Even the ending seemed a bit anti-climactic.

They didn't make many references or lift too many lines from the original. The two that stand out most were a of the worked fine for me, and the other did not. The one that did not, felt like it was put in there for nostalgia sake. It didn't work in the scene they used it in, and if you have seen the movie, you know what I mean. If you are gonna use a classic line, DO IT RIGHT. 

All in all, as I said before, I didn't hate this movie, even though it may seem like I did. It was swiftly paced after a slow start, and it did entertain me on a basic level. 

While I do applaud the film makers for trying to do something different with this remake, in the end it doesn't matter how new and shiny everything is, if you don't have heart, if you don't have a bad guy you wanna see killed, and a hero (or any character) you don't connect with, you don't have much at all.