New Robocop movie to explore the themes the first Robocop took care of

Hey, did you know the new Robocop reboot will explore the nature of free will, and the fine line between human and machine? You probably did, since that's exactly what the first Robocop movie did. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch this featurette, with oodles of new footage.

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Part one is above, and part two is below. Some of the science stuff is pretty neat, too, especially in regards to how much closer we are to achieving actual Robocop technology. But man, hearing Gary Oldman's regular voice always kind of freaks me out.

[Via Blastr]

DISCUSSION

rudi_freude
rudi_freude

I just watched this film.

Give it a chance.

I was ready to be disappointed by a shallow cash-grab, but was pleasantly surprised to find more meat and depth than I expected.

While the running time can be punitive at 2 hours and 15 minutes, Robocop hits the ground running. It retains the theme of what makes a man vs. what makes a machine, but updates it for modern geopolitics (and US policy) by raising certain topical issues: the increasing use of drones versus humans; the ethics of such a use; the surveillance state's danger of veering into totalitarianism; and the collusion of big business and government.

Acting is solid all around; even the newbie actor essaying the title role acquits himself well. I had feared he would be the hunk du jour; a good-looking but wooden and uninteresting Caucasian lead in the mold of Charlie Hunnam, robotic leading man of Pacific Rim. But Joel Kinnaman did a credible job as an idealistic cop and family man turned cyborg, who must find his path amid a web of deceit and manipulation.

Michael Keaton is in good form, as well; a strong comeback performance as the manipulative antagonist, industrialist Raymond Sellars. To his credit, Keaton doesn't play Sellars as a standard diabolical baddie. He gives the character believable nuances: the ruthless determination, the singular vision, the controlled sociopathology that underpins the successes of many captains of industry.

But it was Gary Oldman, unsurprisingly, who dominated this movie. Such is Oldman's talent that I didn't recognize him at first. But the realization slowly dawned, as gleefully as unwrapping a birthday present. His morally-ambiguous Dr. Dennett Norton was mesmerizing to watch, and Oldman's presence (like the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) elevates any movie he is in by several levels.

Robocop also gives ample nods to the original, without devolving into fanservice.

The action sequences and effects were well executed; nothing cheap or cheesy in that aspect, although there were no action set pieces that would make cinema history (like Keanu Reeves dodging bullets on the rooftop in The Matrix, Schwarzenegger's motorcycle vs. ten-wheeler chase in Terminator 2, or the more recent tanker-as-baseball bat-to-the-face-of-a-rampaging-kaiju in Pacific Rim.)

Still, these are minor quibbles, in a surprisingly adequate film.

As far as I'm concerned, Robocop 2014 is a worthy tribute to the original.

Not better.

Different.

Which is a good thing.

Because it is one thing to slavishly warm over a classic; quite another to take the essential ingredients and season the recipe for the times.