Saturday, July 26, 2014

Robocop (2014)

There are a lot of things to think about when you write a movie review. But there are some things that make writing one review harder than another, such as politics, for example. Reviewing a remake is always harder than reviewing something original. Such is the case in reviewing Robocop (2014).

I've always been a Sci-Fi fan. Sci-Fi movies have historically been my favorite. But for some reason, in recent years, that genre has been bumped by comedies, mainly, and light-hearted dramas, and fantasy. So I've kind of put off watching Robocop for some time; my interest hovering on such films as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (love that one!) and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

But tonight I felt like a good Sci-Fi story and so I watched Robocop, with Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Jackie Lee Earl, et. al. I loved the original (1987). In fact when I was in high school, I watched it all the time. It was one of the only rated R movies I was allowed to watch. And I'd still give it a good rating, with seven stars. The 2014 version was equally good. Lots of action and special effects. I'd say it was heavily dependent on CGI, but you knew that going in.

I've noticed a trend in remakes:  the newer versions tend to focus a lot more on the back story, and have a much greater emotional impact, often showing the fragility of the humanity of the hero or villain. But another trend in remakes (or "reboots" as they are sometimes now called), is the insertion of politics:  whether it's geopolitical issues or gay marriage or whatever. Sometimes it cool. I mean, I LOVED what Battlestar Galactica did, constantly alternating who they make look like the bad guys - humans or Cylons. But I have to say, I'm getting a little sick of it.

Robocop opens with Samuel L. Jackson's character promoting a robotic police state. Pointing out that we use robotics to keep the peace in every country but our own, suggesting a nationwide hypocrisy. The scene moves to Tehran, Iran where people live their lives under the jackboot of an oppressive human/robotic society. And two seconds later a teenage suicide bomber jumps out a window and destroys and ED-209 unit. The kid was going for the robot, and no human was injured or killed.

The rest of the film looked a lot like a video game with holograms and Robocop POVs and lots of LEDs everywhere and lots of shooting. All in all it was a cool film, and I will watch it again. IMDb gives it 6.4 stars. I'll give it a healthy 6. Like many films, I'll probably enjoy it more the second time.

Oh, and the bike was sick, but not nearly as sick as the Batbike.