BULLSEYE OR MISFIRE: RoboCop Reviews
By Dr. Know on February 12th, 2014
Every generation, apparently, gets the “RoboCop” it deserves, or perhaps desires.
The revamped RoboCop has a lot in common with the Ford Edsel, history’s most notorious automotive misfire.
RoboCop is no canned remake of the 1987 action film. It’s a reimagining that responds to everything that has changed in American life over the past 27 years, addressing new threats and exploiting new anxieties.
The film doesn’t embarrass itself or dishonor its predecessor, which is something.
The new RoboCop has just about no interest in being the old RoboCop, and for that we can be thankful.
As a fan of the original, this reviewer really didn’t want to like this one… but he did.
Ultimately the film is, like the Faux News programming it caricatures at face value, a deck-stacking simulation of a dialogue it isn’t even remotely interested in opening.
“RoboCop” fails to provide the tactile, boots-on-the-ground sensibility that can elevate speculative fantasy into gritty reality.
It’s unfortunate, then, that this RoboCop reboot shrugs off the pointed satire too soon, devolving into just another big action vehicle – even if it’s a well-made, entertaining one at times.
While this new “RoboCop” isn’t terrible, what’s most disappointing is that it lacks the juice Verhoeven’s films always had in crazy abundance.
To its credit, Robocop tries very hard to be as good as the original but it lacks the satirical finesse and isn’t as smart as it wants to be.
This “Robocop” doesn’t seem to know how to deal with the fact that what was dystopian satire in 1987 feels, in some ways, closer at hand today than ever before.
Joel Kinnaman’s performance is a major letdown, a one-dimensional effort in which his robotic side triumphs over the human one. It’s an apt metaphor for the movie as a whole.
The fact that it’s not a complete failure will feel like a win to some fans… [but] its inability to capitalize on the promise that it shows early on is perhaps the biggest disappointment.
There is a logic to resurrecting this franchise in the video game era and while this reboot isn’t as much inventive fun as its original, this not -bad take does serve its purpose.
Updating the premise and themes of the original, this sleek new model, although lacking Verhoeven’s audacious black humour, has brains beneath its metal skull.