Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

ROBOCOP (2014)

Joel Kinnaman as RoboCop
ROBOCOP (2014). Director: Jose Padilha.

In the future American robots are used for overseas combat, but so far the country has resisted the idea of having robot police men back in the U.S. Omnicorp, a company run by Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton of Batman),  hopes to change all that, and figures the answer is to use the same technology on a real human being. Their opportunity comes when Detroit officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is nearly destroyed by an explosive device put in his car by a man named Vallon (Patrick Garrow). There's not much left of Murphy -- the movie's most startling scene has his armor dropping off to reveal how much of his original body is actually missing -- but he's put in a high-tech suit and given assorted abilities to fight crime. Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) is able to override Murphy's consciousness, but his memories still fight to the surface and take over. Do either Norton or Sellars care about the ethical concerns of this "project," and why won't Omnicorp let Murphy's wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) visit him? There are many interesting elements to this remake of the original Robocop, and the film boasts some excellent performances from Keaton and especially Kinnaman, with a solid supporting cast (such as Jackie Earle Haley [Shutter Island] as the snarky Mattox and Samuel L Jackson [The Spirit] as a commentator, among others), but the action scenes are cluttered and uninvolving, even a bit dull. The amount of time, energy and money made to turn Murphy into RoboCop doesn't make the project seem very cost-effective, which the movie hilariously ignores.

Verdict: The performances help put this over. **1/2.

No comments: