By: Chris Carter
Those that were hoping for a rebooted version that rivaled the original Robocop from 1987 were left somewhat disappointed.
The new Robocop film shows flashes of the hit ‘80s movie, but isn’t nearly as violent and edgy as its precursor. The cast of characters is similar, and the plot is somewhat the same. The original was a hardcore rated-R flick that was spearheaded by blood and violence, while the update is a much less violent PG-13 version.
Robocop takes place in the year 2028 where a company OmniCorp has created robot technology that has the capability of fighting crime efficiently. The robot drones start out being used in the military, saving the lives of human troops by not putting them at risk or in harm’s way. But the company’s vision for the company expands beyond warzones. They want to see their drones protecting the nation’s streets, acting as police units that take down wanted criminals.
The public is apprehensive about having these drones protecting their city. They want to see a drone that has the feelings of a human and a moral code of right and wrong. Their golden opportunity strikes when police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) suffers life threatening injuries and OmniCorp “saves his life” by making him part-man, part-robot.
The company can now appease the public with a robotic machine that thinks like a human. However, when they test the new RoboCop up against the military robots, the brainless drones prove to be much faster at making decisions. That’s because there will always be a human element, a thought process that a person goes through before he makes a decision. OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) wants the scientist, Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), to “fix him” — implying that he wants to RoboCop to be as fast at making decisions as the drones.
Dr. Norton is then faced with a moral dilemma. Does he alter Murphy’s brain so that he doesn’t feel emotions? Or does he leave him as he is? He chooses the former. He pokes and prods, tweaking Murphy’s brain until he no longer feels emotions. This will in essence make him a much faster decision maker, making him a more efficient “machine.”
The plot spends a lot of time focusing on Murphy and his family coming to terms with him now being part-robot. He doesn’t want his son to see him as a robot, and Murphy has a hard time coming to grips with being RoboCop. His wife and the people of OmniCorp butt heads because she wants to see her husband while OmniCorp wants to keep him at the lab for extensive testing. I would have liked to see the movie more focused on crime.
What made the movie disappointing was the fact that there was no real villain. You think it’s going to be the drug lord who blows up Murphy’s car, causing him to sustain the injuries that ultimately lead him to being RoboCop. But RoboCop kills that guy easily, without any back-and-forth rivalry or struggle.
While RoboCop shows flashes of action and excitement, it falls short of the real crime thriller that many people expected.