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Here Is Your Review Of The ‘Robocop’ Reboot By Someone Who Never Saw The Original

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Last night I saw the Robocop reboot. However, I never saw the original movie. Before everyone yells at me about how I could have missed such a classic American film: I was a freshman in college and had many other things to do that involved girls and drugs. Sorry not sorry. Before going, I asked a friend to describe the original. Her explanation: “I just remember that I thought there was something really atavistic and terrifying about the clompy robots, but then again I was 13.” NOT HELPFUL, FRIEND.

Anyway, Robocop. Robocop was not good. Robocop wasn’t bad, exactly, and you should definitely see it if you are the kind of person who sees every movie where shit blows up (waves hand) but it is not a film for the ages. Sadly, it could have been. The cast is actually much better than your standard action movie deserves. Joel Kinnaman, whom you may remember from “The Killing” as the mumbly laconic but still sexy Stephen Holder, stars, and Joel Kinnaman is a good actor! However, Joel Kinnaman is not a good actor to play Robocop here, a character that requires some tension between feeling human emotion and having that emotion suppressed by his evil creators, because Kinnaman plays his emotions in very small ways. He’s not a dramatic scene chewer, which is good, but it means you can’t really tell when he’s having human feels and when he is just all machine.

The supporting cast is also too people you like to see in movies. Sorta evil yet sorta conflicted doctor that makes Robocop what he is today? Gary Oldman! Completely evil bastard that runs ginormous company that just wants Robocop to serve as their entry into robotifying America? Michael Keaton! Keaton’s face has gotten weirdly tight at the eyes, but loose at the mouth, which gives him a permanent look of crumbling rage. However, every character in the movie is cursed with clunky dialogue of the “Let me tell you what I am thinking and now let me tell you what I am going to do” variety. Everyone reads those lines like they are in a high school play. Hell, Gary Oldman’s accent slips towards the end, and Gary Oldman’s accent never slips, people. Omar from “The Wire,” Michael K. Williams, shows up, and he’s relegated to the Robocop partner role and given absolutely nothing to work with. Shame on you, Robocop. The only person who can be excused for their acting in this film is Samuel L. Jackson, playing Pat Novak, host of “The Novak Report,” a jingoist little cross between the razzle dazzle of CNN’s set and the vitriol of Bill O’Reilly. Jackson ragesmirks his way through the whole thing, complete with some really lacquered hair and an omnipresent American flag.

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Jackie Earle Haley is in there too, which means I spent much of Robocop thinking about The Bad News Bears instead.

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Abbie Cornish plays Robocop’s wife. She cries a lot. A LOT.

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Does the plot hew to the original? NO FUCKING IDEA! It’s 2028 and Keaton’s Omnicorp has deployed its big AT-AT style robots and its small old-school Cylon style robots all across the world, for peace and freedom! but mean old America won’t let him, because robots have no soul and will not feel sad when they kill children. So Evil Michael Keaton hits on the idea of a man-machine, because then they will have feels about when they kill children. Success! All he needs is a cop that has been blown to pieces. Enter Kinnaman’s Alex Murphy, who becomes a Robocop that still seems really clunky-looking which is maybe like the original, except I have no clue.

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Then we have lots of things where Robocop rides a cool-ass motorcycle and kills robots that are actually robots, not man-machine robots, and many many things blow up.

This version of Robocop starts out thinking it is about the terrifying link between corporate greed and governmental overreach, but ends up being mostly about Robocop’s wife crying a lot and some CGI effects. I do not think that is what the original was about, probably because of the critical lack of good CGI circa 1987.

Should you see it? I have no idea whatsoever. If you don’t have any feels about the original and like blowy-uppy movies, sure, why not? Or you could just watch Terminator 2 again, because that will get you all your complicated man-machine feels and better acting. If you love the original with the fire of a thousand suns, you should probably go read reviews from one million nerds on the internet who will tell you if this is a loving tongue-bath for the original or murders the original in its bed. Either way, the motorcycle is pretty cool.

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  • unhipcat

    i saw part of the orginal where the robocop just kills a bunch of inventors or investors who knows in a big glass office i think it was robocop anyway thanks i don’t need to see the remake nice writeup

    • Haribo Lector

      Noooo, that’s the bad robot that Robocop has to fight in order to save the day! Only it’s not really a bad robot, because it doesn’t have a sentient brain like Robocop.

  • beautifulmutant

    TOTALLY HELPFUL FRIEND. THOSE ROBOTS ARE TERRIFYING AND HAUNT MY DREAMS. Also, this Robocop was not as depressing as the original Robocop except in the way that it reminded me how depressed the original made me, for reasons I can’t remember anymore.

  • Daniel P

    So is this story, which is actually set in Detroit, actually filmed in Detroit? Or is it like the original you didn’t see which was actually set in Detroit but filmed in Dallas?

    • $73376667

      I’m thinking Windsor, ON.

  • $73376667

    had many other things to do that involved girls and drugs

    Too soon!

  • Haribo Lector

    I guess I could forgive the new Robocop movie for being dumb compared to the original if it didn’t also look shittier than the original. The titular character in all the posters looks like he’s trying to cosplay himself.

  • Dragoon21b

    Go watch the original…I really don’t know what Hollywood marketing cretin is responsible for the idea that every movie from the 1980’s needs to be remade (and it s a remake not a “Reboot”) they didn’t…none of these were “Epic works of Cinema” 30 years ago and they aren’t now but at least then they were new…and they were fun (if you can find it watch the Robocop version with the shot counter in the corner)End Rant

  • Jaime Oria

    Eh, it was okay. What it lacked was the original’s vivid villainy, courtesy of Clarence Boddicker – played by Kurtwood Smith, mean papa ‘Red’ from THAT ’70s SHOW. Also, too – why are US Army robots patrolling the streets of Tehran and addressing the locals in English? I don’t think it was meant as a joke at the expense of the parochial Yanks…

  • Annie Towne

    Joel K. is a very subtle actor. It seems obvious he’d disappear inside all that metal. I would have liked to see him do a really good role after The Killing. Sad.

    • maco415

      He’s also way too pretty to be hidden in that robot suit.

      • Annie Towne

        Indeed!

  • BMW

    You were in college in 1987? Damn, you old!

    • Annie Towne

      Hey, some of us were more than done with college in 1987! Some of us iz helluv old!