He is one of the biggest movie icons of all time, he is a symbol of justice, he has endured trough the ages and remains one of the great action movie characters of all time staring in countless different products, and apparently he is back.
I don’t need to tell you that I’m not a big fan of remakes, they hardly work and movies that actually need remakes are never remade because god forbid remakes are made for anything more than a quick buck.
Remakes, to be done well, need to respect their source material and still improve upon it. If you can’t improve upon it, then don’t remake it. I will tell you about Evil Dead, I found Evil Dead to be a great remake why? Because it understood why the first movie was so good and it made it better. Even the plot line was improved and that’s what I’m talking about, everything was improved from the original B film.
Then you reach a problem with Robocop, because the original film is already awesome, and I really mean that! After re-watching it, I was surprised how much of it held up. The old stop motion animation, the visuals and gore, the bad ass intro to Robocop himself, there isn’t much to say about this great film that hasn’t been said before but let’s take a look before the remake hits theaters.
Directed by the man who did Starship Troopers and the original Total Recall, this movie starts with a TV montage of different shows relating the wars and giving exposition. This is a trend that continues later on in the movie and it fits with the social commentary nature of the film.(which they better maintain and update in the remake or they will be missing the point of the film entirely, but more on that later.)
This film stars 80′s bad ass Peter Weller. This guy was always awesome and he was sort of the Johnny Deep of horror film director David Cronenberg back then, and he always played his roles well. Here he plays Murphy, the new guy on the harshest police department of Detroit. We meet his veteran cop boss and his new partner, a equally bad ass cop named Anne Lewis. He gets geared up and goes out on patrol with his partner.
We then ate introduced to the evil company of evil, wait what? Oh, its actually only one guy that’s evil in the company and the other ones ain’t actually not that bad? Well…I don’t see that often, okay so we meet the guy who built another icon of this film, the automated roaring robot simply called ED-209. This bad ass thing has two 50 call. machine guns, programmed with the law on his mind and to recognize any threat, even a gun pointed at him, as is demonstrated by a company man. But apparently he doesn’t recognize the sound of the gun falling and ends up killing an innocent man, well that’s just great…Cool robot, tough the stop motion at work here is still really well done and now, it’s just amazing to watch especially for people like me who know and have practiced in this type of animation. This event gives opportunity to the man who wants to build Robocop, and the project is put on march waiting for the right man to become the world’s first cyborg.
However he has the worst luck in the world, apparently, when his first call happens to be a renowned cop killer group and it results in one of the most known scenes of the film where the group just fire squads the guy with shotguns. It’s brutal and bloody and our main character dies like anyone else would. Something that not a lot of people do nowadays if you think about it, but that doesn’t mean the movie is over.
What follows is a generally interesting point of view sequence from the hospital where Murphy dies to Robocop being built and the crew that built him. It’s a strange and surreal sequence ending with Robocop being brought into a police station only showing glimpses and little reflections of him until they finally reveal him.
And I got to tell you I love this goddamn design, I just love it! It fits the 80′s atmosphere perfectly and more importantly, he looks like an actual robot! He moves clunky, not in a comfortable manner at all, he is not agile but he is practical! He moves like a robot, walks and talks like one as well, and when he removes the mask it removes all pretenses, this man is no longer human, his skin is pulled up and embedded into the machine.
He is completely one with the machine, and I got to tell you…I hate the new look that i’ve seen so far. I kind of like it when you only see him briefly, but after looking at it, it’s so weird, he looks like he is in a suit. He kept his human hand when in the original they have a scene about that where they choose to remove his perfectly fine arm just to make him more robotic. He just looks too rubbery to me. Are you telling me that a 1987 movie managed to sell the idea of a cyborg more than a 2013 one? Well that remains to be seen but for now, I am severely disappointed in this new Robocop, and no I don’t mind them making it black.
But he is not a robot completely. He still has submerged memories that haunt him at night and aspects of his human self remain, for example a few lines he said are the same and the way he holsters his guns is also the same little touches like these are really interesting . Eventually he evades protocol and sets out to find who he really his, on the process of finding one of his killers, and after that,its history isn’t it?
Now I hope the remake isn’t bad honestly, it’s not a movie that needs a remake or a story that needs to be told again, but if they want to do it well, maybe it can work. They seem to be making it more of a PG-13 action film, removing all the memorable gore and practical effects and I guess that’s all right, making it somewhat different than the original I hope it works on its own and I’m not sure if I’m going to review it for this site or even if I’ll watch it. I just hope they respect the film icon that is Robocop.
All this because it’s a great film, and If you haven’t watched it because its old, well I encourage you to give it a try because it’s simply a well done film. The action is good and not over the top, it’s funny when it needs to be and its dramatic when it needs to be tough it doesn’t push hard on the drama, Robocop himself is a good character and he does have development. There’s this issue whether he is Murphy or someone else and this all concludes with one of the most simple yet satisfying endings that I can think of. It leaves a lot to the imagination and that’s why there were sequels and spin offs and comics and merchandise and Robocop earns my full recommendation, this film lives on and Robocop lives on.
Damn I missed doing retrospectives.