RoboCop (2014) - 8 stars out of 10
This is what “Robocop” was meant to be. I know that most critics disagree, but I believe this to be better than the original. Hi-tech computer simulations, heavy artillery, and realistic robots have rebooted this film series into the twenty-first century. When “Robocop” first came out in 1987, it was definitely ahead of its time. The story was innovative, the violence pushed the boundaries of acceptability, but the technology led to some awkward stop-motion and a man in a metallic suit. 27 years later, CGI has allowed José Padilha to show detective Alex Murphy in his inhuman form (just a head and a hand) and the necessity of the Robocop transformation. The heads up display inside of his helmet and computer technology used by OmniCorp to control and track him also transport us into the near-future setting of “this could exist in 15 years, but not yet.” This franchise was always pretty dark. The Detroit crime scene is very unpleasant and it was time for this film to join the recent “dark” reboots of Batman, Spiderman, and Star Trek. The casting crew did a really great job by bringing in Gary Oldman as the morally conflicted doctor, Michael Keaton as the villain, and Samuel L. Jackson as the political tv host representative of the media’s uncanny influence on politics. Joel Kinnaman was the perfect choice for Alex Murphy, providing a massive body to fill the suit and an ability to transition between emotional duress and non-emotion. This film masquerades as a cool action film but actually raises some tough moral questions about medical technology, the media, and arms company ethics. A lot of people argue that something was lost in translation between the original and this reboot, but once you’ve seen this modern update of “Robocop” it will be difficult to go back to the original.