Anyone who saw the original 1987 RoboCop starring Peter Weller can tell you it was one of the coolest things to ever come out of the 1980s. Any success of that movie can be attributed to the fact that it was a bullet-riddled and blood-soaked gore fest, full of biting social commentary that only the mind of Paul Verhoeven (the man responsible for Starship Troopers and Total Recall) could possibly put to screen.
Simply put, if you’re going to choose to watch a movie called RoboCop, choose to watch the 1987 classic.
The remake, while featuring amazing actors such as Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson, is a poor substitute. Those three actors may have been the only thing that made the movie watchable.
The plot of RoboCop is an easy thing to get right. An incorruptible cop is violently gunned down by a drug syndicate, the cop is turned into a robot, the robot remembers it was once human and proceeds to attack corruption in the city.
Except in this version, there is no drug syndicate, the cop never forgets who he is, and there is almost no mention of cleaning up corruption in a meaningful way.
In the remake, the social commentary about the emerging police state is ham-fisted and clumsy, as it shows a militantly pro-government talk show host, played by Sam Jackson, pushing for drone security in the U.S. on his television show. While Jackson is known for his over-the-top performances, the film’s attempt at satire through his character was boring and obvious.
The film also tries to explain how the human part of RoboCop, played by Joel Kinnaman, isn’t in control during combat. They explain it by saying that his human brain slows him down and prevents him from doing what needs to be done, supposedly eliminating moral dilemmas, so everything is perceived as a simulation.
That notion quickly doesn’t make sense the first time RoboCop goes through combat and sees the aftermath of his fight.
Overall, RoboCop traded in everything that made the original movie great for a family-friendly action flick with a PG-13 rating. If you insist on seeing the movie, prepare for a disappointment. Instead, take your money to the Red Box and rent the classic; it’ll be worth the dollar that the guy from the commercial was talking about.