Robocop 2014: Beyond the remake (Movie review)

Robocop 2014 logo. Picture by Halloween6 CC BY-SA 3.0 1)


Before I sat in the movie theater, I was very adamant about this adaptation. Robocop (1987) was since my childhood, one of my favorite movies of all time. I remember vividly the past year's teaser, and how I felt truly offended for what I saw in there: A shiny black cylon-like cyborg, jumping around, killing perky robots, while he watches his human right hand with an anguish look, showing his face without the mask. I was just livid.

However, right before the movie ended, I felt like it wasn't that bad as I expected, and maybe I was unfair, because I let my wrath loose during months, and never thought for a second that I could be wrong about this film. Fans, who watched the trailer too, didn't make me a favor either: They ranted and vented their anger on forums, social media and whatnot, as I previously did with my friends and relatives. Maybe we were all a little bit too emotional in here, but hey, after all it was “our” precious movie, wasn't it? I probably watched it around twenty times on TV reruns, and rented it to gather with my friends. But hold on! Before you criticize my opinion for being a bad Robofan, I beg you to continue reading my review.

Rebooting Robocop

More than a remake, the first thing I noticed, was the movie has a different pace, following a narrative detached from the original. Although, it is based heavily on the original elements, it has life on its own, like seeing a completely different sci-fi movie. Yeah, the robots are amazing, and they really look similar to the Robocop style, but I had to remind myself I was watching the 2014 film, and not the one I'm used to love. The detective story reminds me at some point to the original movie, but again this version was just an adaptation, and not a mere remake of the movie, like infamous Gus van Sant's remake Psycho, or the horrid A Nightmare on Elm Street aberration of 2010. No, this was a movie based on Robocop with its own merits and flaws, so I had to really pay attention and take some distance from the opinionated “I'm seeing the same movie with another skin” position that I had during the past five months.

Let's say Robocop this time doesn't run MS-DOS 3.2, it runs MS-Windows 7, which is good, because I was expecting in fact a MS-Windows Vista like movie, which is really bad, nevertheless, it isn't near to Robocop's Linux version that I would rather want. Ok, enough of techie-talk, and let's reboot this robo-cop!

Why I think this movie won't disappoint you

Robocop was for its time an incredible movie, not only for its budget, but the issues it explored that even today are still valid. A futuristic and polarized society, where the only thing that matters is money. A society, in which crime is a reflect of their leaders' greediness, who think that fire should be fought with fire. Instead of looking for a real solution, they just retaliate with more violence. All these of course, seasoned with a very sardonic dark humor, that is almost sadistic.

Although the humor is almost gone for Robocop 2014, it deals with most –if not all– of the issues already seen in the original, but additionally, it brings even more topics from our current world, twenty-seven years later. It even deepens in ethical issues that the original couldn't anticipate completely, or at least treated them superficially at the time.

Regarding film's construct, the visual effects are astonishing, the script is well polished, and the acting stands out, thanks mostly to the good actors in the film.

Although Joel Kinnaman (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) is not the one I would have chosen for the role of Robocop/Alex Murphy, he really makes a good work delivering emotions, and suppressing them when needed. Maybe he is not as known in Hollywood, but he is a really good actor. Two incredible villains are Raymond Sellars, and Rick Mattox, portrayed by Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice, Batman), and Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, Lincoln). They truly know their trade, making them easy to hate, but not in a unidimensional, or simplistic way. On the other hand, Gary Oldman (The Fifth Element, The Dark Night) as Dr. Dennett Norton, was the icing on the cake. He characterizes a remarkable scientist who struggles between his ethics and his labor, making you wonder in your seat, if you would have done something different. He played a very complex role, satisfying the viewer, at the same time Oldman makes you think in the comfort of your seat.

Another thing that fans pointed out ad nauseam in forums, was the fact that the movie wasn't that violent as the original. So, the studios make it in a way that it could be rated PG-13 with the clear intention to sell more tickets. However, I have to say the movie doesn't lack of crude moments, and more buckets of blood wouldn't make the movie much better as it turned out. I really love the original, but as I said before, this movie differentiates from that one, making it its own, even in the violent aspects of the movie.

What didn't work

The movie lasted almost two hours, but it felt much longer, like a director's cut LotR marathon. No kidding, its pace was sometimes so slow that I was wondering, if it really were only one hour of movie, or just my watch died. Even the action sequences, and believe me, there are plenty of them in the film, felt most of the time dull, and loud. If it weren't for the dense stuff in the film, I would think it was a Michael Bay movie.

The director José Padilha (Elite Squad, Secrets of the Tribe) probably lacked the experience to make this movie through the end, but I'm sure he had the talent. The movie editing definitely was not the best, making the movie to look excessively boring, when clearly it shouldn't have been.

In Conclusion

Robocop 2014 wasn't the movie I was expecting, and I was gladly surprised in more than one way. The movie more than a remake is a reboot, trying hard to bring it to the 21st century. If you look for action, it is in there, if you want to see good acting, you won't get out of the theater disappointed. The corporative cruelty and corruption, it's in there too, but without the gore, and Verhoeven's brilliance. My final recommendation? Go ahead and watch it, but with an open mind. I understand it won't please some hardcore fans, but we don't have to be bitter about it. At the end, we still have the 1987's Robocop, undoubtedly a timeless classic.



Halloween6 (February 2th 2014). Robocop remake Logo. (Uploaded by Halloween6) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], undefined. Picture Available On-line in

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