Monday, June 30, 2014

11 Reasons Why The New Robocop Just Didn’t Work

Ask my friends and they’ll tell ya, I was pumped as hell for this new Robocop movie! Why? Because I love the character, ever since I was a kid I loved all things Robocop. So of course I gave this reboot the benefit of the doubt. But now that it’s out on video I can finally give it a proper watch, no expectations, no anticipation, I just watched the movie for what it is. What I wanted to do was pinpoint the exact reasons why it just wasn’t feeling right; cause it never did. Feel right I mean. Boy is this one a letdown, and in so many ways! I still love the original better. So here I leave you guys with the reasons why the new Robocop sucked so badly.

No Urban Decay

In Veerhoven’s Robocop, Detroit was a city in ruins, a dark, decaying city in which crime had taken over; in fact, this is the main reason why Robocop was created, to bring crime rates down so OCP could build their precious Delta City. On the new film, crime isn’t even an issue. The city of Detroit looks clean and wholesome, a far cry from the almost post-apocalyptic feel that Veerhoven brought to the original film. Where’s the criminals? Where’s the terror on the streets?

Robocop Isn’t Special Anymore

One of the things that made Robocop special was that in the first film he was a one of a kind experiment. He was the first cyborg, the first mix of man and robot, the first freaking android. It’s what made him so damn unique and special when he walked down the streets. Sadly on the new film he is just another robot amongst an army of robots that OCP has built. You see on this new film OCP uses their robots for military purposes, so robots are actually becoming common place in this new film; a fact that strips Robocop of his uniqueness.

No Memorable Villains 

Where’s Dick Jones or Clarence Boddicker? I mean, wow, on the first film it seems everyone that was behind creating Robocop was a major villain, even Robocop’s creator only saw Robocop as a means to climb the corporate ladder, as a product, nothing else. The villains in the original Robocop were these big bombastic, selfish villains, the kind that are loud, theatrical and insane…not so on this new film where we don’t even get a decent villain. You know how in the original Robocop villains just went crazy blowing shit up with their super guns? Just because? There’s no such insanity on this new movie, Michael Keaton doesn’t exactly exude evil from his pores does he? Every time I see him, I just see Beetlejuice. This gets me to thinking: where have all the memorable movie villains gone?

Not a Drop of Blood or Graphic Violence

So shoot me, I enjoy over the top violence in films. I know it’s not real, which is exactly what makes it fun to watch! I mean, how about that scene where they pour a vat of chemicals over a villain’s entire body?! What a sight! And how’s about when officer Murphy’s completely over the top death sequence in which they blow up his hand and shoot his brains out? Do you think Robocop shoots bad guys in their genitals on this new film? Hell no! On this new one there isn’t even a hint of that. This new one is the kind of movie where lots of bullets fly, but not an ounce of blood is spilled. Why are action films being softened up like this? Making this new Robocop film PG-13 was a bad move creeps! It sucks balls! I want the over the top violence; it was fun!

Robocop’s Black Suit Does Not Look Robotic

On the original film, Robocop has an all metallic look; this helped him look more robotic. With the black suit from the new film, he looks like a man in a suit; he does not look like a robot. Apparently the filmmakers realized that the black suit didn’t really work because in the last moments of the new film they turn him back to metallic look? So it’s like they realized they made a huge mistake going with the black, but it was too late, they’d already made the movie, so they turned him back to the metallic look in the last frames. Ugh, black Robocop sucks. Give us the original design again. It was way better.  

The Actor Who Plays Robocop Was A Bad Choice

I don't have anything against the actor, but Joel Kinnaman looks goofy as Robocop. He has a goofy looking face; they needed an actor that didn’t look funny in Robo gear. I think it’s something about his round clownish nose or something, but I just couldn’t take the actor seriously. A goofy looking Robocop was not a smart move for this revamping of the character.

I Miss Stop Motion Animation

True, stop motion animation always looked kind of fake in certain movies, but I’m of the opinion that for the Robocop movies, stop motion animation actually worked very well. I mean, we’re talking about robots, they don’t have to look life like, they simply have to look robotic and in my opinion robotic movements can be achieved well through stop motion animation.  I miss stuff like that whole ending sequence in Robocop 2 where the two robots are destroying the city as they fight. Let’s face it, the stop motion animation work done in Robocop 2 by Phil Tippet and crew is awesome to behold. You can bet your ass I didn’t enjoy the CGI fest in the last minutes of the new Robocop. It’s been happening to me more and more often with CGI filled movies, I grow detached because nothing feels real. Sigh.

Where’s the Freaking Satire?

The original Robocop wasn’t a comedy, but it had comedic elements to it. It had satire; it was an exaggeration of real life. This was something that was sorely missing from the new Robocop. It was lifeless and boring, all the characters, all the situations, everything was downplayed to a nullifying, boring film. That satirical tone from the original film was what made it so special. Where were the fake commercials and television shows? That commercial for a board game called ‘Nuke ‘Em’ where you’re supposed to nuke your opponent with nuclear weapons? Hilarious! Where was the “I’d buy that for a dollar” guy? There was nothing similar to any of that in the new film, and it shows. What we were left with was this serious and boring film that only made me miss the sarcastic, mordant tone of the original.

They Eliminated Robocop's Relationship with Lewis

Now this is one of the suckiest things about the new film, they relegated Robocop’s relationship with Lewis to zero. I loved how in the original, Robocop had a lady for a partner, I loved that it was Lewis, I loved that she was this tough chick that could kick as much ass as Robocop. She knew Murphy, she was closest to him before he died. Why the hell change Lewis into a man and on top of everything, Lewis isn’t even part of the film, he’s like a totally forgettable second tier character in the background somewhere. Ugh; bad idea. 

Robocop the Family Man  

The first film creates Robocop and quickly puts him on the streets to do what we want to see him do, fight crime, kick ass. I mean, at the end of the day Robocop is all about cleaning up the streets and fighting crime. Unfortunately this new movie focuses more on Robocop trying to be a family man, all this was quickly brushed upon in the original film to get to the good stuff, Robo vs. the bad guys. Sure Robocop misses his family in the first film, even going as far as returning to his old family home only to discover an empty house for sale, but he quickly realizes he can’t be a family man anymore. It’s who he used to be, not who he is now. On this new one for some reason he thinks he can still be a father to his kid? Or a husband to his wife? How exactly is this supposed to work? Those scenes with Robocop visiting his son and wife just feel all wrong. How can the wife expect Murphy to still be a father and a husband? He’s a freaking cyborg lady! Wake up! Point is, we want to see Robocop fighting bad guys, not trying to go back to family life that he can obviously no longer be a part of.

It’s PG-13

Finally, the real reason why I just don’t like this new Robocop; its PG-13 and as a result toned down for mass consumption. This means, no profanity, no drugs, no nudity. I mean, how awesome is that scene in the original Robocop in which Robocop’s creator (played by Miguel Ferrer) snorts cocaine from the breast of not one, but two prostitutes!? And they made a Saturday morning cartoon out of this movie!? Only in the 80’s! And only in the 80’s would you see the good guy slashing the bad guys throat, and then having said bad guys blood fall all over Robocop’s face! From inception, Robocop was a sci-fi actioneer for adults, why change what made it successful? Of course people will be dissapointed when they find out that what made the original cool is no longer there. Only in the 80’s could you see Robocop shoot a rapist in the nut sack and then say the classic one liner: “You’re move…creep!” Speaking of which, another reason I don’t like this new Robocop: NO ONE LINERS! I want the 80’s back that’s all there is to it. 


JamesD said...

I won't buy the remake for a dollar.

Franco Macabro said...

Something tells me this remake is going to be forgotten...only to be rebooted again with a new cast and director...kind of the same way they did with the Punisher movies. Robocop is a beloved character, but audiences couldnt back up this crappy, boring ass movie.

Maurice Mitchell said...

LOL Jamed D. The original was very 80s. It's "big bombastic, selfish villains" reflected the current climate. It sounds like the sequel just isn't able to live up to the current climate.

Occo said...

I didn't mind seeing Murphy longing his family. Felt like a metaphor about an individual who has recently become disabled.

But then again, I'm kind of a sucker for happy endings.

Roman J. Martel said...

This is tough, because on the one hand I can see what the creators were trying to do. Why remake a film and not change anything? If you feel you can improve upon a movie, then I think the creators should do so. Decisions like trying to put the family back into the story or making the corporation less over the top seem to be changes made in that direction. They wanted to get away from the over the top satire of the original and make this a gritty sci-fi action film.

But here is the problem. The original film wasn't a poor film, it is considered a classic 80s film. So when you go back and start tinkering with a classic, you can't help but lose.

And all those changes seem like they weren't done because the film makers thought they could improve on the original, but because they wanted to play to the largest audience possible. Once again they look at "Dark Knight" and figure - that is what audiences want to see.

So they tone down the action, the satire, the fun, the music (I hear the recognizable Robo-cop theme is only used once in the opening title) and make the suite black - because you know, "Dark Knight". It all feels so calculated, and that always drains the movie of any life it may have had.

I think a solid and fun remake of "Robocop" was possible, but it would have been a difficult thing. Because the original movie is so memorable.

Both this remake and the remake of "Total Recall" suffer in the same way. Verhoeven made movies that had these visual flourishes, these hilarious satirical moments, and yes gallons of violence. But you don't forget those films. Each time they remake these films they strip all the personality out of them. Is that what audiences want? Cardboard blandness with a familiar name? I hope not. Neither of these remakes was terribly well received. While people keep watching and talking about Verhoeven's originals. :)

Franco Macabro said...

Occo: I thought it was kind of futile for a cyborg to try and be a daddy and a husband? Felt silly...this side of the story was touched upon in the older films, though Robocop did have memories of his family, he finally accepted that he couldnt really be either a father or a dad and told his wife that the only reason he had Murphy's face was because OCP did it to "honor" Murphy's memory.

@ Roman J Martel: I agree about trying new things in a remake, to improve, but not to worsen an idea.

I hear ya about the studio wanting to get away from the over the top nature of the original films, but the thing is that these are the elements that people love about the original films, they liked that over the top violence, I'm guessing this is why audiences didnt like this new film and therefore rejected it.

But they didn't make it gritty either! There's not enough action in my opinion.

Agree, it feels calculated. It needed to be zanier, crazier. And I think a lot of what made those originals so crazy was Verhoeven's involvement. He made that way.

Sadly, studios want to generally soften up action films, which sucks, because action films are not what they used to be anymore.

Thanks for commenting!


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