Tuesday, 8 April 2014


(Robocop 2014 Review By Neamo)

To break a little from my recent canter into television, I've decided to review a film, namely the reboot of Robocop. I know this may come of little surprise to you considering it's glorious progenitor, the general consensus of the world at large and indeed the title of this article, but this review is going to be generally unfavorable. I myself loved the original Robocop, it had a retro dystopian edge, special effects that were bleeding edge though now admittedly are dated, great overall performances and an iconic sound track. It was a thing of beauty, a pioneer in the industries of both Sci-Fi and Action genres. While it's sequels sloped into the imbecilic at break neck speeds, they never tarnished the original which stood alone as something to be admired and emulated through the decades that passed. Knowing this, and knowing my love of the source material, news of a revised and updated portrayal filled me with a sense of misery and dejection. I didn't feel foreboding of it's arrival as I had accepted from the onset that this would be a turd, all I was left with was the slow and anguished colonic irrigation of Hollywood to slop, spatter and squelch it's way to my screen.

I'm reluctant to break down the plot as it leaves me cringing in places, and frankly at this point I'm reiterating, but for the lesser aware of you I shall make this as brief as possible. The US Military have been using drones in other countries in an effort in peace keeping. The company that makes said drones, growing fat from the profits of war then marveled the world at large with enormous mechanized destroyers, a hark back to the original film, and robots of human stature and intricacy that essentially make any idea of law enforcement from humans look redundant. An influential newscaster shamelessly promotes the idea of introducing mechanized soldiers to police American territory, something that to this point has been banned and blocked fastidiously by a law that remains central to the film, and the company head is left in a conundrum. Que officer Murphy, a maverick cop whose partner, who we shall refer to as officer token, is shot by a weapons and drug smuggler. Throwing accusations of cover ups and corruptions at his colleagues, which of course later turn out to be true, Murphy is blown up whilst accidentally detonating a car bomb and is wheeled away to a salivating prosthesis scientist. Convincing the two dimensional construct of Mrs Murphy to sign a consent form that will rebuild him, make him faster, stronger and indeed more productive, OmniCorp sandwich his lungs and heart in clingfilm, tossing away the other non vitals like a stomach or spleen, and encase him in apple's latest equivalent to the iPhone ( The iRobot? Okay, I'll stop. ). Our newly rebuilt sentinel of honor and goodness then proceeds to solve his own crime, fight injustice and ultimately has a touching if short reunion with his family, taking down OmniCorp in the process and saving the day. And what of that tricky legal hurdle? Briefly swept away and then reintroduced immediately afterward, because that's how the legal system works.

This film boasts a collective of big names, all of whom have basically stated the opportunity represented a paycheck, and there remains little passion within. Our titular character ironically was more robotic during his every day good cop scenes than the entirety of his scenes as the flesh faced cyborg, and that's saying something. Leaping from bleeding edge hard nosed grit to bleeding heart whelp in spasmodic twitches, it felt uncomfortable and pandering and left much wanting. His family likewise were flat and otherwise added nothing. In fact, I would say the presence of a family and the desire to try and appeal to the every man cheapened the experience. The 'comic' mercenary douche acted as mere background vapor as did all but the starlit cast, and it's their performances I shall review. Samuel L Jackson is dangerously close to buying into his own hype it seems. I feel remorse in saying this as it's something many esteemed and established names in Hollywood seem to be indulging in, namely fan service, but it isn't something I can abide or get behind. I know the man can act, I've seen it, though admittedly I think more of him for his earlier work, and like wine he too has turned to vinegar. Hammy and generally laughable, he played his role with an exuberant comic book candor that I had hoped we'd left behind in the days of Batman and Robin. I'm not entirely sure if being a marvel favorite is what is causing this drain of talent, or whether it's simply time taking it's toll on the former badass, but this performance remains an unhealthy channeling of his performance from The Spirit. Michael Keaton was nothing to write home of, sadly, and while I didn't hate his performance it seems at this point the man is desperate for work, which is unsurprising as his film career post Burton has remained patchy at best. I recently had the misfortune of watching the new Need For Speed movie, and while I can assure you his performance within this surpasses his role in that abyssal horror, I couldn't help but feel it was a tired portrayal from an actor desperate for a paycheck. Of the performances, Gary Oldman's remained the best in strides, and while a little lackluster, I think Gary Oldman's effort remains the reason I watched til finish. I remain skeptical of how good it actually was however, and on reflection I think his was the lesser turd by comparison, not the pillar holding the production aloft.

 The special effects were decent enough. It showed me nothing I can call new, and instead seemed to be a collective of pieces of other films, a little strip of Elysium here, and a touch of the Matrix there, nothing to truly note, but nothing that offended greatly. The musical score didn't totally offend, a rebooted main theme being the only thing I can remember of it. It didn't break new molds, but it remained familiar enough to the original track that I felt comfortable listening. The reason I'm being short here, and the reason similarly that I haven't ripped into the plot, is because I'm making room for a rant of things I feel were notably poor. For one, the flip style helmet, and suit in general were bad moves. With an iPhone case for a helm, it stripped any ideal of freeing the human beneath which remained the large motivation for seeing Murphy's face in the original. Likewise, the light strip across it's back and front that served no purpose other than to alert the criminals shooting within the darkness of his general proximity didn't reek of intelligent design. Saving the arm pissed me off a little fiercely as it essentially scrapped a beautiful scene from the original where we first learn that Murphy is essentially meat to OmniCorp, "Lose the arm." remaining one of it's more poignant moments. Instead we are left with a dismembered hand attached by a plastic strut to his organ casing, which was shown gratuitously for simple shock value. The altering of his emotions through lowering dopamine chemicals to achieve a robotic like state in the mind of Murphy, the idea of the suit auto piloting around his flesh whilst giving the illusion of control, I'm sure they seemed very clever at face value. Ultimately they simply added to the hollow feeling within my chest and lack of enthusiasm toward the main character at large. The family scenes were drawn out and meaningless as they remained flat and void of any sentiment that was not sugar glazed, and the general atmosphere of the film left much wanting. I could continue to pick faults here for hours, so it's best that I restrain from a tangent and instead surmise.

I had tried initially to write something positive of the film, something that wouldn't redeem it's faults but instead give you a reason to watch it. I had tried, but in writing this review and assessing each part, I simply can't find a sane reason to advise it. The acting is shoddy at best, the effects are nothing special and the plot isn't so much a plot as it is the bare corpse of the first film, updated with a sickly sweet family edge. Don't watch this film, watch the original.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...