I just saw the RoboCop remake at the ICON Theater in St Louis Park
earlier today. As a fan of the original 1987 Paul Verhoeven film, I was
really looking forward to the remake since 2010 (when Darren Aronofsky
was attached to the film as director). Despite numerous setbacks, I was
still very eager to check out José Padilha's American debut film, which
opens in theaters in America this Wednesday, February 12th.
I will start with the bad:
New RoboCop design looks like a guy in riot gear suit. Also why keep some internal organs and his one remaining hand?
Any of the Samuel L Jackson scenes could be cut from the film,
and it will still make sense as a movie (so his part was really not
necessary - especially in the long, long, long intro before we got to
the RoboCop title!)
Some illogical things, like let's upload software/criminal
database, like 10 minutes before RoboCop makes his debut to the public!
Now some good things:
The new ED209 are better animated (and more realistic) than the original claymation/puppet animation
Gary Oldman is the best part of the movie
New film has given renewed interest in the franchise and as a
result, a new 4k transfer of the 1987 is available on Blu-Ray, which is
always a positive thing in my book.
In some ways, Padilha tried to pay some homage to the original film (I
had a chuckle at "I wouldn't buy that for a dollar" or "dead or alive,
you're coming with me!"), but it doesn't exactly capture what made the
original film so good. What made the 1987 film, at least for me, was
the over-the-top violence and dark humor. Sure, it came off as cheesy,
but who cares when there's a thing called RoboCop!
If you decide to go see the new RoboCop, keep an ear out for the
soundtrack. They kept Basil Poledouris' original RoboCop heroic theme
song, but much of the background orchestra were composed by Pedro
Bromfman. The more contemporary music stood out in the film, but it
made sense where they used it. Excellent usages of Frank Sinatra's "Fly
Me to the Moon", The Wizard of Oz's "If I Only Had A Heart", and The
Clash's "I Fought the Law".
Anyway, I thought I read somewhere that Padilha was unhappy with the
studio's direction to keep the film at PG-13, so I'm actually curious if
he, in fact, cut a film that was darker and more violent? I can't wait
to see if they will release a Director's Cut on Blu-Ray in the near
future, because you know I would buy that for a dollar!