News

REIVEW: ‘RoboCop’ pumps fun into Valentine’s Day

REIVEW: ‘RoboCop’ pumps fun into Valentine’s Day

Joel Kinnamen stars as Alex Murphy, a.k.a. RoboCop, in this remake of the 1987 classic. Photo: Associated Press/Columbia Pictures - Sony, Kerry Hayes

Genre: Action, Crime, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 108 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: José Padilha | Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton

By: George Wolf

Rebooting 1987′s RoboCop seems like such an obvious idea, you may wonder why it took this long. No matter, the new RoboCop is here now, ready to clean up the streets and pump some fun (along with a decent amount of lead) into your Valentine’s date plans.

We’re back in crime-ridden Detroit with honest cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnamen) but beyond that, the backstory is rightly, and effectively, re-imagined for a new audience.

Robot drones built by global conglomerate OmniCorp have become commonplace in American military action overseas. OmniCorp would like to expand but Congress, bowing to public sentiment against these “soulless” enforcers in our own backyards, has blocked any attempt to put the same robots to work in law enforcement here at home.

That’s a problem for OmniCorp honcho Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), and for uber-outraged TV host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson, just as hilariously over-the-top in his Bill O’Reilly sendup as you would expect).

The chance to turn the public tide their way comes when Murphy is blown nearly to bits by the local crime lord. OmniCorp scientist Dr. Dennet Norton (Gary Oldman) and his team spring into action, meticulously bringing Murphy back to butt-kicking life via the super suit!

Director José Padilha (a Brazilian film veteran making his English language debut) has no trouble delivering the frenetic action and impressive visuals, so much so that any motion- sensitive viewers might want to skip the IMAX print. Otherwise, strap in and enjoy the ride! It’s one that Padilha paces well, hitting the gas just when events start to bog down in melodrama.

Screenwriter Joshua Zetumer dials back the misanthropy of the original to provide more thoughtful inner conflict, as Murphy/RoboCop fights to overcome the engineering which allows him only the “illusion of free will.” Less subtle, but still worthwhile, are the nods to the ongoing debate about liberty versus security.

What’s missed about this new version is the knowing approach the original brought to the entire cop genre. Murphy’s fight to bring down the crime boss and his cronies is stitched together with nothing but well-worn cliche, and just doesn’t mesh next to the satirical layers that bubble up elsewhere.

No, RoboCop 2014 ain’t perfect, but it’s sleek and exciting enough to make the inevitable sequels feel much more promising.

Verdict 3 Stars

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Latest Headlines

yesterday in Viral Videos

When a brother loses a bet

Dance Bet

A guy loses a bet to his younger brother and must dance on a busy street corner for 30 minutes. What happens next is amazing.

yesterday in Entertainment

REVIEW: Johnny Depp and crew fail at ‘Transcendence’

This image released by Warner Brothers Pictures shows Johnny Depp in a scene from the sci-fi thriller "Transcendence."

Johnny Depp falls short of greatness in his latest film, but at least it's not "Lone Ranger."

yesterday in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: 50 most frustrating video game moments

Video Games Sonic

Playing video games can be fun, into you run into one of these situations!

yesterday in Lifestyle

Mazda recalls 190K SUVs for rust problem

The company logo is seen on the bonnet of a Mazda car during the media day ahead of the 84th Geneva Motor Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 5, 2014.

Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts.

yesterday in Viral Videos

Fence FAIL

fence

A man who appears intoxicated tries his hardest to climb a fence, but it's not happening.

Latest Headlines

The company logo is seen on the bonnet of a Mazda car during the media day ahead of the 84th Geneva Motor Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 5, 2014.

In Lifestyle

Mazda recalls 190K SUVs for rust problem

Mazda is recalling 109,000 Tribute SUVs in cold-weather states to fix rusting frame parts.

recordstoreday

In Music

Record Store Day full of reunited bands, special editions

Record Store Day celebrates thousands of independent music shops around the world.

soundgarden

In Music

Listen to Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' demo

Ahead of the 20th anniversary reissue of "Superunknown," Soundgarden releases the demo version of "Black Hole Sun."

davegrohl

In Music

Nirvana stars relieved by Hall of Fame finale failure

Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic were just fine with the way the Rock Hall inductions ended.

arcticmonkeys

In Music

Arctic Monkey slammed for 'synchronized' live shows

British rockers Arctic Monkeys have been slammed for their "synchronized" live performances by their tour mates The Orwells.