Movie Review: Robocop (2014)

Robocop_posterA few months ago, I watched the whole original Robocop trilogy. While I hadn’t been impressed with the movies, there were some elements I found well done in the movies, especially the bond between Robocop and his partner, Anne Lewis. The trailer for the remake left me rather unsure of what to expect, so I didn’t really have any high hopes and was just curious to see how it would go. One of the things that I found weird is how the look and feel of the movie appeared as if the crew didn’t know whether they were shooting a 1980s movie or a 2010s one. It just seemed that they couldn’t decide.

I am sad that they turned Anne Lewis into a man. I liked the actor who played Lewis in the remake, and was glad for the diversity due to the casting choice. Yet, I was very disappointed that we barely saw him. I understand that they took the whole family aspect with Murphy’s wife and son to a more significant level in this remake (it was actually decently handled with both his wife and their son); but it didn’t require them to drop the professional partnership/friendship. That was a poor choice in my view. I loved the “not bad cop, good cop: bad cop, robocop” scene when Lewis and Murphy suddenly interacted together again to take down their dirty colleagues. It just kind of happened out of the blue. There could have been so much more build up for this! I so wish they had done better with the relationship between Lewis and Murphy.

I was really sad that his superior, Chief Karen Dean, wasn’t clean either, because she was a great character, and seeing a woman of color in a leadership position was something important in the movie. I feel that we see more women than in the original one, but many of them seem to stay on the periphery, which is saddening, as at least some of them could have been main cast (besides being the hero’s wife like Clara is). I would have even been very happy to see Robocop be a woman!

Some of the best things about the movie was the battle between science, corporations, politics and media. Somehow it is secondary in the plot lines, but I think that it was well executed. The use of more advanced technology was also well executed in my view, but I am sorry that they missed on a great opportunity to work on disability awareness. While the work done on Murphy was described at length and the whole “human/machine” aspect felt a bit more developed than in the original trilogy, I don’t understand why they didn’t work on having Murphy really get used to the suit and show more of a training and recovery process. It seemed that suddenly all just went fine (as when he breaks free and escapes the facility before being switched off). It seemed even more counter intuitive because of what we see of Dr. Norton’s work helping people getting used to their prosthetic replacements and blend technology and science for the good of people before to be on board for the Robocop project.

11 thoughts on “Movie Review: Robocop (2014)

    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Indeed! It’s a decent movie, but I wish that it had done so much better especially with this being a remake with so many possibilities of improvement on the character development level.

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      1. Harliqueen

        Remakes really do have to be much better in order for them to have purpose, I find sometimes! (That was terrible wording, I hope you understand what I meant :D)

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        1. Natacha Guyot Post author

          I think that I enjoy the term “re-imagination” better than “remake” because it implies that people use the original material and while sticking close to it, make room to do something different and/or improve what had room for in the original production. I don’t understand the point of damaging something that really worked in the original instead of keeping it (or its idea) when they explore new possibilities.

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      Thank you for your comment! While none of the Robocop movies are in my favorite films, it was important for me to know them for my research. I wonder whether they chose to make a second movie in the remake verse, and if they do, I hope they could tackle certain points I brought up in the review.

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  1. hannahgivens

    I ended up seeing this new Robocop at a library movie night on Monday and really loved it. I hadn’t seen the old ones but just watched the first one this morning… Review of the new one coming in about two weeks. It’s already written, I’ve just got a lot of backlog to post!

    Anyway, by review turned out to be mostly about disability awareness stuff. I’m never sure if I’ve actually grasped the major points, but it seemed to me like they did a good job with fundamental questions and even making the link explicit (via Dr. Norton), much more explicit than Iron Man for instance. Are you just saying they should’ve spent more time with him getting used to the technology, or is there a deeper problem?

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    1. Natacha Guyot Post author

      I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I liked how they showed Dr. Norton’s work much more at the beginning but yes, I think the way the character just gets used to the technology was way too quick. I also didn’t like how the dialog was about how the suit wasn’t here to help Murphy, but that the suit was him. That seemed reductive and counter intuitive to me. This is why I consider that the disability awareness occasion was quite missed, though they did better than in the original movies.

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      1. hannahgivens

        I see that objection a lot so I know it’s a problem, but I don’t really follow why. Movies don’t happen in real time, there are always simplifications. Romantic buildup only gets attention in romantic comedies or dramas. You don’t see pilots learning to fly airplanes in war movies. Diseases and murderer investigations take drastically less time on TV. Plus I thought the focus was supposed to be on adaptive technology being a help, not a hindrance. Why does it need to take more time? (Like I said, I believe everyone when they say it’s a problem, I just don’t understand -why.-)

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        1. Natacha Guyot Post author

          I can take simplifications when they work well. For me this one didn’t, especially since it was a remake and they could have spend time on it especially in regards to all the opening foundations they had laid with Norton’s research and work. This is why it felt rushed to me, because it feels as if they were starting something and then just dropped it, which I never like.

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