The New Kid-Friendly ‘Robocop’ Isn’t For Me And I’m Fine With That
Seeing the new trailer for the ‘Robocop’ remake that was released unceremoniously the other night got me me thinking about what makes that character so interesting, and why a new remake of the classic action movie just wont work in today’s cinematic and political climate. It also got me thinking about how remakes of 80’s films have done, and not a single one of them have been any good. The ‘Total Recall’ remake came and went last summer without any fanfare, and that’s most likely the same future I envision for the ‘Robocop’ remake which is sad.
It’s worth noting the release date for ‘Robocop’ is February 7th, 2014. That’s a terrible time to launch this film. If they were really serious about reestablishing the ‘Robocop’ franchise this would be a late spring or early summer release. It’s clearly not strong performer to be a summer release, since it would get destroyed by anything else out there and the studio knows this.
The most obvious thing about the new ‘Robocop’ film that stands out heavily is that it’s a really clean movie. Besides giving Robocop a new black paint job (because that’s edgy and cool) and streaminglining lining his armor a bit, all the technology is clean, Detroit looks a hell of a lot better in that future then it currently does right now. Setting the new ‘Robocop’ film in Detroit again is a nice homage to the first film but serves no purpose now that Detroit is boarding on lost-cause-territory in modern day 2013.
The original ‘Robocop’ was set in a bleak world, and even the future technology of that world had a believable amount of grit to it. The new ‘Robocop’ wreaks of the the sanitized for all-ages PG-13 rating. I can already see it in my mind. Lots of robot-against-robot violence ( because this new film is about drones you guys) and anyone that gets shot in the film it either happens off-screen or it’s edited in a way that the studio can easily market an un-rated blu-ray cut months later.
In an odd occurrence of unintended parody the new ‘Robocop’ resembles ‘Robocop III’ which is the worst of the ‘Robocop’ films because of how kid-friendly it feels. It’s an action film that feels like it was created to sell toys. It forgot it’s dark roots and became a saturday morning cartoon. ‘Robocop’ in it’s original 1987 cut got an NC-17 rating for sheer violence. It was almost pornagraphic in the level of violence it featured. It was a satire of the ultra-violent action films of the 80’s and a satire of the 80’s political and economical climate.
'Robocop'. It's a dumb name. It's dumb in a fun and lovable way because of how much of a product of the 80's Robocop is. It's a name that really doesn't work in 2014. The sheer premise of 'Robocop' is also one that was pretty cheesy when it was released in the 80's. On the surface 1987's Robocop was a hyper-violent action film, but it was smart and satirical and original. The new film looks painfully generic, and lacking of any true visual or originality. I hate to sound like a preachy old man saying “back in my day, Robocop was better” but that's the truth. Robocop to me will always be a grizzled Alex Murphy played by Peter Weller who fights a cartoonishly villainous Kurtwood Smith. By updating Robocop so that he can run, jump and do power-punches doesn't make the premise anymore interesting or believable. I want my Robocop to move like a goddamn robot.
Forcing the concept of ‘Robocop’ into a PG-13 package failed in the past and it will fail again. Rebooting classic 80’s properties like ‘Total Recall’ and ‘Robocop’ is something I could get behind if they were done right, and not just dumped out there as these disposable action films with some decent talent attached to them. This isn’t a Robocop meant for fans of the first film. It’s meant for males between the ages of 12-25. It’s meant to sell toys
The sad thing is, I’ll probably watch this new Robocop film since nothing usually comes out in February.