Sunday, 9 February 2014

Robocop (2014) Film Review

Robocop Poster
Title: Robocop
Director: Jose Padilha
Screenwriter/s: Edward NeumeierNick Schenk, others.
Length: 121 minutes
Year of Release: 2014

Robocop is a film directed by Jose Padilha, and stars Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Abbie Cornish, and is a remake of the 1987 classic, and explores the origins of Robocop, and how detective Alex Murphy came to don the suit.

To begin, Robocop has a pretty awesome ensemble. Kinnaman is fairly flat as Alex Murphy; he still gives a decent enough performance to pass though. He carries the film well enough; it's just a lot of the film, you don't even root for his character, something that isn't a good thing at all! I'd pin that on Kinnaman, as the dialog isn't that bad. The stand out performance, as expected, is Gary Oldman as the scientist, Dr. Dennett Norton. He's relatable, complex, and Oldman's performance makes him quite likable. Keaton gives a strong performance as well, playing the obligatory multimillionaire Raymond Sellars, as does Samuel L. Jackson, in a much smaller role. One of the biggest let downs, though, was Abbie Cornish as Murphy's wife, Clara. The character is annoying, stupid, and doesn't garner any empathy from yourself, which is down to both Cornish and the writers. In conclusion, for the most part, the ensemble nature of this film was executed very well, with some performances missing the mark.

This film was written by 5 guys, and that obviously posed a problem. The film jumps around in intensity, seriousness and quality, and it's not good! It's as if all the writers got a 25 minute piece of the film that they could contribute to; the problem is that the vast majority of these writer's styles never mixed together to make something truly coherent. The first 45 minutes of this film, the origin story of Robocop, was executed near flawlessly. I enjoyed it immensely, thanks to Kinnaman and Oldman's back and forth, and the pace. Whoever wrote that first portion of the film deserves a pat on the back, because it was very well done, and had me invested in the film properly. Then the film dropped off in the action and dialog department, and became a cliched, boring action film. What did we get to watch Robocop do exactly in the second act of this film? Well, ride around on a motorcycle, and hit guys with a stun gun. The excitement! The film eventually finds itself a main plot line, one which allows Murphy redemption for what happened to him earlier in the film, which is interesting enough. But, at the beginning of the third act, the screenwriter, which ever one it is at this stage, decided to drop the plot line that had been established and concluded much too quickly for my liking, and continue onward with a new mission for Robocop that had my interest lowering by the second. Basically, the film felt, for the most part, incredibly disconnected, and the main plot line, the motivation for Robocop continually changes and modifies over the 2 hour running time; not something that should be happening!

Robocop is famous for action; lots of blood, lots of guns, and lots of one liners whilst shooting those same guns. One of the most criticized decisions surrounding this remake, is the rating; a PG 13 Robocop film?! This is madness! And whilst it's not too much of a problem, it did irritate myself. Robocop finds himself using a stun gun throughout this entire film, for crying out loud! That's right, a stun gun! For fans of the original Robocop, and it's gory, awesome action, you should stay away from this film. Whilst the action is more fast paced and exhilarating, it's not nearly as memorable, and that is a problem when it comes to such a widely known character like Robocop.

There were a few angles within the film which I certainly enjoyed, my favourite being that Murphy continually has to fight the robotic side of him. He doesn't necessarily have control over his body, his mind even, and watching him try and take control of himself, issue himself commands is interesting to watch. With a click of a button, Murphy has barely a slither of thought that translates into actual action. He can't jump around, take control of his own body, go wherever he wants. He has to adhere to this robotic side of him, which is trying to overcome the human side of him. Watching the inner dilemma that is this personal fight between himself and computer is something which I thoroughly enjoyed, and something that was quite well done.

Conclusion:
Robocop is a solid watch at the theatre. It's a fun, popcorn flick which doesn't require too much thought. Yet, the plot feels simply too mismatched to pass, and I hated Abbie Cornish here. I didn't have too many hopes for this film, and I was served correct by telling myself this was to be a disappointment.

Junkie Score: 5.7
Worth Admission Price? Yes

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