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RoboCop




RoboCop (PG-13)
Film Reviews

02/20/14
By Amy Diaz adiaz@hippopress.com



RoboCop (PG-13)

In the near future, a badly injured police officer is given a robot body and put back on the streets of a totally fictional, violence- and corruption-filled Detroit in RoboCop, a reboot of the action movie franchise started in the 1980s.
Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is investigating an arms dealer and possible police corruption with his partner Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams). After an undercover operation gone wrong, Lewis ends up in the hospital and Murphy is nearly killed when a car bomb goes off at his home. 
Luckily (or, perhaps, “luckily”) for Murphy, OmniCorp, the leader in providing police drones for American military actions abroad, is working on creating a model of robotic police officers for the American market. But, as expositioned by Bill O’Reilly-like talk show host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson), America is solidly undecided on the question of drone use at home. So OmniCorp and its head Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) have tasked robotics expert Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) to find a way to put a man into a machine. Murphy’s solid cop skills and relative mental stability make him an excellent candidate, so OmniCorp gets Alex’s wife Clara (Abbie Cornish) to agree to the surgery, and they set about making him into a RoboCop.
Murphy, who wakes up and is not thrilled with what’s happened, turns out to still be more man than machine when it comes to his response time as compared to traditional, non-cop-containing robots. So Dr. Norton tweaks his ... you know what, let’s go this route: Gary Oldman does science making it so Murphy’s human side is not as in control as OmniCorp advertises.
The “doing science” portion of this movie could be sliced down considerably. We paid money to see a robot/human hybrid shoot bad guys, and the movie gets a little too enamored of the tech and the political parody to get around to the serious RoboCopping until more than halfway through the movie.  For extended conspiracy, we already have Almost Human on FOX (an action series that riffs on the robot-cop idea). For a two-hour movie, less story and more ka-boom would be nice. The backstory buildup is pretty much wasted on the shoot-’em-up finale, and Kinnaman’s acting suggests that the The Killing veteran thinks he’s doing something more serious.  
That said, this RoboCop is goofy fun — possibly more fun if, like me, you haven’t seen the 1987 original. It contains just enough satire to feel clever and enough explosions and shooting to justify its ticket price. B-
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material. Directed by José Padilha with a screenplay by Joshua Zetumer,  RoboCop is an hour and 48 minutes long and distributed by Columbia Pictures.
 
As seen in the February 20, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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