All original written content is (c) 2014 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: The not-so-long-anticipated (more like unexpected, to me) remake of the 1987 cult-classic ROBOCOP, about a cyborg cop in a futuristic crime-ridden Detroit (what a stretch).
- Battle-scenes, when they do show up, are pretty good, thanks to director José Padilha. The one in the dark is especially cool, mixing video-game-like shooter graphics with infra-red and strobe-lighting from the automatic gunfire. Wish there were more.
- The special FX of the main character are obviously well done compared to the original, seeing as it has over a 25-year jump in technology. But the stripping away of the Robo body to what’s left of the man is definitely new, very well done and very, very creepy.
- You really feel for the guy in the suit, more so than the original. In fact, half the movie is the setup of who he is and what happens to him and his family. (In this one, he has a wife and little boy; I think he just had a wife in the first one, but it’s been many years since I’ve seen it.) Joel Kinnaman does “human” better than original Peter Weller. (But the latter did robot/cyborg better, so it’s a wash.)
- A lot of interplay with the scientist-doctor (played perfectly by Gary Oldman) who creates him, which was not in the first one. He has quite a range of character so that you like/hate him at various times, which is a sign of a good character.
- This one really emphasizes the humanity and compassion aspect, if yer into that kinda thing. (See list of CONS below.)
- Noobs will prefer the sleeker, darker version of the armor. Old-school fans will get a kick out of the original silver look used as well (much like the CAPTAIN AMERICA movie addressed and used the original costume to appease both groups). In the “If it ain’t broke” department, they left the design of the ED-209 pretty much untouched, because it was badass to begin with. (FYI, here’s a good bit on how it was designed, created and animated for the original.)
- Less dreary and dark than the first movie, if you care about that sorta thing.
- He rides a mean-cool Batcycle-type bike.
Comic-fan actor treats
1. Michael Keaton (BATMAN) as the bad CEO of Omnicorp is more convincing as a real CEO than the original’s more one-dimensional baddie. The downside is that you don’t hate him as much until very late in the film.
2. Jackie Earle Haley (WATCHMEN) as an “a-hole in an exo-skeleton”.
3. Samuel L. Jackson (UNBREAKABLE, AVENGERS) as the conservative TV show host Pat Novak with a goofy wig–you won’t mistake him for Nick Fury for sure. (And if you interview him, never, ever mistake him for Laurence Fishburne like this guy did!)
- At least half the damn movie is setup. Despite the shoot-out early on, it takes forever to get to the actual Robocop, and even longer to see him in action.
- Way too much Hallmark Channel “human drama” crap. The movie is called ROBOCOP, not MY HUBBY, MY DADDY, THE CYBORG.
- The dark humor from the first one is pretty much missing [FROM MIKE: As is the sardonic wit.] Thanks, Captain Thesaurus. Anyway, they do stick in a token “Buy that for a dollar” reference, but blink and you’ll miss it. And Robo never utters his trademark, “Your move, creep!” or any other memorable catchphrase. Come on, these types of movies scream for that kinda thing! (Who doesn’t associate TERMINATOR with “I’ll be back”?)
- Logistic stuff: When a bomb goes off next to you, you’d probably be thrown more than four feet, and you’d probably land flat, not in a weird pose with your arm up. How does the hand closest to the bomb escape unscathed but the arm and other hand get removed? And if they could make Robo’s face brand new after being shown burnt black, why couldn’t they save more of him?
- Behavior stuff: If you haven’t seen your wife and kid for four months, and you only have one flesh-and-blood hand, wouldn’t you at least TOUCH them with it? Wouldn’t you KISS your babe with your real lips instead of staring at her like a metal moron? Jus’ sayin’.
- If the whole damn film takes place in Detroit, the least you can do is actually SHOOT it there. Friggin’ Canadians! South Park was right.
- Just not enough battles and action for me. A lot less bloody than the first one, but that’s replaced by the previously-mentioned “Robo in pieces” eerie scenes, so it’s a wash. Which means I need more excitement. Highbrows will dig the character development, but that’s not why I see these types of flicks.
RENT IT. Yes, for a dollar. Buy it for two at a garage sale next year if it has some cool special features. But don’t waste your time or dough in the theater. Keep your expectations low and you won’t be disappointed like I was.
That does it for now, but there’s always another movie that demands to be seen, so keep comin’ back, ya hear?
P.S.: Pascale does dang good commissions of Robocop or any other character that you’d definitely wanna buy for more than a dollar. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by Bru’s Reviews are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the Detroit PD, cyborg policemen, Laurence Fishburn or mad scientists. Goodbye, Jay Leno, and thanks for putting Bru-Hed on your show!