I did not rush to the cinema when it came out and I did not watch it the day it became available to rent but last night I had to unwind and my wife got excited when she saw Robocop up for rent. I had a twinge of fear about it but we sat down and watched it. I know that this post is a bit off topic but the original Robocop is one of those movies that just coloured my sci-fi worlds in nearly every way.
The new Robocop is a good movie. It is not a great movie, but it is a good movie. Special effects are OK and there is plenty of action and drama. It does a hat tip to the original movie in many ways but they never tried to remake its spirit and I thought that was a good thing.
The original Robocop is a movie that was not a major blockbuster release. It was more of a cult success and it offered perfect comment on its time. It used the Robocop as an analogy of how the populace were being corporatized and personal service was being syndicated into an unreal and impersonal manner. It showed that we were just another product for the corporations to use and abuse. It is a pity that so few of us got that message at the time or the world may have indeed been a better place.
|Image is from the Robocop wikia page|
So, in a sense I was relieved by this movie not trying to recreate that feel. If anything, this movie was more a comment on humanity and technology. Where were the lines, ethics and morality. While they set that material up they did not follow through with it and the commentary was lost by the end of the movie.
The things that did irk me about the movie were some of the nods to the old version. I had gotten half way through the movie and realized that they weren’t pursuing the commentary of the original (as I explained above) and then they slipped in the line “I’d buy that for a dollar”. I physically cringed when I heard it. We did not need it and it felt artificial. My teenage kids who have never seen the original groaned at the forced dialogue even.
Then there is the suit. They were doing well until, probably in an effort to hammer home that they were not making it like the original they turned the robot black. When they did it in the movie it felt forced and I felt like I was watching some reality show about fashion designers. The blue (chosen as he was a police officer) suit that they started with was good and was nicely done. It was not the original but it was close and it suited perfectly. The black suit looked awful and was seemingly pointless.
But it was a good action flick with lots of gunfire, explosions and novel ideas. Am I going to colour my Shadowrun or Traveller world with this version? Hell no. Am I going to see if I can source a version of the original Robocop on Blu-Ray and refresh my memory for adding it to those worlds? Hell yes! So I want to say this to those of you that have been holding off on watching this, watch it. Have a beer and some pretzels at hand and know that it will not destroy the original for you as they did not try to recreate it. It is a good way to kill a couple of hours and think “Yeah, that was OK” and it truly only has a couple of cringe-worthy moments in it. If you see it in a bargain bin at some stage, think to yourself “Would I buy that for a dollar?” and then walk away. Keep rolling.