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Original Vs. Remake: RoboCop

The commenters agreed with the House in regard to our last Original Vs. Remake which had the House on Sorority Row besting its poorly conceived, but hot-chick-loaded remake. I liked seeing that many had actually heard of the original because it really is a piece of well-made 80's horror.

We are rolling out with a robotic theme for today's O vs. R, keeping up with the whole CHAPPIE vibe that's been flowing lately. And if somebody mentions the term "robot protector", you all know the very first film we should think of. I remember when there was a huge uproar over the classic '87 version being remade, however I finally did give the remake a shot and you know what? It's pretty damn good! Good enough to win today? Let's see... because the time has come for the O vs. R to take on RoboCop! Your move, creep.

Story
In a dystopic future, crime is running ragged, but technology is advancing. To fight for public safety, a new kind of hero is created... half man, half machine, ALL cop! Armed with the latest weaponry and computer processing, RoboCop hits the streets determined to take down bad guys and also punish those responsible for murdering his human self all amidst a backdrop of business corruption.
What's interesting about the remake is that they took some basic, obvious points from the original (killed officer turned into a robocop, corrupt businessman) and then went off and spun a very different and timely story. The result of Murphy becoming RoboCop now has possible political repercussions as well as ethical military and medical practices.
Special Effects
This film earns its R rating! The make-up and gore effects are beyond incredible! It seems almost nothing is sacred. The look of Alex Murphy once he's fully made into RoboCop is at once awesome and unsettling, but best of all, it's believable. The bloody squibs don't disappoint and the dude that gets doused in toxic waste, well, it is just epic in the grossest of ways. Sure, ED-209 looks a little fake in spots, but fantastic everywhere else.
As the dreaded PG-13 rating would indicate, there is not a great deal of blood in this film. This RoboCop takes out many perps with a stun gun, which is a little weak, but does fit in with the plot of the movie. At least we are treated to first rate robot and suit effects and some nifty computer graphic work. It's also unsettlingly cool seeing what is left of Alex Murphy once his robo-suit is removed.
Acting
This is Peter Weller's show all the way. He is just utterly awesome as both Alex Murphy and RoboCop, exuding all forms of bad-ass charm! He's backed up perfectly by Nancy Allen as well as an assortment of asshole bad guys that you really believe are assholes. Special mention to mean ol' "Clarence Boddicker' himself, Mr. Kurtwood Smith.
The remake is absolutely loaded with talent and man, does it ever show. Gary Oldman is in top form as the doctor responsible for creating the new RoboCop. Michael Keaton is perfect (as always) playing the head of OmniCorp. Joel Kinnaman is a little stiff at the start, but quickly settles into the more humanized version of RoboCop. And you can never go wrong with Jackie Earle Haley in a supporting role as a jerky militant.
Intensity
Oh hell yes, this film is filled with hardcore intense moments. Don't believe me? Try rewatching Murphy's death scene in execution style at the beginning. The high violence factor ups every action scene and presents consistent danger towards RoboCop even though he is seemingly invincible. It's a hell of a ride.
What the remake does so well is creating a very human sense around all the machinery of RoboCop. Hence, we are very invested in his and his family's well being. There's a particular tense scene at the beginning involving the military and suicide bombers that was rather unexpected for a PG-13 movie. Besides that, none of the bad guys come off as very threatening.
Hot Chicks
Even with short hair, 80's dream girl Nancy Allen still pulls off hot! And her tough cop routine also goes a long way in bringing about them feelings of amour! However, she is basically the only female in the movie. There is no other hotness to enjoy.
I only have two words for you: Abbie Cornish! This woman is stunning, even as a grieving wife and mother. She is just gorgeous and it shows every time she's onscreen. She's backed up by Dexter's Aimee Garcia as Gary Oldman's smart and sexy lab assistant.
Directing
I consider RoboCop to be Paul Verhoeven's masterpiece. The commentary on where society could be headed, the random, hilarious commercials, the question of how far we are willing to go to offer protection. It's all dynamite. Plus, his keen eye for gritty action while still inserting heart amidst all the chaos is a juggling act of brilliance.
I have to commend José Padilha on his work here with the remake. He had to deal with ornery fans of the original, a large budget, and a studio-forced PG-13 rating, yet somehow managed to deliver a smart, thought-provoking film that was in no way an exact copy of the original. There's a scene where RoboCop is training set to the Tin Man's song from Wizard of Oz that is just fantastic.
RoboCop (1987)
Alright, you all pretty much knew that the original RoboCop was going to take this. It's a damn classic in every sense. However, it's still kind of surprising that the remake was far from a piece of crap, PG-13 rating and all. If anything, I hope this Face-Off convinces some who may have been initially put off, to actually give the Joel Kinnaman-starrer a shot. The film clearly respects the original. But now, I need to know what YOU respect! What's your opinion on RoboCop and its remake. Fire them Beretta 93R bullets below! "Thank you for your cooperation." And if you have any flicks you'd like to see in this column, give me a shout at [email protected].

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