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The F*ckin Black Sheep: Robocop (2014)

03.19.2015by: Ryan Doom

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Robocop (2014)
Directed by Jose Padilha

"​​Robocop only seems more relevant today"

So it turns out film fans, especially genre nuts, don’t really dig remakes, reboots, reimaginations, or however producers want to label the product. As annoying as that can be, we often forget about the business of Hollywood. If the studios own characters or a property, they’re gonna try to find a way to make money. Can’t blame them. It’s business. Why let a title just sit or keep re-releasing the same Blu Ray (calling it a new edition) year after year if they can make a new chapter and more money?  

Take 2014’s Robocop for example. People bitched about a new version, as if it would wipe away Paul Verhoeven’s work and flush childhood memories down the shitter. Who gives a f*ck if they make another? They’ve already made two sequels, a TV show, and an animated series. Let's face it, if the movie is good, fans will see it.  If done right with talented folks, it’ll only enhance the property.  And that’s what we have with Robocop.

Is this updated version better than 1987’s? Nope. Not even close. Is it better than all the sequels? Yeah, it is. The special effects are better. The technology is better. The action is better. Problems are different now, meaning the movie has something new to say about the world.  Robocop only seems more relevant today with our over-dependence of technology.

Smartly, the studio hired a good director in Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) and gave us a hellva cast: Nick Fury/Sam Jackson (as a sleazy TV host), Omar/Michael K. Williams (as Murphy's partner), Rorschach/Jackie Earle Haley (as a gun loving asshole,) Sweet Pea/Abbie Cornish (Mrs. Murphy) Evil Genius/Gary Oldman (as a scientist), and Batman/Michael Keaton (as Dick Jones…but not Dick Jones). Now 1987 had Peter Weller, who was never a huge star, and in his place comes a TV star...that guy from The Killing (Joel Kinnaman). He's pretty good, keeping the humanity in the character, but never really standing out. (By the way, Keaton and J.E. Haley are my standouts). 

As for the plot, we still have two cops Murphy and Lewis (now a dude), but now they end up getting too deep undercover with some bad people. Eventually, Murphy gets blowup with a car bomb, leaving him dead. Well, almost. His life is spared when he becomes mostly machine minus his head and a few other body parts. He then becomes a pawn of OmniCorp as they want to mass produce Robocops for billions. 

Most reboots attempt to distance themselves from the original, even ditching memorable elements. The newest edition doesn’t stray too far from the original. while still doing its own thing. For starters, it keeps that booming, overzealous score for the opening but then goes elsewhere. In place of an overrun, cash strapped futuristic crappy Detroit, we have a futuristic Detroit that frankly looks better off than the one existing today. Sure, things are bad, but nowhere as bad as 1987 (which takes away from the film's power). 

This Robocop also surrounds Murphy with more “good” people. For one we have his wife around, although I don’t think she’s needed. I liked the loneliness of Murphy in the original film, where his only connection came through his partner. But here, Murphy remembers too many events and people. It's a major flaw. The film might lack the same biting satire, I do like Sam Jackson's Pat Novak TV commentator who loves  doing whatever he’s told (he even suggests that Congress has become pro-crime for not supporting Robocop). 

It's too bad Robocop didn't do what it should've at the box office. It would have been fun to see more adventures of the Tin Man with a fast shooting gun. This might not be the original, but it sure didn't bitch slap it either. 

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4:26AM on 03/20/2015
As a standalone movie, it's actually a solid action sci-fi movie with great cast. However, as a remake, it's an average remake that could have been better. Nevertheless, this Robocop remake can stand on its own two feet.
As a standalone movie, it's actually a solid action sci-fi movie with great cast. However, as a remake, it's an average remake that could have been better. Nevertheless, this Robocop remake can stand on its own two feet.
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10:18PM on 03/19/2015
I enjoyed this movie way more than I expected. Could it have been better? Yes. In my opinion the studio had too much influence when it came to the rating. Do I think that the story was lacking because of the lower rating? Not necessarily. The fact that Robocop used a non lethal weapon is actually more in line with the sensibilities of today's general populace. Riots break out if a person is shot by the police now so what do you think would happen if the Detroit Police Department put a cyborg on
I enjoyed this movie way more than I expected. Could it have been better? Yes. In my opinion the studio had too much influence when it came to the rating. Do I think that the story was lacking because of the lower rating? Not necessarily. The fact that Robocop used a non lethal weapon is actually more in line with the sensibilities of today's general populace. Riots break out if a person is shot by the police now so what do you think would happen if the Detroit Police Department put a cyborg on the streets and it started shooting everyone. They wouldn't call Robocop a hero. They would say that he was abusing his power and that he needs to be pulled of the street and decommissioned. In my opinion the fact that they let him keep his memories and allowed him to have moments with his wife and son added a new depth to the character. In the original OCP wiped his memory and he would get flashes. It gave him a sense of isolation and tormented him with these flashes that he struggled to understand. In the remake his wife had to decide to let them make him that. That creates a whole new dynamic between Murphy and his wife that could have been explored in sequels. The fact that he has his memories also creates a different type of mental torture for Murphy because he can remember his family and he can visit his family but he can never again be the father or husband that he once was and that is something that the entire family would gradually have to come to terms with. It would also, in a way, make him resent what he has become which could cause serious issues down the road. I think allowing him those few but important moments with his family really elevated the mental and emotional torture and set up what could have been a very interesting character arc during a series of films. Overall I enjoyed the film and would love to see a sequel. The fact that there is a remake doesn't magically make the original disappear. I really enjoy the original as well but I enjoy it differently than the remake.
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5:57PM on 03/19/2015
I think they should have concentrated on Sam Jackson's Fox News parody, where they make a OCP controlled Robocop a hero, until he breaks free from control, then Robocop gets demonized by Jackson.

The movie itself was a toothless PG-13 actioner with some good actors. Watchable, but can be easily ignored.
I think they should have concentrated on Sam Jackson's Fox News parody, where they make a OCP controlled Robocop a hero, until he breaks free from control, then Robocop gets demonized by Jackson.

The movie itself was a toothless PG-13 actioner with some good actors. Watchable, but can be easily ignored.
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5:09PM on 03/19/2015
People are gonna hate just because its a remake of a classic film. But I actually dug it. I went in ready to shit on it and came out actually quite satisfied with it. If you go in comparing it to the original then of course the OG wins every time, but as a standalone film, the reboot is pretty damn enjoyable. one of the better remakes of recent years.
People are gonna hate just because its a remake of a classic film. But I actually dug it. I went in ready to shit on it and came out actually quite satisfied with it. If you go in comparing it to the original then of course the OG wins every time, but as a standalone film, the reboot is pretty damn enjoyable. one of the better remakes of recent years.
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2:40PM on 03/19/2015
Movie sucked save one scene, the "Show Me" scene where he sees what is truly left of him, that was the only worthwhile moment in the entire movie. And man was that a powerful kick in the nuts. Aside from that this movie completely missed the point of the original. Robocop is a violent, blood soaked, killing machine. He was created to match the violence that was happening in his city all around him. Not as some political commercial ploy so he could "shake hands" lol. The special effects were
Movie sucked save one scene, the "Show Me" scene where he sees what is truly left of him, that was the only worthwhile moment in the entire movie. And man was that a powerful kick in the nuts. Aside from that this movie completely missed the point of the original. Robocop is a violent, blood soaked, killing machine. He was created to match the violence that was happening in his city all around him. Not as some political commercial ploy so he could "shake hands" lol. The special effects were good, but thats not enough to make me care about a movie anymore especially when tv shows effects are coming close to matching movie quality. And wtf why didn't they at least leave him silver looking, like you know ROBOCOP, instead of spray painting him black and making him look like a GI Joe exosuit ugh. I knew as soons as they went for a PG13 his would be shit because it would be forsaking the tone of the original, which WAS its narrative, for the teenie bopper video game generation. Thankfully people saw through that and it didn't do well.
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1:49PM on 03/19/2015
Bull shit. It completely missed the point of the original. It's just a ramped up remake that doesn't have the soul or the heart of Verhoeven’s version. It's just a fucking video game.
Bull shit. It completely missed the point of the original. It's just a ramped up remake that doesn't have the soul or the heart of Verhoeven’s version. It's just a fucking video game.
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11:04AM on 03/19/2015
I actually thought this was a pretty solid film and that Kinnaman made for an awesome Robocop. Would have liked to have seen a sequel.

Definitely doesen't deserve the hate it gets.
I actually thought this was a pretty solid film and that Kinnaman made for an awesome Robocop. Would have liked to have seen a sequel.

Definitely doesen't deserve the hate it gets.
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