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Paul Verhoeven reveals what he thinks of the remake of Robocop

09.13.2016

Paul Verhoeven Robocop

For a good decade, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven busted out a series of over the top and highly entertaining movies in America before heading back to the Netherlands. He's been missed, but remakes of his movies have kept those properties alive...somewhat. While promoting ELLE at the Toronto International Film Festival, Paul Verhoeven discussed several of those remakes with Collider, particularly José Padilha's remake of ROBOCOP, and what important element they neglected to include.

Somehow they seem to think that the lightness of say Total Recall and Robocop is a hindrance. So they take these somewhat absurd stories and make them much too serious. I think that is a mistake. Especially in Robocop when he awakens they gave him the same brain. He’s a horribly injured and amputated victim, which is horrifying and tragic from the very beginning. So we didn’t do that in Robocop. His brain is gone and he has only flashes of memory and needs to go to a computer to find out who he even is. I think by not having a robot brain, you make the movie much heavier and I don’t think that helps the movie in anyway. It becomes more silly or absurd, but in the wrong way. Both those movies needed the distance of satire or comedy to situate it for audiences. Playing it straight without any humour is a problem and not an improvement.

While it wasn't necessarily the only problem which the ROBOCOP remake suffered from, a bit of humour would have definitely helped. The remake wasn't the disaster I was anticipating it would be, but it also didn't do anything to set itself apart from the endless slew of remakes which hit us over the head each year; plus, following up a film like the original ROBOCOP is a tall order for anyone. It's been over fifteen years since his last American production, but I'd love to see Verhoeven tackle another big crazy sci-fi adventure. Paul Verhoeven's latest, ELLE, will be released on November 11, 2016 but you can read a review from our own Chris Bumbray right here!

Let us know your favourite Paul Verhoeven flick in the comments!

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Source: Collider

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2:41PM on 09/15/2016
The Robocop sequel was pretty good. Really liked where they were going with the robot vs humanity angle. Loved the tease how Robocop with his visor on was a pure robot. And then it all went south when they left all the interesting things behind and copied the original. What a waste.
The Robocop sequel was pretty good. Really liked where they were going with the robot vs humanity angle. Loved the tease how Robocop with his visor on was a pure robot. And then it all went south when they left all the interesting things behind and copied the original. What a waste.
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3:24AM on 09/15/2016
RoboCRAP(2014) was another pointless remake. I forget this trash was even made. That's how forgettable it was.
RoboCRAP(2014) was another pointless remake. I forget this trash was even made. That's how forgettable it was.
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7:31PM on 09/14/2016
Verhoven makes a really good point, because if the movie is *just* supposed to be about humanity vs fully robotic drones, it's simply not Robocop. ED-209 isn't only not the villain of the original, it's not even the ultimate right-hand man of the villain. If you want to make that story, don't fuckin make it Robocop, y'know?
Verhoven makes a really good point, because if the movie is *just* supposed to be about humanity vs fully robotic drones, it's simply not Robocop. ED-209 isn't only not the villain of the original, it's not even the ultimate right-hand man of the villain. If you want to make that story, don't fuckin make it Robocop, y'know?
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1:16PM on 09/14/2016
I enjoyed elements of the remake. I really dug him trying to solve his own murder. I didn't care for the villains including Michael Keaton. Humanizing him with his wife and kid was different although I feel more sympathy from how it was handled in the original film. I liked when they took him apart to show he's a head and torso and one hand. I also would have preferred just 1 ED-209 rather than a big battle.
The movie certainly has flaws but I can enjoy certain moments and skip the garbage.
I enjoyed elements of the remake. I really dug him trying to solve his own murder. I didn't care for the villains including Michael Keaton. Humanizing him with his wife and kid was different although I feel more sympathy from how it was handled in the original film. I liked when they took him apart to show he's a head and torso and one hand. I also would have preferred just 1 ED-209 rather than a big battle.
The movie certainly has flaws but I can enjoy certain moments and skip the garbage.
Of all the remakes out there, imo, this one has been so far the one I liked the most. Doesn't mean it's a fantastic movie, but better than say Total Recall or Poltergeist etc. In my opinion anyway.
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8:33AM on 09/14/2016
One of the oddest choices they made with the remake were the decisions made by OCP with regards to keeping his organic hand - I get that they wanted to humanise the cyborg to get around the whole 'drones with guns' issue, but that seems more of a liability than anything. I really hoped they'd do the "lose the hand" line like in Verhoeven's film - that really sold that the corporation just didn't care about who the raw materials were. The original Robocop is one of my favourite films - period,
One of the oddest choices they made with the remake were the decisions made by OCP with regards to keeping his organic hand - I get that they wanted to humanise the cyborg to get around the whole 'drones with guns' issue, but that seems more of a liability than anything. I really hoped they'd do the "lose the hand" line like in Verhoeven's film - that really sold that the corporation just didn't care about who the raw materials were. The original Robocop is one of my favourite films - period, and I love Verhoeven's classic 90s action movies. The remake just didn't convey the kind of crumbling society that warranted the implementation of armoured robotic policemen. There was nothing on the level of Bodicker's gang from the original. That's not to say I hated the remake - it was okay, but the character of Robocop offers the opportunity to say some really important things about an individual's humanity, and the original just did that so much better. For the record, I love Robocop 2 as well. Some brilliant stop-motion and gore effects in both films.
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7:48AM on 09/14/2016
I get what he's saying. At least he was a class act in his comment and didn't tear it to shreds. Seems like an honest, calm response. The man's a legend. You can't replicate his work. At least, no one has come close yet.
I get what he's saying. At least he was a class act in his comment and didn't tear it to shreds. Seems like an honest, calm response. The man's a legend. You can't replicate his work. At least, no one has come close yet.
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2:15AM on 09/14/2016

Verhoeven may be out of touch with North American audiences

I thoroughly enjoyed both remakes (Total Recall and Robocop). As a big fan of the originals, my expectations of the remakes were very low. I was happily surprised at how ell the subject matters were dealt with, having enough changes to make them interesting and engaging as stand-alone films. The lack of "camp" was also greatly appreciated as I believe audiences have mature quite a bit since the 1980s... a mistake that Lucas made with his prequel movies that literally ruined many childhood
I thoroughly enjoyed both remakes (Total Recall and Robocop). As a big fan of the originals, my expectations of the remakes were very low. I was happily surprised at how ell the subject matters were dealt with, having enough changes to make them interesting and engaging as stand-alone films. The lack of "camp" was also greatly appreciated as I believe audiences have mature quite a bit since the 1980s... a mistake that Lucas made with his prequel movies that literally ruined many childhood memories. I think Verhoeven may be a little out of touch with modern North American audiences. Which is probably why he hasn't produced anything here for quite some time.
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9:35AM on 09/14/2016
You're right, the the North American audience is too mature for fun. Just look at Marvel, the camp factor in those films is really hurting them.
You're right, the the North American audience is too mature for fun. Just look at Marvel, the camp factor in those films is really hurting them.
11:25AM on 09/14/2016
Hey Dr. You're missing the point. I agree that Marvel has had great success with their formula, but you can hardly compare Verhoeven's satirical camp to what Marvel is currently putting out. I was simply implying that Verhoeven was incorrect in his statement that serious subject matter needs to have a "lightness" to it to be appreciated. Some of us can handle the adult themes without having to be reassured with satire and one liners that what we are watching is "not real". Besides, Marvel
Hey Dr. You're missing the point. I agree that Marvel has had great success with their formula, but you can hardly compare Verhoeven's satirical camp to what Marvel is currently putting out. I was simply implying that Verhoeven was incorrect in his statement that serious subject matter needs to have a "lightness" to it to be appreciated. Some of us can handle the adult themes without having to be reassured with satire and one liners that what we are watching is "not real". Besides, Marvel doesn't make grown up movies. They make kids movies that adults can appreciate. That's their success. And just because a lot of people go see a movie doesn't mean it's good. It just means that a lot of people can relate to it.
12:23AM on 09/14/2016
I lost all care for the remake when they blew him up with a car bomb. I walked out of the theater and I have never seen the rest of the movie. I get it was PG-13, but still, they could've done something a heck of a lot better.

Not even Michael Keaton could save the movie for me and he is one of my favorite actors of all time.
I lost all care for the remake when they blew him up with a car bomb. I walked out of the theater and I have never seen the rest of the movie. I get it was PG-13, but still, they could've done something a heck of a lot better.

Not even Michael Keaton could save the movie for me and he is one of my favorite actors of all time.
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4:00AM on 09/14/2016
The reason Verhoeven stopped working in Hollywood was because he became disgusted by how difficult it was to make films that fit his vision.
The reason Verhoeven stopped working in Hollywood was because he became disgusted by how difficult it was to make films that fit his vision.
4:01AM on 09/14/2016
Oops, sorry. This posted to the wrong comment. My bad.
Oops, sorry. This posted to the wrong comment. My bad.
11:56PM on 09/13/2016
I actually like the fact that in the remake Murphy's brain and memory are still intact and that he is aware of what's going on. That differentiate a bit from the original movie and not following the same blueprint entirely.
I actually like the fact that in the remake Murphy's brain and memory are still intact and that he is aware of what's going on. That differentiate a bit from the original movie and not following the same blueprint entirely.
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11:48PM on 09/13/2016
obviously Mr. Verhoeven is entitled to his opinion, but I enjoyed the remake. I thought it gave a good nod to the original, and went it's own way from there. I'd welcome a sequel!
obviously Mr. Verhoeven is entitled to his opinion, but I enjoyed the remake. I thought it gave a good nod to the original, and went it's own way from there. I'd welcome a sequel!
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9:50PM on 09/13/2016

Hmm

Don't think he actually saw the remake. There was plenty of humour in the form of Samuel L. Jackson. I liked the remake, it didn't copy the original and did its own vibe and thing. My issue with it though was the lack of violence. It needed the same violence level as the original. "Detroit" was much too clean and pristine and not the bankrupt dystopia it should have been.
Don't think he actually saw the remake. There was plenty of humour in the form of Samuel L. Jackson. I liked the remake, it didn't copy the original and did its own vibe and thing. My issue with it though was the lack of violence. It needed the same violence level as the original. "Detroit" was much too clean and pristine and not the bankrupt dystopia it should have been.
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12:22AM on 09/14/2016
There's a glaring spelling issue here. You typed "the bankrupt dystopia it should have been", however it's actually spelled, "the bankrupt dystopia it is".
There's a glaring spelling issue here. You typed "the bankrupt dystopia it should have been", however it's actually spelled, "the bankrupt dystopia it is".
9:50PM on 09/13/2016
That's the issue. Playing an over the top premise straight hinders any entertainment and comes across as dull. Also making them PG-13 makes it even worse. They weren't meant for kiddies.
That's the issue. Playing an over the top premise straight hinders any entertainment and comes across as dull. Also making them PG-13 makes it even worse. They weren't meant for kiddies.
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9:44PM on 09/13/2016
Yep. He hits the nail on the perfectly.
Yep. He hits the nail on the perfectly.
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8:15PM on 09/13/2016
It was a fun film and I give them credit for trying, but I just think it's difficult in general to remake any film that is as classic as the original Robocop.
It was a fun film and I give them credit for trying, but I just think it's difficult in general to remake any film that is as classic as the original Robocop.
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8:39PM on 09/13/2016
Not as fun as Green Lantern though.
Not as fun as Green Lantern though.
9:48PM on 09/13/2016
You got that right.
You got that right.
3:37AM on 09/14/2016
Just a shame it isn't starting one of the ten actors you suggest for everything.
Just a shame it isn't starting one of the ten actors you suggest for everything.
2:46PM on 09/14/2016
I'd like to see you list those ten actors I'm always suggesting.
I'd like to see you list those ten actors I'm always suggesting.
8:09PM on 09/13/2016

YES!

The satire is what made these movies great. I am afraid that this is what is going to happen with the Toxic Avenger reboot. It will be darkly serious and have none of the playfulness of the original.
The satire is what made these movies great. I am afraid that this is what is going to happen with the Toxic Avenger reboot. It will be darkly serious and have none of the playfulness of the original.
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8:01PM on 09/13/2016
You know, I can respect what the remake was trying to do. Making a more introspective sci-fi film on the concept, instead of the violent comic book tone of the original. However, the remake was still a huge disappointment and that black costume sucked. The Total Recall remake was even worse.
You know, I can respect what the remake was trying to do. Making a more introspective sci-fi film on the concept, instead of the violent comic book tone of the original. However, the remake was still a huge disappointment and that black costume sucked. The Total Recall remake was even worse.
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7:57PM on 09/13/2016
I haven't seen the remake yet; but that was very well said by Verhoeven. I get it.
I haven't seen the remake yet; but that was very well said by Verhoeven. I get it.
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7:56PM on 09/13/2016
He nailed it.
He nailed it.
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7:47PM on 09/13/2016

you know what I think of the remake

It was a fuckin waste of time and money a real piece of shit along with that shitty god awful total recall. Both were some the lamest attempts at remakes ever.
It was a fuckin waste of time and money a real piece of shit along with that shitty god awful total recall. Both were some the lamest attempts at remakes ever.
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