Sound Off: José Padilha's 'RoboCop' Remake - What Did You Think?
by Alex Billington
February 14, 2014
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? We've got the future under control. We do? Now in theaters everywhere is the remake of yet another 1980's classic, RoboCop. This new take on RoboCop stars Joel Kinnaman as Detroit's Alex Murphy, directed by Brazilian filmmaker José Padilha (Elite Squad). The impressive cast includes: Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams and Samuel L. Jackson. So is it any good? Does it desecrate the original? Is it one big pointless remake, or not? If you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on the RoboCop remake.
To fuel the fire, I have not yet seen the new RoboCop myself, as Sony chose not to screen it for me (I assume this post is why). Until I can see it and update this with my own thoughts, here is an excerpt from Jeremy's 7.5/10 review of the movie: "It is, at the very least, unexpected, and in a day and age where Hollywood remakes are perfectly content with playing paint-by-numbers, the RoboCop remake is attempting to show us something new. It doesn't exceed on brains and at times becomes messy in all the wrong ways, but there is much RoboCop has to offer to the action junky. You can't say the same for most of the rest of this franchise."
What did you think of José Padilha's RoboCop? An entertaining remake, or big waste of time?
We will remove any comments that indicate you have not seen the movie, as this area is meant to discuss the film only once you have seen it and can talk about your thoughts. Please keep the comments civilized!
Reader Feedback - 32 Comments
I had low expectations going in... I have been having a lot of issues with beloved 80's movies getting a makeover (Total Recall, Frightnight) but I gotta admit, I was really digging the direction that this movie took. For all intents and purposes, it was a brand new 'Robocop' movie, fresh on it's own, still being able to respect the original film. I MUST say though, Kinnaman was no Weller... (though i loved his interpretation of Murphy)...Keaton was no Cox.... (though again... love Keaton) ... and whoever the hell this dude was .. WAS NO KURTWOOD SMITH... who to me, sits right alongside Hans Gruber and Darth Vader as one of the greatest villains of all time. But this movie had 3 weapons of it's own... Sammy J, Jackie Earle..... and my God Gary frickin Oldman.
Duane on Feb 13, 2014
Remaking an 80's action film as a 2014 family drama is a bold choice. Unfortunately, it's not a good choice. It wasn't the absolute disaster everyone thought it would be, but instead it was even worse: mediocre and boring. Aside from one or two pieces of interesting imagery (brain, face, and lungs) there was really nothing memorable about the entire film.
Matt Stuertz on Feb 13, 2014
Hey Alex, where was the SoundOff for "I, Frankenstein"?? I saw the movie and was hoping to give some feedback for it but I recall never seeing an article for it.
JBrotsis on Feb 13, 2014
Feel free to SoundOff here as I haven't seen the movie and would be interested to see whether or not it's worth checking out.
TK on Feb 14, 2014
Afraid to watch it in case it turned out to be good is my theory... especially when one considers that you completely bashed this movie a year ago for no good reason! As it turns out, the movie is actually quite awesome... tough luck.
Kinks! on Feb 13, 2014
I think the fact that you had to pick the iconic classic coloring for your headline photo rather than the bland all-black look RoboCop wears for most of the film says all there needs to be said about this remake and the horrible decisions of its creators.
Tiberian_Fiend on Feb 13, 2014
I thought there was enough heart in this movie to carry it passed the mediocre remakes. I thought it was brave enough to try to carve away from the original rather then be an exact copy. To me these are two different machines that are incomparable. 80s frame of mind in terms of corporations have completely changed. There were some really nice touches that I must applaud Padhila for. Overall I'd give it the same score as Jeremy in his review. I really do hope people give it a shot rather then judging it by the trailer and to be honest I dont think this movie ever really had a chance considering everyone judged it before it even came out.
TK on Feb 13, 2014
A solid remake of the original. It is sure to appeal to action fans, especially those who aren't familiar with the original. It's got great special effects, great actors, and a bit of heart. That said, I really missed the over-the-top violence and villains of the original. Micheal Keaton was a good stand in for Ronnie Cox, but Patrick Garrow was a pale shadow of the gleefully malevolent Kurtwood Smith. And seeing the water balloon-like explosion of Paul McCrane's mutant in the original was way more visceral than the clinical exposure of what little of Murphy remains in the robotic shell (which is about as 'gory' as the movie gets). The best thing I can say about this movie is that it makes me want to watch the original again.
fazha on Feb 14, 2014
Am not going to sugarcoat the remake like everyone else is doing and to say it was great, when overall it wasn't at all. The movie was honestly a totally missed opportunity and a huge waste of great talent in my opinion. Oh yes it definitely has the acting to go with it and it definitely packs some nostalgic punch in some areas but overall it just felt mediocre like we have already seen all these elements before. It just strays into generic science fiction grounds so much. But the biggest waste of talent I found was Jose Padilha. Don't get me, I loved his previous films The Elite Squad series are my favorites but it just felt like if you got any other director to direct a remake to Robocop it would have turned out the same. It's sad the studios probably set heavy restrictions on him. Then the rating was the next big problem. It was a PG-13 movie screaming out it wanted to be Rated R but it couldn't. That's where it looses some of it's elements including the slight realism into the world of Alex Murphy. They shouldn't be afraid, they should not have to hold back at all. I don't don the original Robocop as a masterpiece but it was a classic sci-fi film of the 80s made for it's time. I still stand that yes a Robocop remake could be done if done right, but it just missed most of the mark. I do respect the film although for trying to give a much more serious and to the heart take to Robocop. You could see what it wanted to do clearly and how different it wanted to separate itself from the original. When instead it was just still in the shadows of it's big brother counterpart. There was nothing much memorable asides from the touch of the original theme song being added and a few so so moments (The silver suit looked great, until final insult to injury they made it black). I might give the remake a rewatch again but I highly doubt my opinions would change at all.
Damon King on Feb 14, 2014
The 3rd act is amazing! The movie dealt more with character rather than action. I liked it.
Jeremy Sheridan on Feb 15, 2014
Stupid movie....just like the original. Garbage for fat Americans
DasBrando on Feb 15, 2014
Paul Verhoeven did make a Hollywood movie, a slew of them, but Robocop at its heart is not your typical Hollywood film. Paul is from the Netherlands, and does not tell stories just for Americans. We may not even agree with his ideas, but Robocop although not real, does reflect(cartoon-like) society's violent nature. not just American culture. I don't want to go see this one, it probably is a stupid remake. I wish you could've used your opinion more constructively. It is probably a reflection of who you really are.
Random on Feb 15, 2014
drorez on Feb 16, 2014
LOL Agrees with Drorez.
Richard Abella on Feb 16, 2014
It blows my mind how much hatred this site showed towards this movie and how much you've chosen to cover it once it actually came out.
rolyjimenez on Feb 15, 2014
I went in expecting Hollywood sludge and came out liking it quite a lot. I think it takes the political edge of the original and updates it into something specifically applicable today. It was basically a sci-fi political thriller dressed up as an action movie. A lot of stuff in there about our media pundits, the sterilization and disconnect from our own wars, and the militarization of domestic security. The bottom line is, I thought the movie was really quite brave to go into those things when it could have just made some crap about a cyborg cop fighting a company with no particular motivation. People could argue that the message is too blunt or preachy, but since no one's really mentioned it here, it must have been subtle enough. And Gary Oldman stole the show.
Boiler Bro Joe on Feb 15, 2014
I thought it was really fun. I think it was just a bit less successful than DREDD. Both films went into different territories than their source material, but gave nice little homages to fans and nostalgic 30 somethings. I happened to watch in Korea, and it was hilarious seeing people's reactions to the "de-casement" scene. Overall, a very enjoyable surprise and fun film for action lovers. P.S. In the last scene with Jackson, was the U.S. version uncensored? Just curious.
DAVIDPD on Feb 15, 2014
It wasn't uncensored. Saw it tonight.
JBrotsis on Feb 16, 2014
Remakes always have an uphill battle in the eyes of those (primarily fanboys) who hold the original films as Holy Grails that must go untouched or unscathed or they may tarnish the reputation of said original film. Well Robocop dared to be different, it dared to go into a direction which updated its core elements for the society of today. Don't get me wrong I had my fair share of doubts going into the theater, but all were put to rest when I realized that this was going to be much different than the Original. The story this time around focuses on the human element of the "Robocop," his harsh realities he has to deal with being a man inside of a machine. The writers chose to allow the audiences to relate with Alex Murphy on a human level and empathize with his situation, and that made the story all the more engaging. Jose Padillah did an excellent job directing the action scenes, the shaky camera work wasn't "Cloverfield" or his break out films "Elite squad" shaky, but it did immerse you in the action without distracting you. The film definitely cried out for an R rating but the PG-13 pushed the limits on being PG-13 (spoilers ahead) from the Lung, and Brain scenes to the, car bomb explosions to the finale on the helipad. Overall I enjoyed this film quite a lot and would rate it as an 8.5/10 and would welcome a sequel.
cg on Feb 16, 2014
I liked the sci fi component, I liked the new suit look, and I liked the actors, but overall thought it was a very mediocre movie. I didn't like the ending at all; both parts. Thought the climax was stale and kept feeling like something big was going to happen in the end, and it never came. Like "just wait for....wait for it..the movie's over". Thought Dredd and Total Recall's remakes were much better in comparison.
JBrotsis on Feb 16, 2014
Dredd yes.. Total recall no
cg on Feb 16, 2014
total recall better????????????? Judge dredd was awesome....
Avi on Feb 17, 2014
I tought that this is going to be bigges crap I have seen this year. Hated the hole consept before I saw it. But I have to admit that it turned out much much better, it turned out to be pretty good action movie. Actors do their parts fine enough for a action movie. Loved how that whole Samuel Jackson tv-show was so cheesy, that it was nodding to the eighties quite nicely. I did't however like that last act, it felt like it was a bit rushed and was missing something. And robocop was moving way too wast and agile, comparing that his steps sounded like he was weighting same as a small car. Robocop was bad-ass then, and is bad-ass enough, now.
ProjectionistHP on Feb 16, 2014
is it me, or it completely ludicris that we argue over a movie remake that millions are spent on to entertain us while people starve or don't have running water???
wonderman on Feb 16, 2014
Sounds like a conversation to have somewhere else. Seems natural to me to discuss and argue over movies on a site dedicated to the art of film making.
Richard Abella on Feb 16, 2014
you are completely correct and the reason i am here is because i love film and am in film school. I don't really want to start a discussion beyond this article, just wanted to pose a rhetorical comment as it it occurred to me....
wonderman on Feb 17, 2014
Just got back from seeing it, It was pretty good, It was better then I expected. 🙂
TigerClaw305 on Feb 16, 2014
Jules Winnfield is back
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kandy830 on Feb 17, 2014
I thought it was good, it felt more like Metal Gear Solid minus the Metal Gear just Solid Tech, so it'll be fun to see if they can go back to the crazy Boss's and fight scenes, but there was little action more sci-fi than scifi action, still fun watch!
shane willett on Feb 17, 2014
It was entertaining to watch. However it just wasnt good enough to surpass the greatness of the original which is hard to do. But it was pretty cool to see Robocop done with todays technology.
Rock n Rollllll on Feb 24, 2014
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