In today’s installment of Worth It? I venture into the world of science fiction to check out the recent remake of cult classic Robocop. This 2014 film was supposed to be the start of a new franchise but with a mediocre box office and less than favorable critical reviews it looks like those plans have been scrapped. Despite all that the new Robocop does have its fans and a pretty talented cast that includes Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, and Michael K. Williams so I figured I’d give it a go.
To be honest I was pleasantly surprised to find out the movie opens with good old Samuel L. Jackson as a fake media personality blowhard giving the audience all the exposition it could possibly need via in your face talking head. Jackson goes live to his intrepid reporter for a special report from Tehran where apparently the US has conquered/liberated/nation built Iran using military robots. The report is interrupted when suicide bombers attack and are put down with overwhelming force by these robot forces who in the process kill a young child holding a knife.
And then we never talk about that any of that again. As we just skip to a “this is so great. Why don’t we do this in America?” argument that seems to be the core conflict of the movie robots are bad because they lack emotion humans are cool because we have “souls” or whatever.
Sorry let me stop for a minute. As I type this I realize that I’m starting to beat up on this movie and that wasn’t my intent. The first hour of this movie is actually really good. And then it just spirals away from the screenwriters which now that I’ve gone and had a look at their imdb pages makes sense. In the end Robocop doesn’t know what its endgame is. Is it social commentary? A gritty hard sci-fi crime drama? Is Robocop supposed to take down the weapons/drug dealer who tried to kill him, the corrupt cops who set him up, or the corrupt corporation who all seemed like not totally awful people until the third act kind of made them all assholes for no discernable reason other than it’s the 21st century and we all know corporations are evil. Really in the end I’m not even sure I’m clear on which kind of cop the movie thinks is better, man or machine. I know Michael K. Williams gets shot a lot and Omar wouldn’t be down with that shit but other than that not totally sure what my takeaway is supposed to be.
That being said it’s a Sci-Fi action film and the effects and action sequences are really, really cool and a lot of fun to watch. So down to the big question is this new Robocop worth it? I think if you’re easily frustrated by plot holes or a lack of character development you should skip this but if you’re the kind of person who just wants to sit back, zone out, and watch shit blow up then you’re probably going to enjoy this one.
Worth it? Barely.