It's no secret that I can be a bit accepting of a lot of movies. Movies that others deem to be completely unwatchable are often movies that I will watch over and over and enjoy. It's important to know that going into any of my reviews. I look for a few things in every movie that I watch, and foremost among the things I look for, is "entertainment value." Does the movie hold my attention? Is it something that I would like to watch again? Or, do I find myself looking down at the clock every five minutes wondering how much longer this torture is going to continue before I will be able to go and pickle my brain in whatever alcohol I might have available to wash the atrocity from my mind?
Honestly, I ask myself those questions after every movie I watch.
Which brings us to Robocop. The original film was a definite product of the 80's. Released well into the summer of 87, this was a movie that there was no chance in hell that I would be allowed to watch while it was in the theater. This may or may not have something to do with the fact that when it was released, I was 5 years old... The original film was an interesting film, that stands to this day, as a fun, campy science fiction film. The special effects often were less than spectacular, and in many instances downright awful, but it was fun, and is still one of my fallback action flicks, if I need a good movie to kill some time.
The new Robocop, takes that same formula, and applies a more modern mindset on things. It turns the story into a commentary on the United States, and our paranoia. It taps into concepts of being monitored, loss of free will, and most glaringly obvious, our fear of drones on domestic soil. It even goes so far as to point out our own hypocrisy about not wanting them on our own soil, but applauding them on foreign soil. To top all of that off, it manages to feature Samuel L Jackson as a character that feels like a thinly-veiled jab at Bill O'Reilly.
The movie itself is a fun little jaunt, taking the familiar Robocop story, and bringing it into the modern age. The visuals are much more appealing aesthetically, without ever feeling like it is a blatantly a bad green screen effort. The action flows fairly naturally on the most part, with it only feeling like the viewer is being jostled around a little bit.
The thing I like about this version of Robocop over the original, is the humanizing elements added by giving Murphy a family, as opposed to a romantic interest/ partner. It grounds the character better than the original, and gives him something to lose, and something to give him a reason to be more than just a cop. That humanizing element made Murphy feel more than just a machine, and gave him more reason to be more than a machine.
The Samuel L. Jackson portions of the movie are often funny, and often serve to help break up the action. They further help to advance the story without adding too much of Mr. Jackson's trademark profanity.
The lack of profanity, is part of what is my biggest issue with the film. The original Robocop earned an R rating, while this one is saddled with a PG-13. This leads to a great deal of violence being hidden, or lacking in blood. Profanity is nearly absent, thus robbing Samuel L Jackson of some potentially scene-stealing moments. I believe, that with a hard R this movie could have been something great. Instead, it ends up being merely enjoyable, which in the end, isn't all that bad.
RECOMMENDATION: This is a fun action film, despite the PG-13 rating. IF you can forgive the lack of blood, and just enjoy it for what it is, I think you will have fun.
IS IT THEATER-WORTHY: It is the kind of big screen experience that I enjoy, and I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a break from the kid-friendly films and romantic fare that seems to be permeating the box office right now. Definitely plays well up on the big screen.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a movie that, many will likely think shouldn't have happened. However, I see it as a potential lead in to what could eventually be a decent new take on the franchise. Despite some small issues, it was enjoyable, and I look forward to it sitting on my shelf next to the original.
FINAL SCORE: 7.5 out of 10