Saturday, March 21, 2015


What makes a movie smart?  What qualities must a film have to be considered intelligent?  Good acting?  Terrific cinematography?  Big name actors?  Perfect directing? Complex stories and characters?   I will tell you.  It is knowing what kind of movie you are making.  That is the first thing that must be established before writing your script.  ROBOCOP 2014 doesn't know what kind of movie it wants to be.  It doesn't understand what we the people for the most part want to see in a movie about a cop that was turned into a robot.  ROBO2014 wants to be a personal drama about a man losing his body and humanity while obligingly putting safe and slick action pieces that is also punctuated with corporate satire.  The problem is that the film never finds the right mix or balance.  The result is a boring, forgettable bland experience which is the ultimate crime for a film.

ROBOCOP 2014 tells the story about a corporate big wig played by Michael Keaton who wants Congress to pass a repeal of a law that prevents robots from policing the country.  The rest of the world allows it which makes him already rich but I guess he wants America to allow it so he can make a little more money.  He employs a scientist to create a robot that is part man to be a loop hole to the law that will lead Congress to rethink it's stand on the whole robot policing the world issue.  Excited yet?  Then this cop who everyone keeps calling  "Murphy" shows up and starts telling his police Captain this long back story about him and his partner busting bad guys and getting into a gun fight to keep the audience interested in the film.  He gets blown up in a car explosion reminiscent of the first PUNISHER film starring Dolph Lundgren and then turned into a robot.  The rest of the film is about Murphy dealing with being a robot and connecting with his family and eventually solving his own attempted murder.  After the main bad guys are dead the film still has 30 minutes left so Michael Keaton has to do something bad enough to justify Robocop going after him and killing him so there can be more action and stuff happening.  In the end Robocop lives and gets to be a cop and spend time with his family.  A perfect happy safe non challenging PG-13 ending the kids will enjoy.

This is a long film.  It tries to be smart but ends up being stupid by cramming many different stories in an attempt to hit all the complex concepts of the original film.  We are left with the feeling that we are not watching a movie made for the theater but a pilot to a t.v. show that was made in the mid 90's.  The whole narrative is a wet noodle, limp and derivative.  The rhythm never develops.  Clumsy scene after boring scene follow one after another taking great pains to explain everything.  We have to explain the back story of Murphy to fit him into the larger story of a corporation trying explain why they need to get robots to police the U.S.  We are constantly told that Murphy is part robot and he has his own will and then the movie becomes about  the scientist Gary Oldman taking away his will for a short time and feeling bad about it.  So what?  Who cares?  This is not what we want to see.  We want to see a clever shoot'em up.  It is that simple.

The first ROBOCOP was a revenge film.  It was about Alex Murphy regaining his humanity as he tracked down the bad guys that murdered him which led to him being recreated as a cyborg.  The film has a sharp wit that is never heavy handed and never slows down to explain itself.  The film never compromises with it's depiction of violence nor bogs down into the mire of showing his family being sad and going around making scenes uninteresting.  The original ROBOCOP is impossible to forget making it an iconic film of the 80's.  Who is going to forget toxic waste guy who explodes into gory wet pieces when hit by a car.  That guy haunts me even into my thirties.  The movie filled the screen with bad guys who are more entertaining and interesting than a mother and kid and scientists and boring corporate suits.

Why bother making a sequel if you are not going to out do the first?  The horrible realization is that this is a film made only to cash in on the name recognition.  ROBO2014 is nothing new.  The new Robocop design looks generic and over used from all the soldiers who have appeared in all first person shooter video games made in the last ten years.  Some of the over view city shots with drones flying in the sky look heavily inspired by the recently released much superior DREDD film.  Maybe if you are new to film and was just born in the last 10 years the new ROBOCOP might hold some interest if you can get by all the boring dialogue and miss handled action scenes that fail in every way to excite..

ROBOCOP 2014 serves as a foreboding premonition of things to come.  The makers didn't understand ROBOCOP.  Why would Robocop have one single human hand?  To show that he was more human?  That is what I would consider and rather large chink in his armor.  I hope a bunch of soldiers and robots don't shoot thousands of bullets at him all at once.  Oh, wait!  They did!  I guess we just have to assume that they didn't shoot his detached human hand somehow.  Do you think the makers of THE CROW remake know what kind of film the original was?  It was a Hong Kong style revenge action movie in case you were wondering.  They put an action star in the lead role by the name of Brandon Lee.  Have they done that with the remake?  Nope.  Good luck with that one.  I am just going to predict right now that the CROW remake is going to suck and be sloppy with it's story and concepts similar to ROBOCOP 2014 or that LONE RANGER movie.  We will have to wait and see or not see which is what I might do.