Here’s the thing about the new RoboCop remake: more than a rehash of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original, this film is a retelling of RoboCop via a device used in another Verhoeven joint, Starship Troopers. Samuel L. Jackson pops up throughout as ultra-conservative talk show host Pat Novak. His broadcasts punctuate the narrative like the “Would You Like To Know More” segments in Troopers, and they function the same way. Director Jose Padilha (Elite Squad) tries for the same effect, but, like with the rest of the film, misses the mark.
Novak argues in favor squads of armed drones patrolling the streets in what amounts to a militarized fascism, much like the government in Troopers mimics that of Nazi Germany. The thing is, RoboCop doesn’t go far enough in that direction; super timid, it never pushes into the extremes that it needs to in order to get this point across. You know that there are people in the theaters nodding along, going, “the man has a point,” totally missing what the film is trying to get at.