Will 2014 be a good year for big-screen science fiction?
RoboCop (February 12)
Like it or not, the RoboCop remake is actually happening. Originally slated to hit theaters last August, director Jose Padilha’s (Elite Squad) update has been postponed and pushed back multiple times, finally landing in the notorious cinematic dead zone that is early February. While that doesn’t bode well, the studio claims the delays had nothing to do with the quality of the film, but that they needed the extra time for some final tweaks. Reactions to clips and trailers have been mixed at best. On the other hand, early responses from those few people who have actually seen the movie have been far more positive than most of us expected.
Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 RoboCop is an ultra-violent, neo-noir classic. Though the remake tells the same basic story — in the future, Detroit is infested with crime, and when a cop named Alex Murphy is almost killed in the line of duty, an evil corporation brings him back as a cybernetic crime-fighting machine — Padhilha and company, including star Joel Kinnaman (The Killing), are at least trying to do something different.
An audience-friendly PG-13 rating means the violence won’t reach anywhere near the same highs as the original, but they’ve changed the central character as well. In the original, RoboCop only had a vague idea of his life before, shown mostly in dreams and flashbacks. This time around, however, the hero is much more human and self-aware. He knows who he was, as well as who he is. If this new movie is going to distinguish itself and stand on its own merits, this is where it has to happen. – Brent
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