Jose Padilha’s RoboCop remake is one of those movies that I tend to forget about. I forgot it was happening, forgot it was supposed to come out, forgot it’s been delayed a number of times. Every time a new clip or photo or poster comes out, I have to remind myself that this film actually exists and is happening. When I do remember it, the film feels like it’s looming off in the distance somewhere, not about to fall right in our laps. But it comes out February 12, which is right around the corner, and I should prepare myself for that. Just the other day, we got a new clip to pour over, and to augment that, we’ve got a brand spanking new TV spot.
This new video gives you a bare bones overview of the plot. There’s a half-man, half-machine cop who is the first of his kind unleashed on the crime-ridden streets of Detroit. On the surface he’s a force for good, but his creators may have had something else in mind when they made him, and whatever it is, he’s going to have to sort it out. In this case, sorting it out looks like it involves a great deal of motorcycle riding, numerous explosions, and more than a few bullets.
The most interesting thing about this commercial is listening to RoboCop (Joel Kinnaman, The Killing) talk. In Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original, the titular hero is rather tight-lipped. This incarnation is definitely more self-aware, more feeling, and generally more human than his predecessor. While I’m still not 100% sold on this remake—even if the movie is great I maintain that it’s wholly unnecessary—if this new version is going to stand on its own and differentiate itself from the source, this is the part that is going to do that. The surface story is pretty much the same—Omnicorp is evil, Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) gets blown to hell and reborn as RoboCop and has to save the day—and PG-13 violence isn’t going to hold a candle to the excessive brutality of the first. Do you think they’re going to run over a man being melted by toxic chemicals and present the splatter in its full glory? Me neither.
Early reviews of RoboCop have been surprisingly positive, but most of us have adopted a wait and see attitude. I’ll give it a fair shot, but I have some concerns over the slick, sleek appearance. I get that the technology will go that way, and I don’t have a problem with that. However, the first film is so grim and gritty, the world is so bleak—Detroit is practically a warzone in Verhoeven’s film—that automated officers make sense. Using drones, which OmniCorp manufactures, also makes sense, but from what we’ve seen of the world, it hasn’t looked bleak enough that this measures are necessary, or bad enough that the public would stand for martial law. But then again, these are questions we’ll have to see the finished movie to have answered.
I do have to wonder why this clip is called “Your Move” when he says “Dead or alive you’re coming with me?” Seems like they’re sending different messages.