Jose Padilha’s remake of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 tech-noir classic RoboCop is almost here. Next week we’ll learn whether or not this worth our time, or a huge waste and another toothless remake of a movie we love. With the release date fast approaching we’re getting a rush of new RoboCop propaganda, including two new behind the scenes featurettes that dig into the technical and ethical ideas from the new film, and a video that catalogs all the faults and flaws of the original outing.
Yahoo debuted this two part look at the technology of RoboCop called “Man and Machine.” As with most looks behind the curtain, these videos are a mixture of footage from the movie and interviews with key members of the cast and crew. In addition to Padilha, you hear from stars Joel Kinnaman, Abbie Cornish, Michael Keaton, and Jackie Earle Haley, as well as various producers and off-camera players.
This first installment takes a look at the technology of the film. If nothing else, this new RoboCop is trying a different focus than its predecessor, chiefly by attempting to embody the next evolutionary step of technology that is already in the works. In 2028, military contractor OmniCorp has the drone market all wrapped up, and is looking to expand into the domestic security market. Detroit has become a seething cesspool of violent crime, and offerings like ED-209 and RoboCop are the next progression of their automated drone technology. This film seeks to examine this movement, to look at what happens, on both a human and societal level, as a consequence of this disconnect between actions and their consequences.
Part two of “Man and Machine” looks at the moral questions these technological advances raise. We can put a man in a machine, but should we? What does that do to his mind and emotions? When you do this, who is in control? Is it the consciousness encased in metal, or the system embedded in the programming? In this case, Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) has the illusion of free will, but will that hold? This is going to be the real center of RoboCop, who wins out, the human or the technology. Who is in charge? Who is accountable?
With technology like the Mars rovers, which are allowed to maneuver and make decisions autonomously, humans are on the verge of becoming obsolete, and you can’t help but get a vague Terminator vibe from these features.
You’ll also notice that a dude named Wolfgang Fink interviewed here. I just wanted to point that out, because that is the most fantastic name I’ve heard all day.
The folks at Cinema Sins have been cranking out their sharp-tongued “Everything Wrong With…” videos for a good long while now, and it’s about damn time that they turned their attention to RoboCop. They do, of course, point out actual problems and mistakes in the original movie, for instance, they take note of continuity errors like a window that gets shot out, but is intact in the very next shot. More than anything, however, they call into question some of the poor decision making skills of many of the key characters. Like, why, when taking the ED-209 prototype into a boardroom, an environment presumably devoid of legitimate threats, they felt the need to load it up with live ammunition. It’s a pretty good time.
For good or ill, the new RoboCop arrives in theaters on Wednesday, February 12.