We’ve been following the Robocop remake for a while here at GFR, first with bitter cynicism, but lately with growing interest. Brazilian director José Padhila clearly has a vision for the film that will set it apart from the ’80s satire of Verhoeven’s original film. The casting rumors were fascinating, encompassing names like Russell Crowe and Michael Fassbender before finally settling on Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman, best known stateside for his role in AMC’s regrettable but well-acted crime series, The Killing. Now we finally know when we’ll get to see whether this Robocop remake is a worthwhile reimagining or an unfortunate train wreck. Schedule updates over at Box Office Mojo have pinned the new Robocop down to an August 9, 2013 release date.
Skeptical though I remain, Sony seems to be handling this remake smartly so far. They’ve found a director who has a different take on the material, and assigned writers who aren’t the usual blockbuster go-to guys (writer Nick Schenk is best known for the Clint Eastwood angry-old-man flick Gran Turino). As Katey pointed out over at our sister site, Cinema Blend, the late-summer date is smart, since it’ll get them clear of potential mega-hits such as Man of Steel and the Tom Cruise SF flick Oblivion. And Joel Kinnaman is about as far from your average action hero as you can get without casting Woody Allen. He is, however, a solid actor, and original Robocop Peter Weller proved that this type of story doesn’t need a slab of beefcake in the lead role; in fact, it’s much more effective if the lead character is not physically imposing before his cyborg makeover, because that makes the transition to killing machine that much more startling.
I won’t be surprised if the Robocop remake ultimately underwhelms, but for the time being, at least, they’ve got my attention. Whether they can hang onto it until August 9, 2013, remains to be seen.