After delays, angry fans of the original, and some promos that left us cringing in fear for what is in store for us, Jose Padilha’s RoboCop remake is almost here. With less than two weeks to go before we find out if this is a worthwhile revisiting of a modern classic or a complete pile of garbage, Sony has released another two TV spots, one domestic, one international.
This first new video definitely wants to highlight the action component of RoboCop. Let’s hope there’s more substance to this than just non-stop high-octane shootouts and robot fights. Though robots fighting robots is always a promising place to start, we’d like to see some actual character and story. That would be nice. From what we’ve seen, and what we know about the plot, we get the impression that this iteration of RoboCop is more human the first, more aware of who he was, and has more of a connection to his family. If nothing else, at least they’re trying to do something different. We’ll have to wait and see if it works out, but kudos for the attempt.
Like its predecessor, RoboCop is set in a crime-infested futuristic Detroit. While we knew that, we haven’t really seen much of that in the marketing campaign, that is, until now. You only get a few quick clips, but it’s enough to drive the point home. Seeing this you start to understand the public mindset a little bit more, one that would allow a huge, multinational corporation, OmniCorp once again in the reboot, swoop in and basically militarize a major American city.
As you’ve probably noticed, this video isn’t in English, crazy. It also emphasizes the man part of the man/machine combo. You get a feel for how much of police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) remains after he is wounded in the line of duty and brought back to life as an ass-kicking machine. In Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original, he only had partially remembered visions of his previous life, this time around, he knows and remembers, and that creates internal conflict. It looks like the new version will grapple with ideas of free will and identity, as the human and computer sides butt heads with each other.
I’ve said it before, but if RoboCop 2014 has a chance to stand on its own merits, this where that is going to have to happen. The story is essentially the same, the PG-13 rating guarantees that the graphic violence of the first is a thing of the past, and the whole thing looks completely serious, like they’ve eschewed the blackly comic satire of the first. Verhoeven’s film is one of my all time favorites, so it’s hard to keep and entirely open mind, but I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. Early reviews have been largely positive, so we’ll have to wait and see.