The new RoboCop remake will be the point of a lot of contention until it’s released in February 2014. Paul Veroheven’s original 1987 science fiction film is considered a classic among cinephiles and genre fans. Many believe that the only reason to remake a classic like RoboCop is so the movie studio Sony can take advantage of the brand name and make more money with the popular property. While that just might be true, the actors and filmmakers behind the project say they are taking a different approach to the project.
In an interview with the remake’s star, Joel Kinnaman, the 34-year-old actor contends that they didn’t set out to simply remake RoboCop, but rather to build off the source material to make a different type of movie. With José Padilha in the director’s chair, there’s a good chance that Kinnaman might be right about the new RoboCop.
‘It’s a great responsibility,’ Kinnaman tells SFX. ‘Especially in a world where there’s a lot of remakes being made for cynical economic reasons. But having José as a director washed away those fears. The biggest respect you can pay to the original is to acknowledge it as a very intelligent movie, and try to make something intelligent to follow it up with, and not just replay old catchphrases. We kept one or two as a wink to the fans, but we did not try to remake the movie.’
José Padilha is a fantastic director with a few great action genre films under his belt such as Elite Squad and its sequel Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. No one is denying that Padilha has the chops to make a great movie, the only question is: can his skills as a director translate to English and American movie-going expectations? There’s a long list of great foreign directors fumbling their American debuts, including Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry Nights, John Woo’s Hard Target, Kim Jee-woon’s The Last Stand, and Park Chan-wook’s Stoker.
One of the different directions the remake is taking is introducing the idea of RoboCop being more human than robot. RoboCop’s memories of being a human appear to play heavily in the film, with Murphy’s wife Carla (Abbie Cornish) and son David playing a bigger role in the remake. We can even see Murphy’s face more in the new film, when compared to Verhoven’s original, and in one of the trailers Murphy even thinks he’s just wearing a suit when he wakes up from his robo-conversion.
Despite negative reactions to the remake, there are some surprisingly good early reviews. Early test screenings of the new RoboCop suggest that Padilha has captured Verhoeven’s vision for a dark and bleak future, but without the heavy violence the original is known for. Perhaps Padilha’s remake might surprise us all.
The remake takes place in the year 2028, when a multinational conglomerate called OmniCorp is at the center of robotic technology, with drones that are winning wars around the world. The corporation now wants to bring their technology to the home front to protect cities across the country. Alex Murphy is a loving husband, father, and honest cop in Detroit, who is critically injured after a car bomb attack. OmniCorp utilizes their robotics technology to save his life by turning him into RoboCop.
RoboCop stars Kinnaman, Cornish, Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael Kenneth Williams, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Miguel Ferrer, Jennifer Ehle, and Jay Baruchel, and hits theaters everywhere on February 12, in 3D and IMAX.