If you’re not snowed in, and your car is not encapsulated in ice so thick that you won’t see it until the thawing season begins in March, you might want to check out a movie.
Today, being Valentine’s Day, I’m sure a vast majority will end up at the theaters tonight. Good for you for thinking out of the box. Because no one else had that idea either! But your pal Jim has a tip for you that will be sure to save you from having to wait in line, no doubt warming yourself off the heated stares from your wife/girlfriend/etc who is very annoyed having to wait on that long movie ticket buying line. So here it is: BUY THEM ON LINE IN ADVANCE. There. I just saved you from yourself. You get to waltz past the long queue of thousands of guys who are now no doubt impervious to the at freezing temps outside because they can still feel her glares from parking lot, where she is inside the car with the heat running…
But I caution you against RoboCop. First off the reviews are terrible. One star was all the Daily News could muster. Our co-worker Chris, who is a fan of the original RoboCop (he even has a VHS tape of the movie on his desk), couldn’t say anything good. Besides that’s not even a good Valentine’s Day movie. You might as well take her to the same movie that Travis Bickle took his date to.
Now there is a romantic comedy, or rom-com, as the industry calls them. Endless Love. It doesn’t even need to imply it’s a Valentine’s Day movie. It has the word love in the title. Now, none of us here have actually seen the movie. But it’s Valentine’s Day and it’s a Valentine’s Day movie. So you do the math.
Good luck tonight guys. We’re all counting on you.
-Chris Perucich for Shelli Sonstein
For every revitalized franchise like ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Batman’ or fresh take on a classic, like ‘Ocean’s 11’ or John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ there are dozens of failed attempts at remakes and reboots. Updating or expanding upon movies that worked just fine the first time around is a risky proposition. A failed remake does a disservice to an idea that could actually benefit from another shot. At worst, it alienates fans who lovingly remember the original. In most cases it’s just an unfair and overwhelming challenge to live up to.
Unfortunately, this remake of Paul Verhoeven’s over-the-top and ultra-violent 1987 ‘Robocop’ fails to outshine its source material. The original is just more entertaining, fun and slyly subversive then this sleek, shiny and over explained attempt.
Robocop (aka Detroit policeman Alex Murphy) is played by Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman, best know in America from AMC’s ‘The Killing.’ Critically injured by a gun runner he was pursing, Murphy is turned into a man-machine by OmniCorp, a Blackwater/Halliburton-esque company. Run by a scheming, shrewd and ultimately unethical CEO (Michael Keaton), OmniCorp is bent on expanding their robot security contracts for domestic use in America. Robocop is envisioned as a tool to assure a wary American public that there is conscience behind this proposed new police force, rather then unfeeling machines.
This version tirelessly explores the science behind Robocop, expanding the role of his creator, now played by Gary Oldman. The original, starring Peter Weller, quickly runs though Murphy’s initial murder, rebirth, and return to the force. Pieces of his past quickly come together and Robocop reengages in the pursuit of his murderer, unforgettably played by a cartoonishly diabolical Kurtwood Smith. That quest inevitably leads Robocop on a course to confront his corrupt creators.
The themes of corporate greed, media manipulation and societal decay were certainly at the heart of the original, but the journey Robocop went on to rediscover his past and reclaim the man within the machine is really what gave the film a heart amidst the violence, black humor and typical Verhoeven exaggeration. In this version, Robocop’s memories and family are kept intact with relative ease, which takes a lot out of the character’s arc.
The original also benefitted from some truly despicable and scenery crewing villains…and let’s be honest, Michael Keaton is hard to hate no matter how heartless he and his cronies are depicted. It feels like Robocop lacks any real adversity. The fight/combat scenes play out in typical modern videogame fashion- nothing remarkable. Overall this new Robocop behaves more like Ironman then the remains of mangled beat cop with an identity crisis.