In 2028, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones have been used overseas to keep the peace by the military for years, but they have been forbidden for law enforcement in America due to the public`s mistrust. But the opportunity to soften public opinion presents itself in the form of Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a good cop and family man doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. When Murphy is critically injured, OmniCorp seizes the chance to build a part-man, part-robot police officer.
The biggest issue from the new RoboCop remake becomes evident very early on; it shares next to nothing in common with the source material it is based on, to the point where there really is no point to using the RoboCop name. Director Jose Padilha has directed a serviceable action film, a final cut that does have the noticeable finger prints of studio involvement on it, but without the dramatic and intense edge he has become known for from his Brazilian made “Elite Squad” films. This is a PG remake of a hard R film that takes no risks, and spills very little blood for a film that is still filled with death.
Kinnaman is game to take on the Alex Murphy role but becomes literally more stiff and sullen after donning the suit, producing a bland and pale impersonation of Peter Weller’s iconic turn as the future of law enforcement. Abbie Cornish is saddled with the role of Murphy`s widow, a role that was a mere cameo in the original. This time around Ellen Murphy is substituted for the Lewis role from the original as Lewis is turned into a male and treated as an afterthought in this version. It’s a thankless role that gives her nothing to do. Jackie Earle Haley and Michael Keaton do deliver some solid performances, elevating the lackluster material given to them.
Taking the film as an entity on its own as opposed to the remake it is, though the constant reminders that the film uses – including parts of the original score! – make it near impossible to view it without comparison, the 2014 version of RoboCop is a passable attempt at an action film. Much like watered down American Light beer, this new RoboCop will leave you desperately thirsting for something with the additional flavor and impact that only the original version with all its satire, commentary and violence can truly satiate.