Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
First of all, I shouldn't have had to consult wikipedia to clear up some plot points in this new RoboCop, because I'm really good at following plots, even when it jumps around a little. Problem #1.
Second, why another remake? I honestly haven't seen the original RoboCop, but it's the stuff of legend. An iconic 1980's movie that is still a fan favorite.
RoboCop's been modernized, as modern as 2027 can be, in a time when the U.S. military has run amok, sending robots to police the World. Taking away their freedom for freedoms sake. The robots are everywhere except America, where we still have crime and violence. (This is all explained through a pro-robot show by television host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson), who comes in and out of the movie to explain a thing or two. The movie's narrator, if you will, with a biased opinion.) The American people don't want Robots to become our police force. The "Dreyfus Act" was created to prevent robots from taking over our streets, our reasoning being that robots can't feel, their actions being the result of hard-wired programming. Quick and cold. No remorse.
OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), the company behind the robots, wants to turn a profit. With the Dreyfus Act he's at a stalemate, but he soon realizes this can be overcome through changing the opinions of public and politicians alike: merge human with machine. A robot people can relate to.
Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is a policeman in the Detroit Police Department, and with his partner Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams) they are going after the crime boss Antoine Vallon. Unfortunately for them the DPD is corrupted, some working with Vallon, and after a couple scenes I can't remember because they're forgettable, Alex is sought after and blown up when a bomb is attached to his car, right in his front yard, his wife and son sleeping upstairs. Little of Alex is left--lungs, a hand, his head--so as a means of survival Clara (Abbie Cornish), Alex's wife, agrees to allow him to be turned into RoboCop, much to OmniCorp's delight.
At this point the movie hits a lull, taking itself way too seriously, exploring this problem or that, as I grew tired and bored. A thinking film instead of an action flick. Thinking films aren't bad in the least, but RoboCop was advertised as an action film, and there are way too many slow moments.
Adding to this doldrum are plot points casually created and then ignored, jumbled with terrible character development and cast chemistry.
Alex Murphy is not a compelling character, and I don't know who to blame: writers, actor, or director. Not enough time was spent on Alex pre-robocop to get a sense of who He was; there's not a way to really compare his before and after. We get a sense of it through his wife Clara. What we do see of his former life is muddled and incoherent.
A forgettable bookmark in cinematic history, quick to be forgotten unlike its predecessor. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material.