ROBOCOP

Fans of the original ROBOCOP know it was a scifi thriiler with tongue firmly planted in its cheeks. Sure it had violence and a guy/robot crime fighter. But it was also poking fun at the tropes of any science fiction movie that deals with a dystopian future. It also helped that Peter Weller delivered obviously comic lines with a robotic straightness that made them even funnier. That funny is absent from the 2014 version. This movie takes the predicament of Alex Murphy very seriously. Joel Kinnaman (excellent in THE KILLING) is Murphy. But this time instead of a beat cop almost killed in a shootout with a gang, Murphy is a detective investigating gun smugglers in Detroit. He gets blown up outside his house and is all but dead. But thanks to the greed of Omincorp headed by MIchael Keaton (he needs to work more, he’s so good) and the expertise of Gary Oldman Murphy lives again as the man/machine ROBOCOP. The two standout performances here are Kinnaman’s and Oldman’s. The latter could read the want ads and make them sound like life and death. Kinnaman handles the confusion and anger of Murphy with great skill and brings humanity to the robot. The rest of the cast is serviceable if not spectacular. If you try to compare the original and the new versions you are undertaking a fools errand. The new film is not trying to poke fun or be in any measure satirical. Taken on its own it is a better than average action thriller with special effects that could have been a little better. But if you want a comparison, there is none. The original was better. — Alan Yudman

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