Having been a huge fan of the original film I was both excited and sceptical when they announced a reboot. Initially my expectations were relatively high (as expected), but as more and more news came out I lost faith along the way.
I can however put all that to one side now, as having finally seen the film I can make my final judgement. I’ll start off by saying that this is a completely different film, and I mean completely. The concept is the same, but the story, feeling and tone of the film is completely different. Due to this it’s slightly hard to review this film, as on the one hand there’s the film as a stand alone feature, and on the other there’s the comparison to the original.
Taking the viewpoint of a stand alone instalment this was overall very good film, having some epic moments. It is however not without it’s faults, with it’s main one being the lagging first hour. Like most I enjoy good story build-up, but in this film they went a little over the top. Fair enough the emotional tone means that there needs to be some degree of story depth, but at the same time it could’ve easily been cut down by at least 15 minutes. Going from negative to positive, the action was definitely worth the wait, with RoboCop showing a more tactical approach that gives an intense and exciting result.
Comparing it to the original gives a completely different response. RoboCop himself had a lot of changes, as despite there being references to the original he was overall quite different. In the original he was devoid of emotion from the start, regaining it along the way. In this film however he retains emotional function, with it not being removed until a considerable time later. I personally preferred this, as it gave more depth and resolve to the character, but this was probably one of the few changes I enjoyed as a fan. One of the changes I disliked was the suit, as although the black suited the bike, I overall prefer the silver with black trim. Despite all this the overall comparison doesn’t ruin the film and there are things that’ll appeal to long time fans.
Casting choices can make or break a film, though in this case it had a fairly neutral effect. The leading role of RoboCop was filled by relative unknown Joel Kinnaman, as despite not surpassing Peter Weller he did do a great job of giving the character depth needed for this story. The rest of the cast consisted of quite a few well known actors with Michael Keaton playing OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars, Gary Oldman playing Dr. Dennett Norton (the scientist who invents RoboCop) and Samuel L. Jackson as a TV presenter named Patrick "Pat" Novak. All these big named did a great job, but it’ be Oldman how’d do the best, as he showed the characters frustration brilliantly. The overall best performance came from Jackie Earle Haley as Rick Mattox, proving to be the perfect rival for RoboCop.
The big up point for this film had to be it’s CGI. This was the only reason that RoboCop needed a reboot, as despite the dated special effects from the original not being bad, I’d be nice to have a slicker more futuristic look, and we definitely got that. Everything technological wise looked amazing, with everything from the drones to the ED-209’s having an impact. The thing that impressed me the most however was the way they showed Alex’s lack of body outside the RoboCop suit, and along with Alex’s reaction this gave a great insight into just how much this character has lost.
RoboCop is overall a decent reboot, as despite not being anywhere near the same league as the original there are some moments that will appeal to fans of the original. Due to this it gets a recommendation, but don’t have your hopes too high.