Thursday, 13 February 2014

Robocop - The scoop and digest

When it comes to satirising American consumerism, only George A. Romero’s ultimate zombie film Dawn of the Dead emulates Paul Verhoeven’s seminal work.

I've vehemently opposed this from the very beginning and predictably, millions of other similar groans reverberated across the globe.

So come on Jose Padilha, prove me wrong.

Dead or alive, plot details and/or spoilers are coming with me.

Staring down the barrel of dystopian despair includes:

Joel Kinnaman – Alex Murphy/Robocop
Michael Keaton – Raymond Sellars
Gary Oldman – Dennett Norton
Samuel L. Jackson – Patrick Novak
Abbie Cornish – Clara
Jackie Earle Haley - Mattox

In the 21st century, OmniCorp is the forefront of robot technology and their products are distributed throughout the world.

We see ED-209's and new foot soldiers EM-208's assisting the prevention of crime overseas during The Novak Element.

I’m guessing that ‘EM’ stands for Enforcement Machine because I don’t think it’s actually revealed.

The Dreyfuss Act prevents mechanicals beating the street on American soil so CEO Raymond Sellars challenges scientist bigwig Dennett Norton to literally make a machine more human.

To realise this audacious dream, a guinea pig is required and after a car blows up in his face, Alex James Murphy is selected to become the poor schmuck to inadvertently volunteer.

Crime boss Antoine Vallon arranged the hit via crooked law enforcement, .

Murphy is quite disturbed by his new suit, er body, but is convinced by Norton to embrace this second chance and builds the confidence to confront the family in his permanent get up.

Military technician Mattox scoffs that dressing a human in robotic pants will never be as technically efficient as an actual robot and after facing off against EM-208’s in a simulation exercise, results show he’s well off the pace.

Norton retaliates by tampering with grey matter and lowers emotional intent to maximise tactical decision making.

As his brain becomes more independent, he overrides police priority and seeks answers from the very spot where it all went wrong.

Computing that Sellars isn't so squeaky clean and learning of Vallon’s involvement, he locates him at a drug factory.

Surprise!

Well not quite, as courtesy of a heads up, he and his goons are ready but Vallon is ultimately sent to meet his maker.

Back at the station, colleagues feel the brunt of his battered and bruised rage and believing that Police Chief Dean will sing like a well tuned canary, Mattox shuts Murphy's ass down.

He’s far from terminated and taken away for repair.

Sellars attempts to sway public opinion by appearing on Pat Novak's show and proceedings begin for the Dreyfuss Act to be repealed.

Sensing a lengthy stint in the grey bar hotel, Sellars arranges to erase his mistake...

A small army of ED-209’s await and Murphy is relentless in his pursuit to bring down Sellars who has taken Clara and David to the roof.

Like Mattox, Sellars is hides behind the protection of being a Red Asset but Murphy does enough to resist and successfully opens fire.

Novak informs that OCP is the parent company of OmniCorp and after a mother [beep], Robocop is rebuilt and the situation is brought to an end.

We know the reimagining drill and references remain obligatory.

During the simulation exercise, Mattox comments “I 'wouldn't' buy that for a dollar.”

The drug factory shoot out is here but completely pointless and ‘Directive 4’ brought by a pseudo wristwatch?

Oh dear...

In order to break free from a fallen ED-209, Murphy loses his arm in the process of escape.

During the building of Robocop, Bob Morton orders his crew to ‘lose the arm’.

Whether this was an intended reference is highly debatable and probably just done for effect.

Mia is forced to part company with an identical limb in the climax of Evil Dead 2013.

Surely a coincidence?

James Franco took 127 Hours to divorce his boulder friend while Arnold's good guy Terminator lost a limb when trapped by machinery in T2.

Pat Novak is Casey Wong so The Novak Element becomes Media Break.  I can’t remember her first name but I know his female colleague was Perkins, as in Jess Perkins.

Sellars begins as Bob Morton and then transforms into Dick Jones.

In Total Recall, Kate Beckinsale’s Lori is fused with Richter.

Antoine Vallon is a very expendable Clarence and only his known associates have less lead in their pencil.

The story revolves around police corruption, Murphy providing emotional analysis and much ado about nothing.

Like Ed Naha’s book, the human angle is expanded but commits protracted suffocation.

Action is paltry and even the ED-209 sequence disappoints more than opening a fridge and finding it empty.

I did like the black suit and scrolling news feeds include something like ‘beer is consumed more than water’ and ‘hookers in space’.

Basil Poledouris's famous theme is given a remix but using The Clash and their version of I Fought the Law for the end titles is particularly bizarre.

Padilha ditches the car for two wheeled transport and filled me with Dredd.

Thank Detroit he didn't choose a jetpack...

Remember that and Peter Weller’s replacement (Robert John Burke) in Robocop 3?

Ha ha ha.

Prime Directives have been deleted from on-board computer assisted memory, but thermo vision (thermograph in the original) is very briefly seen, along with a new targeting system.

Kinnaman does a fair job but leaves the worst until last when issuing the ‘dead or alive’ threat to Sellars.

Oldman almost parodies his superior Batman performance but Keaton is watchable as the slimy big cheese.

Bit part or not, Jackson’s screen presence is the perfect excuse to become ‘Robophobic’.

The wishy washy script is happy to bask in banality and “this is bullshit” is repeated on several occasions.

Wait a minute, I'm inclined to agree.

To paraphrase Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall (Part II), “Hey assholes!  Leave these films alone!”

New vision or not, eliminating all memories of the original makes this bearable, but only if you ask water not to be wet.

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