I wasn't going to write this up, but stuck in the house with a foot of snow on the groundwaiting for the rain to change back to snow I decided to scribble down a few words on the remake of Robocop.
Yesterday with some time to kill and wanting to get out of the cold I ducked into a theater and saw the remake of Robocop. Simply put I liked it. I liked it a great deal. Here's a reboot that actually has a reason to exist.
Following more or less the plot of the original with Alex Murphy injured when the bad guy he's pursuing blows up his car. He's then turned into a crime fighting cyborg.
Less a satire and more pointed social commentary I found the new film working on its own terms.
In many ways darker than the first film, the level of fascism is even more troubling than in the earlier film, We see what American intervention around the world really means. Equally troubling is the corporate drive to make money. Murphy is expendable, they just need his body so long as it gets their robots on the streets of America. Equally dark is Samuel L Jackson's talk show host a neo-facist who isn't that far removed from Bill O'Reilly.
I like that we have lots of discussions about the questions of what it means to be human. As the doctor played by Gary Oldman keeps insisting Murphy is in there, even as he manipulates the programing and meds to get a more compliant police officer.
While the film references the earlier film, the music cues are there, the "I'd buy that for a dollar" is now a throw away line, the film only references them where needed. The film never panders to the fans of the earlier film. This is a film that is it's own entity and not a copy. Perhaps its more like the son of the original than a clone with all of the some of the looks of it's father but a character made up from the the life is lead- or rather the life the filmmakers led in the years since the first film.
I should also point out that the film's commercials and trailers are misleading. While there is plenty of great action it's not quite the over blown over active action fest they make it out to be. This is a film that it trying to tell a good story and make it's point. The story drives the action and not vice versa.
This is a wonderful surprise, and if it's not quite good enough to make a best of the year list, it is good enough to be remembered on its own terms for as long as the original.has been around.