Year 8, Day 84 - 3/24/16 - Movie #2,284
BEFORE: My countdown to "Batman v. Superman" has begun, though it's going to take me another 10 days to get there - which should place that film on a Monday, which works perfectly for me - Monday is the least crowded night at the theaters, and by then maybe the excessive crowds will have thinned out a bit. And my path there goes through a number of other action movies, many of which will star Samuel L. Jackson, before linking to Keanu Reeves, Kevin Bacon and finally Laurence Fishburne. And what better way to start the countdown to that DC film but to watch a film with one actor who played Batman twice and another who played Commissioner Gordon thrice?
Tonight, Marianne Jean-Baptiste carries over from "Edge of Tomorrow", into another sci-fi film.
THE PLOT: In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy - a loving husband, father and good cop - is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer.
AFTER: I tried to move this one closer to Easter, because the Robocop story is essentially a tale of resurrection, a sort of Jesus analog (cyborg Jesus, but still...) but this was as close as I could get it. Anway, it's "Holy Thursday" today and almost Good Friday, so I think I'm safe in making the comparison. In it's own way, "Deadpool" also qualifies as a similar resurrection-based tale. (Oh, wait, I forgot, I saw that film but I haven't reviewed it yet...)
It also seems appropriate because this is a superhero film, in its own way. There was a Robocop comic book years ago, but it came after the film, so even though it's not technically a "comic-book" movie, it's got all the earmarks, so I think it belongs in the same category somehow. Hero gets into an accident, futuristic science-y stuff happens, he gains powers above those of mortal men - yep, I think this qualifies. Oh, and the hero with powers is always right, even when he makes mistakes.
I'm hard-pressed to see the differences between this film and the original "Robocop", except that the suit is mostly black instead of silver, and Murphy has a son as well as a wife. (EDIT: A little research tells me that Murphy DID have a wife and son in the original film, but I think they moved away and we never saw them. Here the wife sticks around, and serves basically the same narrative purpose as Murphy's female partner in the 1987 film.) The rest seems pretty much the same, with Murphy's human personality eventually overcoming his programming, and Robocop going rogue to solve his own murder. Which he does here twice, and that seems like something of a logical contradiction, no?
I managed to fall asleep several times in the first half-hour, which is not a good sign for an action film. But then after the transformation to Robocop I was able to stay awake for the remainder. I'm just thankful they didn't pull that time-tweaking stuff where we first see Robocop in action, then they flash back to recount his whole origin. At least this is all in correct linear order, but the first part does lag quite a bit. Footage of the ED-209 peacekeeping robots in cities like Tehran isn't all that engaging.
Though I guess there are a few more characters, they added a sadistic robot programmer/trainer who doesn't think that a cyborg is any match for his androids (yes, there's a difference), a right-wing talk show host and a marketing genius who's concerned with OCP's image and Robocop's effect on it. All of those were welcome additions to the narrative. But from reading the notes section on Wikipedia, it seems like there was so much arguing between the director and the studio over this plot, with so many of the director's proposed ideas rejected, and so many compromises made to obtain a PG rating, the end result is a film that doesn't seem to go strongly in any direction at all, other than to repeat what has gone before. So the planned reboot of the franchise ended up more like a remake.
Also starring Joel Kinnaman (last seen in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"), Gary Oldman (last seen in "Henry & June"), Michael Keaton (last seen in "She's Having a Baby"), Abbie Cornish (last seen in "Seven Psychopaths"), Jackie Earle Haley (last seen in "London Has Fallen"), Jay Baruchel (last heard in "How to Train Your Dragon 2"), Samuel L. Jackson (last seen in "Betsy's Wedding"), Jennifer Ehle (last seen in "Zero Dark Thirty"), Zach Grenier, Douglas Urbanski, Aimee Garcia, Patrick Garrow.
RATING: 5 out of 10 rap sheets