Directed By: Jose Padilha
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Sometimes action moves are all about the glitz and glamor of it all and less about building a story and characters (I’m looking at you Transformers, or really any Michael Bay movie). While I’m sure this movie felt more technological forward in 1987 than it does now, it was still a pretty damn good movie.


Here’s why:

The movie took time to develop plot and create depth.
Many times with reboots or remakes, they tend to believe the majority of audiences know the story so they gloss over the backstory and expect us to catch up. This movie took the time to tell us the story. Within the first five minutes, thanks to Samuel L. Jackson the movie set the tone. The movie is set in the seemingly not too distant media obsessed, technology advanced future where the rest of the world has embraced OmniCorp’s “Robots Who Fight Crime” mantra except for the United States. The US as failed to accept the cold and thoughtless nature in which the robots pursue justice. When good father, husband, and cop Alex Murphy recklessly finds himself amidst a cover-up involving imported guns and dirty cops his partner winds up shot and he ends up fatally wounded. OmniCorp uses his good reputation as a cop in order to create the perfect robot that will appeal to the masses: a machine with the brain and heart of a human, but the agility and power of a robot. Only when Murphy’s human emotion proves to be too strong and he becomes uncontrollable and OmniCorp tries to find a way to contain him…by any means necessary. That’s a lot of backstory, and it’s executed well. (I can always tell how well I get a movie by the fact that I don’t have to look up details in order to explain what it’s about.) While the way it portrays technology may not be as original or as fresh as it was in the original…

The filmmakers used their version of advanced technology to create some extremely powerful images.
Whether you liked this movie or not, there is no denying the impact of certain scenes: a robot’s showdown with the kid with the knife, the medias interpretation of events, Alex Murphy revisiting his own crime scene, a shootout in total darkness only light by gunfire flashes…And the most powerful scene of them all would be when Murphy is stripped away of all his robotic parts in order to look at his true self. That scene alone is heartbreaking, raw, brutal, and worth watching. And this is because…


Alex Murphy is a compelling character.
He is a compulsive cop, a risk-taking partner, a devoted father and husband, but he’s definitely not perfect. And the Joel Kinnaman swagger gave him just the right amount of bad boy to keep him from being a cliché. Once he became RoboCop the character seemed to disappear, but I guess that was the point. In some instances RoboCop felt so much like a robot and less of a person that…

The Supporting Cast did a lot of heavy lifting.
Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, and surprisingly Samuel L. Jackson in particular were the standouts from the strong supporting cast. Sometimes they were so strong it felt like their movie instead of Joel Kinnaman’s.

RoboCop cast

This movie wasn’t perfect, some of the plot twists I figured out way in advance, and one of the villains in particular frustrated me, but overall it was exciting and compelling with a well thought out story and even a few surprises. It had a lot of action, but it also made you think and it made a political statement. It strayed from your standard popcorn-robot-blow stuff up flick and managed to leave a lasting impression. In my book, that makes for a good movie.

Rating: B






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