Rugged Reviews

The RoboCop (2014) reboot doesn’t get it

by Ouroboros on January 10, 2016

Just when I thought they can’t drop the reboot ball harder than they did with Total Recall, here comes RoboCop (2014) to plumb the depths of sub-mediocrity.

The RoboCop reboot doesn’t get it. Not only does it not get it, but it doesn’t do anything useful with what it doesn’t get. This seems something of a modus operandi for reboots and remakes.

Just when I thought they can’t drop the reboot ball harder than they did with Total Recall, here comes RoboCop (2014) to plumb the depths of sub-mediocrity.

When it comes to iconic titles – like Total Recall or Robocop – it is incredibly hard not to compare the reboot to the original. This is not linked to any sort of nostalgic idea of “oh, they don’t make ‘em like they used to”, it’s more linked to the fact that those titles have become iconic for some very solid reasons. Also, if you’re going to use the same goddamn title, then expect comparisons against the originals.

In the case of the original RoboCop, what flung it into movie classicdom was a blend of its basic story concepts, its atmosphere and the oh-so-subtle social commentary.


Suffice to say that RoboCop (2014) shits the bed in terms of the basic story concepts, has very little atmosphere and since we’ve long past the age of subtlety and nuance, has very unsubtle and unimpactful social commentary. Pretty much a fail all around.

The reboot does away with the “clunky” idea of spending some movie time developing the character of Alex Murphy before he’s rebuilt. It likewise does away with that whole discussion about what exactly it is that makes us human, cause fuck philosophy amirite?

Instead, we get uninspired, lackluster and by-the-numbers action scenes, a really superficial political main plot that is so blatantly present-day it hurts. All of this being populated by some of the most one-sided, cookie-cutter-iest characters that I’ve seen recently.

Gary Oldman phones in everything – I guess he needed the money – and while I was super glad to see Michael Keaton back in a major release, he plays his character as if he were in a different movie. He’s entertaining, but in the sense that he’s so over the top that he contrasts heavily with the rest of the characters. Thankfully, from what I heard, Birdman is a better showcase of the man’s skills and acting capabilities.

By far the best, and most convincing, part of the movie is Samuel L. Jacksons’ Pat Novak, a very in-your-face TV presenter. Clearly modeled by a current real-world conservative American political talk-show host but with a nice twist meant to annoy said real-world person, this is quite possibly the only satiric touch that works.

In terms of how the plot treats Murphy, it’s incredible how bad the scientists are in this movie. Granted, they’re not Prometheus-level incompetent, but they’re pretty goddamn reckless. They’re especially inconsiderate and inconsistent when it comes to the mental health of Murphy’s still-breathing brain.


I’m a big fan of Knight Rider too!

I understood the need to revamp RoboCop’s look, the body he sports through most of the movie is much more similar to the present design aesthetic in regards to futuristic assault armor. I also enjoyed the dig at “Transformers”, but what I enjoyed even more was the re-imagining of the original Robocop body.

So yeah, don’t waste your time on this one people, watch the original!

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