Running Time: 117 mins.
Premise: In the year 2028, Detroit cop Alex Murphy is critically injured in an attempted homicide, but is brought back to the line of duty when the dubious folks at OmniCorp fit him with a robotic suit, making him half-man, half-robot. All cop.
Behind-the-Scenes: This is a remake of the 1987 RoboCop, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Peter Weller, which spawned two far inferior sequels.
The Good: Despite some negative pre-release buzz, the new RoboCop is an efficient, well-made action film. Director Jose Padilha (Elite Force) is no hack, and though he fails to capture the darkly comedic tone of Verhoeven's original, he treats the material with respect and finesse. There are some interesting sci-fi ideas at the story's core that keep the viewer engaged when the action slows down. The cast runs deep with talent, and is probably way better than this movie deserved. Nice to see Michael Keaton on screen as the head of OmniCorp, and Gary Oldman welcomely underplays as the morally questionable scientist who creates the robotic suit. The sound design is excellent, and used to great effect every time RoboCop moves or steps.
The Bad: The last third is predictable, routine, and underwhelming, failing to pay off everything that's come before in a satisfying way. It lacks that one memorable action sequence that would make the movie more than just okay. Joel Kinnaman (AMC's The Killing) is adequate if a little bland in the lead role. If it's not going to outdo the original, does the remake even need to exist?
Should You See It?: You know what? Yeah. It doesn't suck. Unless you're appalled by the very idea of remaking RoboCop, you should give it a chance.
Star Rating: *** out of 5 stars.
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