As California is experiencing a drought, I kicked off 2014 with my own drought. A movie drought. I had not seen any movies since the first week in January. This is probably the longest stretch of time that I've gone without seeing a movie in the theaters. I was feeling off and this had to be the reason!
It's not for a lack of good movies. We missed seeing most of the recent award nominees. We've just been too busy off adventuring and enjoying this unseasonably warm winter. On Sunday, I finally got back into a theatre, when Dan and I went to see the Robocop remake.
I never saw any of the original Robocop films. I saw this remake without a frame of reference. Admittedly, it wouldn't have been my pick, but Dan wanted a sci-fi/action movie and I was just happy to go to a movie.
The story follows Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a cop who is nearly killed when criminals place explosives in his car. His only chance to live occurs when the Omnicorp steps in and offers to save his live via an experimental procedure that will turn him into half man/ half robot. Naturally, Omnicorp is not interested in altruism and when their experiment encounters problems, Alex must fight for his life.
Let's be honest, late-winter is not the time when the best films are released. Robocop is clearly a summer blockbuster type of movie. However, it's also a movie that movie executives had the foresight to realize that it could not compete against the other summer movies. It's a decent movie, but it would easily get lost in the summer shuffle.
What makes this film go from mediocre to good, is the cast. It has plenty of star power with Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman. These actors are fun to watch and if a less apt cast had been in play, this movie would have plummeted. I really liked Abbie Cornish as Alex's emotionally wrecked wife.
What also makes this movie entertaining, is it's corny. It takes itself very seriously, which makes it even more corny. It was a bit like Point Break. In particular, every scene with Samuel L. Jackson playing a conservative political pundit, is just plain ridiculous. Jackson's character reminded me of a slightly less flamboyant Caesar Flickerman from The Hunger Games. I think that makers of this film were attempting to make a very serious commentary regarding American society, especially through Jackson's character. The film definitely shows America in a negative light, as bullies and hypocrites.
The special effects are great. There is a very memorable scene where Alex is shown his new body and the affects of his accident for the first time. It's gruesome. His lungs are on display and his brain is sliced open. The shock value wears off as the body parts are left on screen for a very long time.
The story and characters are solid. It ran a tad long, but overall, I felt entertained. You don't need to see this in theaters or even rent it. However, when it comes on cable, it's worth catching.