Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop is a classic movie and rebooting the series is a tall order. Ever since news about this new film was released fans have been eagerly awaiting a trailer that shows off the new Alex Murphy aka Robocop. Now a trailer for the film directed by José Padilha has appeared online and fans can judge for themselves how the reboot is shaping up.
Robocop, which will be released in 2014 stars Joel Kinnaman from the hit American TV show The Killing as a Detroit cop called Alex Murphy, a role originally played by Peter Weller in the older films. The cast also includes Michael Keaton as the main villain and head of the corporation (OmniCorp) that creates Robocop, Gary Oldman as a mad scientist who is in charge of OmniCorp’s robotics department, Samuel L. Jackson as a media mogul and also Abbie Cornish as Murphy’s wife Clara. Jackie Earle Haley, Marianne Jean Baptiste and Miguel Ferrer also appear in the film which is cool as Ferrer played a major role in Verhoeven’s Robocop. The cast is excellent and all the main actors shown in the trailer appear to be enjoying themselves.
In the film, OmniCorp (a multinational conglomerate) are leading the way in robot technology and their robot drones have been a big hit with the American military, when Murphy is wounded in a car explosion they see an opportunity to use him as the test subject for their new cyborg prototype. Murphy agrees to take part in this project as he was crippled by the explosion and is keen to regain his mobility, the operation is a success and Murphy becomes a supercop with super strength, an armored battle suit for a body and a sophisticated computer chip in his brain that gives him enhanced vision. He then tries to deal with a crime spree in Detroit while also trying to reconnect with his family.
The trailer is very slick and it contains a nice introduction to the plot for those unfamiliar with the story, it also features some good action scenes that display what the new Robocop can do and we also catch glimpses of the other robot prototypes in the film. One thing that seems to be missing is the satirical style that was evident in the first film which made fun of big corporations but also the media. This new film seems to be more serious and straight-faced which is not a bad thing as the director is trying to make his own movie and not simply copy Verhoeven’s work. The only problem with this approach is it takes away an element that made the first film so unique and helped give it some depth.
Scenes from Murphy’s home life before and after his transformation are also briefly shown in the trailer, his wife and son seem to have plenty of screen time in this film which is cool. Padilha is also keen to tackle some political issues in the film such as the use of drone warfare which is a serious contemporary debate, hopefully these elements will help the film be more than just a bog standard action flick. There are also a couple of nice homages to the first movie here as Robocop utters his most iconic line from the series at the end of the trailer, he is also shown wearing a steel suit in a few clips which bears a resemblance to his original body armor. There are some decent special effects here too which is important for a movie like this and the robotic characters blend in well with the live action.
The designs for the new Robocop suit and the other machines in the trailer are lean and very sleek, all the prototypes look modern and fit in with the style of the film which is set in the year 2028. This modern updating of the design elements and look of the film will appeal to some movie fans but may turn off some hardcore fans of the first movie. Murphy’s new suit is matt black rather than shiny steel like the old suit, it also has a slightly sinister insectoid look and an intimidating red visor which makes Murphy look more like a villain than a good guy.
ED-209, the intimidating, big combat robot from Verhoeven’s film also appears in the reboot too which will please fans, the new version of ED-209 is also black instead of silver.
Robocop 2014 is shaping up nicely and it appears to be doing its own thing instead of merely copying the source material, the director is trying to make a modern update of the story which also addresses some current issues and concerns. If the film can combine those aspirations with imagination and a good story then the film should be a winner. There’s a new guy in town, his name is Robocop!
The film will be out on February 7th, check out the trailer and share your thoughts.