Combustible Celluloid
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With: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson, Aimee Garcia, Douglas Urbanski, John Paul Ruttan, Patrick Garrow, K.C. Collins
Written by: Joshua Zetumer, based on a screenplay by Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
Directed by: Josˇ Padilha
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material
Running Time: 118
Date: 02/12/2014

Robocop (2014)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Guy, Robot

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Very few movie remakes ever live up to the originals, and that's certainly the case with the 2014 Robocop. However, taken on its own, the new movie is a fairly solid entertainment with some interesting ideas, strong visual and sound effects, and a great cast. As an action flick, it's quick, intense, and rattling.

In the future, OmniCorp is trying to sell its line of law-enforcement robots, which are in place overseas, but cannot be implemented in the U.S. due to some pesky laws. Meanwhile, in Detroit, family man and dedicated cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) begins an investigation that leads to corruption, and is subsequently caught in a lethal explosion.

An OmniCorp doctor (Gary Oldman) is charged with putting Murphy back together as a cyborg cop. But while the doctor works out the emotional bugs, it becomes clear that the OmniCorp CEO (Michael Keaton) is only using the heroic Robocop to stir up public support for the new robot cop bill. Can Robocop stop the bad guys and solve his own murder?

Brazilian documentary filmmaker José Padilha (Bus 174) forgoes the original film's humorous satire and over-the-top violence in favor of a more political view. Specifically, he plays with Benjamin Franklin's assertion "They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety," as well as with the theme of corporate greed at the expense of common people.

Lead actor Joel Kinnaman isn't very expressive or personable, but he's surrounded by strong support, including Samuel L. Jackson as a persuasive TV commentator. Overall, while it's not entirely necessary, and will never take the place of Robocop (1987), it at least has more heft than the original movie's two sequels.

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