In 1987, Paul Verhoeven's futuristic crime thriller "RoboCop" made its mark with equal parts over-the-top violence and cynical, prescient satire. Now director Jose Padilha's remake has updated the cybernetic cop's story with references to the hot-button issue of drone warfare and the director's own spin on the de rigueur gunfire and pyrotechnics (this time with a PG-13 rating instead of R). According to most film critics, however, the new "RoboCop" can't match the visceral impact of the original.
The Times' Betsy Sharkey writes, "In the 27 years since 'RoboCop' first rocked the movie world, much has happened and apparently the filmmakers behind this year's remake didn't get the memo. A straight-up old-school bot-man morph isn't quite so spectacular with
The new "Robocop," Sharkey adds, "isn't going for the biting satire of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 original, or its extreme violence. The sci-fi side hasn't evolved much. And the thrill? Well, most of the thrill is gone." That said, the reboot does have some things going for it, Sharkey says, including solid performances by leading man Joel Kinnaman and supporting players Michael Keaton,
In a more positive review, Manohla Dargis of the
Ann Hornaday of the
But, she says, "For all its playfulness, the new 'RoboCop' can’t help but lack the novelty of the original’s jolting mixture of dumb-smart irony and visceral pulp."
The new "RoboCop" does have its supporters, though, including the San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle, who offers a rave. He writes, "'RoboCop' is no canned remake of the 1987 action film. It's a reimagining that responds to everything that has changed in American life over the past 27 years, addressing new threats and exploiting new anxieties. It's not a somber movie, but it's dead serious in its intent, using fantasy to present audiences with a cautionary glimpse of where modern life may be heading."