, Port Arthur, Texas


February 14, 2014

“RoboCop” lacks spark of life

— I have fond memories of the original “RoboCop” movie, which is a bit odd because Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film really wasn’t very good. It was a bit cheesy and notably violent, but it did have a cool concept and awesome special effects for its time. Most importantly, the film was a lot of fun to watch.

That sense of fun is what I remember most about the original “RoboCop,” and it’s what’s frequently missing from the remake that arrives in theaters this week. The new film has a major upgrade in terms of cast and special effects, but there’s no spark to bring it to life. There’s certainly nothing here that will make audiences fondly remember the film twenty seven years from now.

The basic story remains the same, although it’s been modernized quite a bit. Joel Kinnaman plays Murphy, a good cop and family man who is nearly killed by a car bomb. OmniCorp, a military robot manufacturing company saves his life by fusing what’s left of his body into a tactical android skeleton.

Murphy becomes RoboCop—half man, half machine. This cyborg cop is an unbeatable one-man police force, but his OmniCorp programmers can’t quite control him because the remnants of the man inside the machine start overriding their programming designs.

As Murphy investigates his attempted murder and deals with the fallout for his family, the film transitions into the story of a man struggling to regain his humanity. Those themes don’t really resonate, which is understandable because this is only really intended to be a popcorn movie. The good news is that it does work well enough as an action spectacle.

The special effects are pretty good and the supporting cast is much better than it should be. All things considered, it’s not a bad alternative to all the romance films invading the cineplex this Valentine’s Day.

That being said, this is not a film that will stay with audiences for the next twenty seven years. It is a serviceable action flick, but it never rises above being a big budget B-Movie. The characters are rather clichéd and the violence is watered down to PG-13 so it’s nowhere near as shocking as it was in the original X-Rated film.

Most problematic, the cutting-edge concept of a man-machine hybrid seems pretty plausible by today’s technological standards. That means that there’s nothing cutting edge or all that memorable in the movie. “RoboCop” plays like just another action flick on autopilot.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at

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