ACTION; 1hr 57min
STARRING: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish
Viewed today, the crashing theatrics of 1987’s original, tormented cyborg are exactly the overripe mischief you’d expect from director Paul Verhoeven. This year’s earnest rework from director José Padilha bristles with predictable big guns underscored by a sombre, flag-waving message.
In a “robophobic” 2028 USA, Machiavellian techno giant OmniCorp rules the peace-keeping roost with ’bots on the ground in OS trouble spots. On their home turf, however, machines are distrusted for their reflexive inhumanity. Enter straight-arrow Detroit detective and devoted husband (to Cornish’s Clara) Alex Murphy (Kinnaman), horrifically injured by a car bomb and reconstituted by OmniCorp’s ambivalent brainiac, Dr Dennett Norton (Oldman), as basically a head and lungs melded into a strapping robot body.
OmniCorp’s new RoboCop is touted as the copybook solution to Detroit’s crime-riddled woes but the ethical ramifications of playing God are obvious. How to mesh man with machine when humanity is the antithesis of a droid’s kill-at-will rationale? Is a liveable balance possible for the conflicted hybrid creature Alex has become? And does anybody really give a rat’s when the eye-candy firepower is this full-on?