It’s a well-documented historical fact that the last new idea Hollywood had came and went in 1999 with The Matrix. From then on and forevermore, we shall never see another film that’s not a reboot, sequel, or adaptation of a comic book/TV show/theme park ride/board game/feminine hygiene product (HA! Just kidding about the last one; Hollywood doesn't make movies about women).
Into this world comes Robocop, a reboot of Paul Verhoven’s classic cyberpunk action satire of the same name, in which police officer Alex Murphy is killed in the line of duty and remade as a cyborg cop. You know the story. You probably love the story. Just find something to bite down on and follow us. We’ll get through this together.
- So far, the most unrealistic thing about this film is the idea that future Fox News would hire a black host. = +7pts (For giving us a surprisingly utopian vision of your future dystopia).
- Robots keep Middle Eastern countries safe with airport pervo-scan technology. = +3pts
- Suicide bomber jumps from the top of a house onto the head of an ED-209. = +10pts
- The role of Lewis, portrayed by Nancy Allen in the original, has been given to a man. = -15pts
- …But at least it’s a black man. = +15pts
- …Who happens to be Omar Little. = +10pts
- So, just to make sure we have this straight: The foundation of political opposition to using robots to conduct domestic law enforcement is that the machines don’t have feelings? ‘Cause we’d be a little more concerned about the potential to devolve into a police state once we start using military technology to govern our cities. = -18pts
- In the future, your smartphones and tablets will be see-through. That way everyone on the train can know what kind of porn you’re watching during your morning commute. = -4pts
- Implied future coitus with wife makes us think Murphy probably had a big boner when that car bomb went off. = +7pts
- Robocop is basically a viral marketing campaign designed to sway public opinion on the implementation of a robot police force. = +15pts
- Michael Keaton, on seeing the Robocop prototype for the first time: “Nice fuckin’ model! [Grabs crotch]” = +3pts (Not really, but wouldn’t that have been awesome?)
- The technicians left Robocop with a human hand, presumably for digitally penetrating his wife. Considerate. = +5pts
- Upon waking up, Robocop freaks out and bolts. Gary Oldman’s orders are to “Let him go.” Because there can be no adverse consequences to letting an unstable death machine rampage unchecked through a civilian facility. = -9pts
- Jackie earl Haley, on Robocop’s performance in a simulation vs. an unmanned unit: “I wouldn’t buy that for a dollar.” = -4pts (Sad Trombone)
- To override Robocop’s natural human tendencies to hesitate, Gary Oldman sets his programing to take over in combat situations, leaving Murphy with the illusion that he’s in control of the machine. = +13pts
- While uploading Detroit’s crime database into Robocop’s system, Robocop has an emotional overload that causes his system to crash, moments before his big public unveiling. Are you thinking what we’re thinking? That’s right, we have a Weekend at Bernies situation here! = +25pts
- Wait, never mind, they just rebalance his brain chemistry to turn off his emotions. = -30pts
- We never noticed before, but Robocop has a tight little robo-butt. = +11pts
- While attempting to solve his own murder, Robocop roughs up a thug for information on where to find the arms dealer responsible for Murphy’s assassination. The only problem is that harassment and police brutality are kind of difficult to get away with when you are literally walking around with a camera in your head that broadcasts and records everything that you do. = -14pts
- And not that the original film was meticulous in depicting police procedure, but Robocop has no warrant or probable cause to search this warehouse where the climactic shootout is taking place. = -6pts
- Robocop discovers two cops’ fingerprints on illegal weapons discovered at the arms warehouse, which leads to the arrest of his superior officer, who was under the arms dealer’s payroll. Robocop is credited with “solving his own murder”… except for the fact that there’s still no evidence linking the cops or the arms dealer that he killed to the bomb placed under Alex Murphy’s car. = -8pts
- Also, this exchange: “So, what is this? Good cop/bad cop?” “Bad cop/Robocop.” = -10pts
- Having served his purpose and swayed the American people in favor of robot law enforcement, Michael Keaton gives the order to decommission Robocop. Maybe he’ll get buried with a gold watch? = +3pts
- Apparently, ED-209s are programmed to fire indiscriminately when an enemy lands on their head. = -2pts
- Robocop’s programming prevents him from taking out Michael Keaton but he overcomes it through the triumph of the human spirit or some stupid shit. = -18pts
- Samuel L. Jackson drops a “motherfucker.” = +4pts (Even censored, it’s a positive.)
- The Clash’s “I Fought the Law” during the closing credits. = +7pts
Available on: DVD, probably TBS in the near future
Well, that was definitely a movie. Rebootcop actually made an effort to tie the classic mythology in with contemporary issues: the United States’ role in global affairs, anxieties over drone technology, yellow journalism in the age of Rupert Murdoch. Unfortunately, these efforts don’t amount to much at the end of the day, and none of the other basic architecture of a quality film is present—the characters are mostly bland, the plotting aimless, the dialogue hackneyed. There’s something oddly perfunctory about the final product, as though it were every bit as mass produced as Omnicorp’s drone soldier army.
Score technician: Joe Hemmerling