Next Friday, the brand new version of RoboCop comes to cinemas all over the UK. This new film is basically a remake of the 1987 classic, which I loved seeing. Like everyone else in the UK, I haven’t seen it yet, but I certainly have one immediate criticism of the new RoboCop: it lacks the personality of the original film.
In the original RoboCop, you got to see a bleak vision of Detroit in the future, where violent crime devours the city everyday. I should also mention that in the film, Detroit is run by the fictional Omni Consumer Products (or OCP), who have effectively privatized the city’s police force. Enter Alex Murphy, a police officer who was killed, and later revived in a cybernetic body as RoboCop. He later learns of corruption within OCP, and sets out to destroy it.
In the new version, Alex Murphy is seriously injured by a car-bomb (where in the original, he was killed by Clarence Boddicker’s gang), and is given a cybernetic body by OmniCorp scientists. Yes, in this film. Omni Consumer Products gets its name changed to the decidedly less appealing “OmniCorp”.
The new version of the film seems to have missed the point of the old version. In the old version, Alex Murphy is killed, and later resurrected into RoboCop (please, don’t even start with the messianic connotations), but in this new version, he’s merely injured, as if Hollywood’s actually turning into a bunch of wusses.
Also, the original RoboCop only costed $13 million to make, and that film was an ultra-violent masterpiece of 80’s cinema that subtly satirized the nature of American culture, and took a jab at the power and corruption of the large corporations of the time.
The new Robocop, meanwhile, costed ten times the budget of the original film to make, but apparently all that money was spent on making the film look cutting edge, while apparently ignoring the themes that made the original RoboCop a clever sci-fi piece. Now, the new RoboCop looks like it’s going to be another dumb Hollywood CGI sci-fi action flick with very little meaning.
It’s also apparent that the new RoboCop has completely sold out to Hollywood and bowed down to Hollywood conventions. The old RoboCop was rated 18, while the new RoboCop appears to have the typical wussy 12A rating, which can only mean one thing: the new RoboCop will be heavily neutered.
To be completely honest, I still want to see the remake, if only to see how badly they could fuck it up, but my point remains valid. When all is said and done, will future generations remember the original, timeless RoboCop, or the soulless, wimpy remake churned out by the Hollywood machine?