In 1987 the original Paul Verhoeven film Robocop came to cinemas. Set in a future world overrun by criminals and somewhat dehumanized by science this new world was in some instances blackly comic. The film used over-the-top violence and sly humor via television commercials to help sell the film’s vision of the future. Hollywood is continuing its current trend of remaking old popular films and they are going back to the future to re-imagine this cult classic.
It starred Peter Weller as Robocop, aka Officer Alex J. Murphy; Nancy Allen as his female partner Anne Lewis; and Ronnie Cox as the as the Omni Consumer Products (OCP) senior president who turns out to be a wolf in not very sheepish clothing. The crime ridden world is protected by the OCP private police force. Murphy is shot to ragdoll ribbons by a drug gang run by Clarence Boddicker, played by Kurtwood Smith – who is better known these days as Red Foreman in That 70s Show.
Murphy’s shattered body is taken into OCP and transformed into the world’s first cyber-cop. The film follows Murphy’s journey as he rediscovers himself inside the robotic body he has been given.
The original film was commercial hit. Positive Word of mouth guaranteed the film’s success and it went on to be nominated for several Oscars and won for Best Special Effects Editing. It was included in Empire magazine’s list of the 500 Best Movies of all time.
When the 1987 film was released, only Nancy Allen could have been considered a household name. The movie propelled Peter Weller’s career. Purists and fans of the original have given mixed signals about the remake and the release of the first official trailer for the 2014 remake has continued to divide opinion. But Hollywood going back to the 1980s version of the future does make sense. In actuality, we are that imagined future.
It remains to be seen if actor Joel Kinnaman will benefit from his time in the suit, but being a fan of the original, he said at Comic-Con International this year that he’s been practising for the part for years.
He also spoke of the fact that the world’s ideas of robotics in the 1980s was very different than it is in the 2000s. And it would be. Robotics are a part of everyday life in this time period. The Japanese have come up with robots that actually look and act human.
So it is a little amazing that the decision was made to follow the original concept of Robocop. They have stuck to the same “metal-man” type outfit with a change in the “helmet.” Complaints have been made that in the trailer the helmet makes a noise.
But the helmet is not the only change. Robocop has also had a color makeover. The cast is a bit better known in this updated version of the 1987 film as well with Samuel L Jackson, Michael Keaton and Abbie Cornish star with Kinnaman in the remake.
The other change, noticed in the trailer, is that Mrs Murphy apparently has a bigger part to play in this new imaging of the film. Robocop is due to open in cinemas on February 7, 2014 and some of the other things that will be different is the way the motorized cop walks.
Kinnaman said that there was a conscious decision to make his movement more “superhuman” versus all robotic. While fans of the original will no doubt not be too pleased by any changes, we are excited to be going back to future for this particular remake. The trailer looks impressive and it gives feels like it might be as much fun as the original. Watch the trailer below and see what you think.
By Michael Smith