And so here comes another reboot of another blockbuster series full of state of the art special effects and spectacular battles, but RoboCop is also a little bit different.
For a start, this is a blockbuster with a brain, taking lots of telling (and funny) sideswipes at multi-billion dollar corporations, tub-thumping, liberal-hating neo-Con TV commentators and men who would rule the world.
What stays the same is the original premise – a good, decent cop (Joel Kinnaman) takes down some bad guys and they come gunning for him, blowing his body to smithereens. But, with the financial weight of the mighty Omnicorp at his disposal, Dr Robert Norton (Gary Oldman on great form) can rebuild him – as RoboCop, the law enforcement officer of the future.
Or so Omnicorp’s CEO Raymond Sellers (Michael Keaton making a welcome return to our screens) hopes, because if he and TV pundit Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson at his funniest and most biting) have their way, every city in the whole wide world will have its own corps of RoboCops, ensuring Omnicorp’s world domination.
Hey, what’s to worry about when men of steel are keeping the streets safe?
Well, things like liberty and freedom and simple human feeling as RoboCop’s increasingly marginalised wife finds. This is where the film kind of falls down. Because when it’s all testosterone, hardcore hardware and firepower, RoboCop is the daddy, with director Jose Padilha going in all guns blazing. But it can’t ever really get to the heart of what makes us human; what makes us what we are.
The film’s other slight malfunction is that although it looks spectacular and the special effects really are special, the story doesn’t really go anywhere at all – it just kind of whimpers out.
But, of course, none of that matters, for if RoboCop makes a killing at the box office it will once again turn into a franchise. RoboCops 2 and 3 anyone?