By Will Barber – Taylor
In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the centre of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years – and it’s meant billions for OmniCorp’s bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it. When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a loving husband, father and good cop is doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.
RoboCop, like the original film, is a film of its time. While set in the future it emphasises what the future would look like in the time it was set. In the 80s and 90s this was a gritty, violent dystopian future. The future seen in 2014’s Robocop is more one we would recognize. With references to Iraq and Afghanistan and the satire of Fox News style channels it is clear that this is a Robocop of our own time.
The film, while having satirical and social commentary elements to it is generally an action film. The plot follows Detective Murphy who after being injured and turned into RoboCop by OmniCorp goes on a quest to find the man who destroyed his life. This is the film’s backbone but its real heat lies with the machinations of OmniCorp’s CEO Raymond Sellars, (Michael Keaton) and his media cohort Pat Novak (Samuel L Jackson). Both Jackson and Keaton are at the heart of the film; it is thanks to their plotting and attempts to create a “better America” that RoboCop is not only created but very nearly destroyed. This dynamic is brilliantly shown particularly in the scene in which Novak invites Sellars onto his show to debate whether the RoboCop scheme can work with an anti RoboCop fraction. The way Novak manages to dodge the anti RoboCop questions is brilliantly shown and helps demonstrate how much of a media manipulator Novak is.
Overall RoboCop is a great action film mixed with social satire featuring some fantastic acting from Keaton and Jackson in particular. It is a fun and fantastic film which, while not as original and ground breaking as the 80s original, is still one of the best and most interesting action films of the decade.