Action, explosions and… no robosex: Robocop

download (10)ROBOCOP, starring Joel Kinnaman as the robotic detective alongside Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish and Jackie Earl Haley, was a film I thought I’d either love or hate. With most remakes, the expectations are set by their previous films and anyone I asked about this seemed less than excited, to say the least. However, its fairly star-studded cast and sizeable budget gave me hope.

José Padilha’s rendition is a remake of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven film of the same name, which was then been turned into a game a year later. This meant that references to both of its sources were to be expected, but some were a little more subtle than others. The point-of-view camera shots during action scenes gave them a ‘first-person shooter’ kind of feel, something that really took you back to the idea of its video-game roots. However, I found the angles in the first of these scenes to be way too shaky and eventually irritating to watch; even though the tension was there, my focus wasn’t. Instead, I kept feeling annoyed by the movements on screen. My guess is that this was a failed attempt at masking some features to try and keep us guessing, but really it was just distracting.

In the establishing scenes of the film, you’re given a snippet of a sex scene with Alex Murphy and his wife, Clara. Because of this, I couldn’t help but be extremely annoyed that their obvious no-more-sex situation after the incident was never mentioned, with nothing more than a hug being shared by them after his robotic transformation. I’m not saying we need any real details here, but I’m pretty sure that a married man losing basically his entire body is going to have a few questions, and so is his wife. If they were going to leave this topic untouched, they shouldn’t have established their relationship as a sexual one in the beginning. I also felt that more focus was needed on the family in the middle of the film, as many questions are merely avoided. If they are in fact trying to set up a series of films, they should have established the change to the Murphy’s lives with more detail. As for timing, there were definitely a few things that could have been cut in order to accommodate this balance of storyline.

Samuel L. Jackson’s appearance in the film, other than screen time, gave nothing but a couple of swear words. I really hated almost every scene with his character, Pat Novak, and no matter how much I love Mr. Jackson, he really wasn’t needed. I get that you’re supposed to hate the media and the government by the end of the film, but that could have been accomplished without his role. The time wasted on his scenes could have been used to give a more detailed story for Murphy, which I would have definitely preferred.

That being said, I wasn’t displeased by the film as a whole. It had some great action scenes, fairly good character development – even without the details – and I left with a smile on my face. So, if you want to spend a couple of hours grinning at explosions and raging at characters, I’d highly recommend Robocop.