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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Gary Oldman
Joel Kinnaman
Samuel L Jackson
Abbie Cornish
Michael Keaton.
Directors
José Padilha.
Screenwriters
James Vanderbilt.
Running Time
118 minutes

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Robocop
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Plot
Maimed by a bomb, detective Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) becomes the future of law enforcement — a cyborg cop. But he soon finds it’s not easy being grey. And then black.


Review
Robocop
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When the So Bad It’s Good Society comes to evaluate José Padilha’s RoboCop for membership, its star witness will be a scene found roughly halfway through. It involves the film’s hero, Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), just after he’s been blown up and encased in his life-saving metal suit. Murphy asks his creator, Dr. Norton (Gary Oldman) how bad his situation really is. Norton, reluctantly, shows him, as robots remove first Alex’s legs, then his arms, then his torso, revealing him finally as nothing more than a wailing head above a pair of CG lungs and a disembodied hand, floating around randomly. Sadly, the scene doesn’t end with Norton telling Alex that he can still play the piano.

It’s awful, and symptomatic of the problems that dog Padilha’s reboot of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 classic. No heart, no balls, no funny bone.

The original was a sharp, funny, brutally violent action thriller full of pointed Verhoevian satire, this time of the media and big business. Seen as a tacky Terminator rip-off initially, it was quickly re-evaluated by the So Good It’s Good Society.

Yet there’s a sense that Padilha, or perhaps his corporate overlords, don’t really get what made the original so special. So out goes the scalpel-sharp satire, in comes hammer-heavy swipes at US foreign policy, mainly delivered by a ranting Samuel L. Jackson as a TV personality, waving his hands aimlessly around a green-screen set like a cross between Jeremy Paxman and Wincey Willis. Out goes the gut-busting violence, replaced by undercooked, over-CGed action scenes. And, more importantly, out goes the original’s central drive, which saw a machine slowly remember what it was like to be a man, replaced by an overwrought and melodramatic storyline in which Kinnaman’s bland Murphy tries to reintegrate himself with his wife (Abbie Cornish, crying so hard that she’s 90 per cent salt by the film’s end), and wondering what it truly means to be human.

There’s nothing wrong, of course, with sci-fi films asking Big Questions, but the delivery doesn’t have to be — should never be, in fact — this tedious.


Verdict
Throughout, one character refers to the new RoboCop as ‘Tin Man’ and to the film’s credit, it desperately wants to have a heart. Oh, if it only had a brain.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Robocop
Empire Star Rating

Lacklustre

Without making comparison, this is just another lacklustre thriller with few thrills, bland action, terrible music choices as mentioned, and very little to recommend it. It'll pass the time and Gary Oldman is good, but it's a pretty forgettable experience. When comparing it to the original, everything that made the '87 film something more than "one of those 80s action films" is missing here - the humour, the satire, the cartoon violence, the originality, the fantastic characters...oh, ... More

Posted by Vitamin F at 13:12, 03 July 2014 | Report This Post


I actually quite enjoyed it

Yes the trendy lefty politics was as ham fisted as it always is with Hollywood: Corporations = evil incarnate; small family units = the greatest thing in the universe. But it was good fun! The action scenes were good, and there were enough nods to the original to keep me smiling. It didn't change my view of the universe but it was an enjoyable couple of hours :) just what you need after a crap day at work and a couple of beers :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DanTDavies at 11:42, 27 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

L: rich weird and awful music choices his was what stuck out for me more than anything. Some truly bizarre choices in music. Seemingly as if intended to create some sort of unease but failing miserably. ... More

Posted by UTB at 08:14, 21 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

No character arc, no subtext, phoned in acting and tedious action sequences, this is no good even without the weird and awful music choices and the script problems - forget the whole remake drama, an adult rating would not save this from simply being a bad film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rich at 01:15, 21 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

Oh I see you are all coming out of the woodwork now! ... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 23:15, 16 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

Bored senseless watching this , our 'hero' was a total non entity (the scenes with him discovering he was just a pair of lungs and a head, and the one of him running off through the rice fields before tripping arse over tit were laughable, not the Greek tragedy which I'm assuming we were supposed to think we were witnessing). The scenes with his son just made me think of Anchorman 2 - the scenes between Ron Burgundy and his son saying he didn't want to drink steaming hot horse piss had fa... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Indio at 22:31, 16 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

Better check this movie sometime. I missed it in its showing period. ... More

Posted by Imperion at 16:33, 16 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

Saw this with my 14 year son. - both of us were bored to senseless ... More

Posted by fw190 at 10:41, 16 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

The best thing I can say about the film is that Gary Oldman, michael Keaton amd Abbie Cornish were good. But the film had no real action in it and there was not a strong bad guy. Over all this was a badly wasted opportunity. ... More

Posted by NCC1701A at 09:09, 16 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

Shite. One of the few times that lately that i 100% agree with Empires review. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cool Breeze at 14:44, 14 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

It lacks the satirical bite of the original and is a relatively bland action film but it is a diverting enough way to while away a couple of hours if you have nothing better to do. ... More

Posted by sanchia at 11:15, 14 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

Robocock. ... More

Posted by chris kilby at 10:10, 14 June 2014 | Report This Post


Yeah, I'd Buy That For A Dollar

I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, to be honest; don't pre-judge it because it ain't an 18 like I did. The throughline of 21st Century creeping Big Brother was a particular highlight. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Litshttam at 20:07, 11 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

good movie, i am big fan of action movie, robocop is a movie which is full of action ... More

Posted by emmacook at 10:47, 02 June 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Enjoyable

Pretty damn good remake ... More

Posted by SQUATCH at 10:26, 29 May 2014 | Report This Post


Enjoyable

Too harsh Empire! If you consider this a film in its own right, it's perfectly enjoyable. I'd give it 3.5/5. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by scarab_khepri at 20:03, 13 May 2014 | Report This Post


Robocrap

Totally agree 100% with Chris on this review. It's just all wrong. The lead character is awful, there's no real heart here, no real humour. Maybe I'm just being a fanboy of the original, but yeah, they've pretty much missed the point of what made the original so brilliant in the first place. Two stars, and that feels generous. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr. Anderson at 00:06, 12 May 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

I still think this film would have been better with a R rating and a stronger criminal threat but for what we got with PG-13 I have to admit that I liked it. 4/5 Good s of Lee ... More

Posted by Evertonized at 19:38, 09 March 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

I dunno. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't the best action film. I liked the updates they did to it. You can check out this review here. It made me laugh. obocop review ... More

Posted by filmigos at 02:25, 06 March 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

The very idea of remaking something as passionate as RoboCop would cause an uproar from fans of Paul Verhoeven’s classic 1987 sci-fi action satire. Following the mixed-resulted remake of Total Recall and there are future plans of rebooting the brilliantly fascistic militaristic bug-fest Starship Troopers, fans would’ve expected the worse out of this 2014 version of RoboCop. However, they will be surprised. Critically injured from a car bomb, Detroit police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnama... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 19:07, 01 March 2014 | Report This Post


Good Cop Bad Cop

I think this is a pretty accurate review, inevitable comparisons to the original, which beats this film for pathos, tension and thrills. This versions was, like the Samuel Jackson character ham fisted in almost everyway and the action was pedestrian by today's standards. Interesting that you highlight the part where Murphy is shown the extent of his transformation completely takes away his humanity (and like you say, the film's) because beforehand he was a taciturn, painted by numbers neo-macho ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MrGigolo at 22:38, 25 February 2014 | Report This Post


Poor

Kind of put of by the announcement of the 12A rating I mean how about have all 80's hardcore rated films to be 12A whats left for hollywood to ruin (Commando, Predator, Raw Deal, Aliens) The problems are with the main lead miscast , tone has been turned down and the emotional core of the original was that murphy was trying to find identity in the world. In this its like the filmmakers aren't sure where the story is going I suspect the studio pushing the around with director. By the end of it... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WozisWoz at 19:36, 23 February 2014 | Report This Post


Poor

Kind of put of by the announcement of the 12A rating I mean how about have all 80's hardcore rated films to be 12A whats left for hollywood to ruin (Commando, Predator, Raw Deal, Aliens) The problems are with the main lead miscast , tone has been turned down and the emotional core of the original was that murphy was trying to find identity in the world. In this its like the filmmakers aren't sure where the story is going I suspect the studio pushing the around with director. By the end of it... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WozisWoz at 19:36, 23 February 2014 | Report This Post


RoboSlop

Absolute and utter rubbish. Make no mistake, the worst sci-fi movie since Battlefield Earth. Has no elements that made the 1987 movie so fantastic, but worse than that, it treats its audience like 12 year old boys...so the 12 rating is quite apt for this tosh. AVOID AVOID AVOID. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Azzurro06 at 19:38, 19 February 2014 | Report This Post


RoboSlop

Absolute and utter rubbish. Make no mistake, the worst sci-fi movie since Battlefield Earth. Has no elements that made the 1987 movie so fantastic, but worse than that, it treats its audience like 12 year old boys...so the 12 rating is quite apt for this tosh. AVOID AVOID AVOID. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Azzurro06 at 19:38, 19 February 2014 | Report This Post


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