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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Good 3 Stars
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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
You have 20 seconds to complain


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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

WOW EMPIRE,

or shud I say WOWZERS EMPIRE. I woz gona say Hewitt, you wer watching a different movie, but since you described MAJOR PLOT POINTS,no you did see the new rebooted and resuited,absolutely COOL,SMART and quite brutal Robocop. This film is a shining example of when reboots work,in every way! And for all those howlin about 12 cert,go see the movie. It's quite impressive Padihla got away with a 12! The genius that he is. Hope he does the next 1. Empire you need to reboot sum of your staff. Hewitt,DEA... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Snake 4Skin at 00:38, 17 February 2014 | Report This Post


You have 20 secs to apologise for the review.

Man you've never been more wrong in a review in my opinion. Were you in a bad mood? This was a great experience. An intelligent new take on an old film and I was gripped throughout as was the whole audience. I will listen for your apology on the podcast Chris!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Milliemorten at 17:19, 16 February 2014 | Report This Post


Thanks to a likable cast, RoboCop is pretty nifty ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Darren47 at 02:53, 16 February 2014 | Report This Post


Better then the originals

I have to disagree with this review. I really enjoyed this movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Filmphilanthropist at 23:06, 15 February 2014 | Report This Post


RoboCop (2014)

Why did they do it? Why mess with a classic? This film has one main problem which pulls the whole thing down-and that is the script! The story's terrible, why mess with the perfect revenge/sci-fi/deeper-meaning plot and shove the revenge into a tiny segment in the middle? It really pulls the film down. Hats off to the director and cast though who manage to make this version watchable, but whoever set out to make this film a 12A should be shot-the action is just not intense enough. Its a sha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Grimeanator at 21:11, 14 February 2014 | Report This Post


RoboCop (2014)

Why did they do it? Why mess with a classic? This film has one main problem which pulls the whole thing down-and that is the script! The story's terrible, why mess with the perfect revenge/sci-fi/deeper-meaning plot and shove the revenge into a tiny segment in the middle? It really pulls the film down. Hats off to the director and cast though who manage to make this version watchable, but whoever set out to make this film a 12A should be shot-the action is just not intense enough. Its a sha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Grimeanator at 21:11, 14 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: A WORTHY Reboot!!!

Fair play the trailer makes it look pretty good even if it shows the story from begining to end ... More

Posted by SQUATCH at 10:50, 14 February 2014 | Report This Post


A WORTHY Reboot!!!

Director Jose Padilha does a good job here of re-imagining Paul Verhoven's cult classic. Ok, the violence is toned down, but just as exciting in places, the obscene profanity toned down but just as biting in places. What it does lack however is the explosive characters of the original,..but how many classic or recent Sci-fis can compare to that? The canvas in Padilha vision is now broader,..after an intense sequence in Tehran Omini-corp's Robot's are used to push US foreign "Robotic P... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ramone87 at 18:25, 13 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: This film do not deserve this poor rating.

Not the train wreck I thought it would be, but not great either. It's nice to see them taking a different approach to the original, focusing on Murphy's family and the ethics of just how far they should push the man/machine divide, but by the halfway mark even that eventually gives way to a by the numbers action film, without a great deal of action. It's a shame, because it's got a decent cast, reasonable production values and most importantly the right ideas, it just never pulls it off. 2... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by paulyboy at 10:20, 13 February 2014 | Report This Post


This film do not deserve this poor rating.

I read your review and I was doubtful. Actually not doubtful about your review but about the movie itself. Being a real big fan of the first one, I was expecting this movie like a child at Christmas. I surfed around the net to see the very first reviews the very first day they started to be published to start to have a fair opinion. If the consensus was "bad", "tragic" or even "poor", I won't bother to pay 11 euros at the Dublin's IMAX to go and watch it. But... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guillaume at 09:26, 12 February 2014 | Report This Post


I want my money back.....

A lazy Empire review? By a lazy Empire reviewer? I don’t think so. Heat up the old leftovers, stir up the pot a bit and serve it all up again seems to be the motto here. A dead fish in the moonlight. A glossy looking film poster and a snazzy trailer to bring the punters in but ultimately ( if you’re shelling out 10 quid for a cinema ticket ) it all stinks. Two stars was being generous. WHAT ABOUT THE LAZY FILM STUDIO AND THE LAZY FILM MAKERS who are foisting this watered down, seco... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BRAINDRAIN at 17:21, 11 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: But what about THIS movie?

It wasn't all bad but it felt more like a collection of other movie franchises than the original. Batman - Ironman...all in there. This review points it out... ... More

Posted by CaptainYorkshire at 12:37, 11 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

Much better than expected! For a film that doesn't really need to exist, anyway. Of course it lacks the original's violence and humour, but its very different look and feel helps differentiate it and it's certainly isn't kid's stuff. Wouldn't say it was especialy dumbed down either except for the loss of some of the satire. I could have done without the shakycam, though it wasn't as bad as, say, the last half hour of Jack Ryan which I found almost unwatchable. It's better than Robocop 3, anyway... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 21:20, 10 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

I was like everyone else asking myself why ! .I watched it on Saturday I have to say I liked alot of it yes I wish they had made it more adult oriented but a see it as a separate film.I think Michael Keaton stole the show a bit and I also wish there was less of Murphy's family because it made the first half drag a bit and there should never have changed the colour of the suit but having said that I enjoyed it not as much as the original but u can't have everything.I will have one last grumble L... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Teresa76 at 12:20, 10 February 2014 | Report This Post


Far better than expected...

... though admittedly, that still only makes it 'decent'. Pleasantly surprised when I saw it last night. Not as clever or biting as the original, nor as entertaining (also bows out to RoboCop 2), but it's miles ahead of RoboCop 3 and the TV series (shudder). Kinnaman is solid, if not amazing (much better than the trailers show), Oldman is predictably & reliably brilliant, Keaton does what's required but I've seen better from him. Sam Jackson's bits are grating in the first half-hour, but ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by IamtheGoblin at 09:00, 10 February 2014 | Report This Post


It's really not that bad

Watched this last night, quite enjoyed it, despite all the negativity and the 12A rating. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Uncle_Ethan at 19:46, 09 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: To Compare to the original

L: Stiisneej I can't help but feel we focus too much on comparing remakes to originals. But also that we hold originals too dearly in our minds that nothing can ever be better. I have read a number of comments all pointing to the fact that you cant not compare it - but surely, we are mentally capable of watching a film without constantly harping back? Yes, it contains many similar themes that may generate recollection but to so doggedly argue merits seems just (I don't want to say c... More

Posted by ED-209 at 19:44, 09 February 2014 | Report This Post


To Compare to the original

I can't help but feel we focus too much on comparing remakes to originals. But also that we hold originals too dearly in our minds that nothing can ever be better. I have read a number of comments all pointing to the fact that you cant not compare it - but surely, we are mentally capable of watching a film without constantly harping back? Yes, it contains many similar themes that may generate recollection but to so doggedly argue merits seems just (I don't want to say childish, because there... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Stiisneej at 14:56, 09 February 2014 | Report This Post


rubbish

I haven't seen this film yet but just heard that its a bloody 12 rating I won't bother. I might just go and buy the 88 classic version on bluray. So there, bollocks to these so called remakes. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Thomas Odgers at 01:36, 09 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: But what about THIS movie?

Saw this today at Imax. Really enjoyed it and thought it was a really solid movie in its own right. Surprisingly the action is fairly sparse and low key. It's really dark too and definitely not aimed at kids. ... More

Posted by DONOVAN KURTWOOD at 22:43, 08 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Did you watch the same film?

This wasn't half bad. In fact I rather enjoyed it. ... More

Posted by jcthefirst at 21:03, 08 February 2014 | Report This Post


Did you watch the same film?

I had a very different reaction to Empire. I don't know how this was given a 12 rating, with scenes showing Oldman prodding around in Robos brain, and the scene refered to when he is shown as just head, trachea, lungs and hand one of the weirdest, and oddly disturbing, I've seen in a while ( and addresses issues that the original just ignored). Oldman and Keaton are ace, the satire is laid on thick ( 'here in sunny downtown Tehran') and the film is made relevant to our modern, wired in time. Th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by echoroom at 20:41, 08 February 2014 | Report This Post


RE: Robocop

Watched it last night, and as I was quite happy to go in and judge it on its own merits (rather than let my defensive raging boner of justice, for the Verhoeven/Weller original, force me into a state of predetermined hatred) I ended up thoroughly enjoying the movie. Empire's claim of 'zero heart' didn't ring true for me at all, in fact there were some scenes (Murphy first coming to terms with life in the suit springs to mind) which absolutely wipe the floor with a lot of stuff from the origin... More

Posted by captainrentboy at 19:07, 08 February 2014 | Report This Post


EMPIRE IS RIGHT...IT'S SHITE.....

There’s only one Robocop – and his name is Peter Weller - the first and still the best. Joel what’s his face with his fake looking black rubber suit and computer FX assisted acrobatics just doesn’t cut it. An entertaining vacuum by comparison - much like the film itself. And if they didn’t want people to start comparing and complaining then WHY CALL IT ROBOCOP? And why waste 100 million smackeroos remaking a film that‘s already regarded as a classic in the fi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ROTGUT at 17:14, 08 February 2014 | Report This Post


Solid entertainment

Another poor Empire review from a lazy reviewer. I went in expecting a poor movie reboot but I left thoroughly entertained. The pace of the movie was quick, there were good actors in the main roles and they managed to update the story so it didn't just feel like a retread. I recommend it for a dollar! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lelandmeeks at 16:15, 08 February 2014 | Report This Post


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