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Technofiction review of

Robocop (2014)

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright February 2014


Robocop was a curiously mixed bag. It was about half-and-half between commentary on social issues, and first person video shoot-um-up. Given all the smash and crash and heart-string tugging, it worked better than I expected. The Technofiction aspect -- exploring how a new technology will affect how we live -- was strong enough to carry the movie for me.


Note: I saw the 1987 Robocop when it came out, but it was not memorable. I will be discussing this film based on its own merits.

The first good news about this movie was seeing veteran actors Jackson, Oldham and Keaton strutting their stuff. They all did good jobs. Further good news was that the story let them do so. It handled boardroom dynamics in a belief suspending way.

Further, it also handled Oldham as a researching scientist well. I liked watching the surprises as he worked with this new technology, and watching him try to adapt to these surprises and make things work better.

Beyond that, the interior sets worked well, and I liked how big display screens and small smart phones were worked into the story.

The pacing was better than I expected, and the story dodges a lot of formulaic action movie cliches. One example at the end of the movie: The rescuing helicopter pilots only have to see Robocop on the roof to decide this isn't a good time for them to land.

Robocop is SWAT team on steroids. I will suspend disbelief that all this violence is going to be the heart of police work fifteen years from now.

Those were the good parts. Next we have what didn't work for me.

o The portrayal of violence throughout the movie didn't work. It was inconsistent, way too primitive, given that these were times with robot warriors and lots of surveillance.

o In the same vein, the camera equipment being used by the news people in the first scenes was too primitive. We have go cameras today and this is taking place fifteen years from now.

o Having the combat scenarios when Alex is first getting implemented as Robocop was neat, but the final test where he is up against twenty-odd opponents in an abandoned warehouse didn't work for me at all. This was pure computer game.

o Why is Robocop using pistols? This is the best these designers can come up with for a weapon on a robot chassis?

o Alex's home seems impoverished by 2028 standards. ...But then again, this is Detroit. [grin] I think this is a case of taking the "he's just an ordinary guy" concept and pushing it too far. This should have been handled differently.


Robocop turned into an interesting mixed bag for me. Some of it was quite well handled, but mixed in with that was a lot of ho-hum first person shoot-um-up that should have stayed in the computer game version.

-- The End --


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