Robocrap | The Hollywood Redux Podcast | Episode 113
Sit in The Writers’ Room as the group watches and discusses the new Robocop remake and the originals.
Listen to the sweet tunes by pressing play:
About Robocop (2014)
RoboCop is a 2014 American cyberpunk action film directed by José Padilha and written by Joshua Zetumer, Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. It is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name also written by Neumeier and Miner. The film stars Joel Kinnaman as the title character, with Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish and Jackie Earle Haley in supporting roles.
Screen Gems first announced a remake in 2005, but it was halted one year later. Darren Aronofsky and David Self were originally assigned to direct and write the film, respectively, for a tentative 2010 release. The film was delayed numerous times, and Padilha signed on in 2011. In March 2012, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (successor company to Orion Pictures until September 11, 2014, the studio that released the original film) announced an August 2013 release, but that was then changed to February 2014. The principal characters were cast from March to July 2012. Principal photography began in September 2012 in Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, with additional locations in Hamilton, in Canada, and Detroit in the United States.
The film was released in the United States on February 12, 2014. RoboCop received mixed reviews, with praise for the performances, updates, style and political/media satire, but criticism for its lack of violence, social satire and humor compared to the original film, and grossed $242 million against its $100 million budget.
In 2028, multinational conglomerate OmniCorp revolutionizes warfare with the introduction of robotic peacekeepers capable of maintaining law and order in hot spots such as Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. Led by CEO Raymond Sellars, the company moves to market its tech to domestic law enforcement, but the passage of the Dreyfus Act, forbidding deployment of drones on U.S. soil, prevents this. Aware that most Americans oppose the use of military systems in their communities, Sellars asks Dr. Dennett Norton and his research team to create an alternative. The result is a proposal for a cyborg police officer. However, Norton informs Sellars that only someone who is stable enough to handle being a cyborg can be turned into one, and some candidates are rejected.
A Detroit police detective, Alex Murphy, is chosen after he is critically injured in a car bomb explosion arranged by crime boss Antoine Vallon in revenge for Murphy’s investigation into his activities. Norton persuades Murphy’s wife Clara to sign off on the procedure. Upon waking up and realizing the extent of his transformation, Murphy flies into a rage and escapes from the lab, but Norton shuts him down and brings him back to the lab. As Norton reveals to Murphy that the only remnants of his human body are most of his head (excluding parts of the brain), his respiratory organs, his heart, and his right hand, Murphy is disgusted, and asks for euthanasia. Norton reminds Murphy about his wife’s and son’s patience, and convinces him to live on. During combat training with trainer Rick Mattox, Murphy proves unable to compete with the standard OmniCorp drones in efficiency. Norton alters his programming to make him more efficient by having drone programming take over his actions, but make him think they are his. This increases his efficiency dramatically, but also makes him less empathetic due to his human nature being bypassed.
Shortly before he is to be publicly unveiled, Murphy has an emotional breakdown, forcing Norton to remove his emotions. During the ceremony, RoboCop identifies and apprehends a criminal in the crowd. He goes on to reduce crime in Detroit dramatically, simultaneously increasing public support for repealing the Dreyfus Act. Aware that Clara has begun to ask questions, Sellars orders Norton to keep her away from her husband.
Clara nevertheless manages to confront RoboCop, telling him of their son David’s nightmares. The experience leads Murphy to override his programming and access the previously sealed files on his attempted murder. From them, he learns his son was devastated after witnessing the explosion. Murphy pursues Vallon’s gang to exact revenge. He takes heavy damage from their armor-piercing weapons, but manages to kill the boss and his men. Murphy returns to the station and joins with his old partner, Jack Lewis, to confront the two corrupt cops who betrayed him to Vallon, shooting one and tazing the other. Learning that the Chief of Police was also involved, Murphy moves to arrest her, but is remotely shut down by Mattox.
With the help of Pat Novak, a pro-OmniCorp talk show host, Sellars uses the incident to get the Dreyfus Act repealed. Clara goes to the press and angrily demands to see her husband. Fearful of being exposed, Sellars orders Mattox to destroy RoboCop while he’s being repaired. Norton is able to reach him first and reveals the truth. RoboCop narrowly escapes from the building just as it undergoes lockdown.
Murphy returns and storms the building, fighting his way through the ED-209 drones sent to stop him, while Lewis and his fellow police arrive to hold off the rest of OmniCorp’s forces. Mattox subdues Murphy and prepares to finish him off, but is killed by Lewis. Murphy then makes his way to the roof where Sellars is waiting for a helicopter with Clara and David as hostages. Murphy’s programming initially prevents him from arresting Sellars, but he overcomes it long enough to kill Sellars despite being severely wounded.
OmniCorp’s parent company, OCP, shuts down the project. The President vetoes the repeal of the Dreyfus Act based on the testimony of Norton, to Novak’s anger. Murphy’s body is rebuilt in Norton’s laboratory, and he waits for Clara and David, who are coming to visit him.