RoboCop trailer: does no one have a new idea? anyone?

This may be “the future of American justice,” but it is the past of American filmmaking. We’re not only rewinding to 1987 with this, but actually further back than that. The slightly progressive attitude of the original film, with its tough female cop? She’s been turned into a guy for this remake.

But hey, it’s in IMAX, so…

*shoots self*

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LaSargenta
LaSargenta
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 1:50pm

Yeah, I heard this was happening and — of course — I immediately thought “Another Pointless Remake” https://www.flickfilosopher.com/2012/05/question-of-the-day-what-pointless-remake-of-an-old-film-good-bad-or-meh-can-we-expect-hollywood-to-foist-on-us-next.html

LaSargenta
LaSargenta
reply to  LaSargenta
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 3:38pm

MAJ, I just noticed that you haven’t reviewed the original. Any chance of that? (Please let it be greater than a snowball’s chance in hell…)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  LaSargenta
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 10:45pm

I’ve seen it many times and love it.

Maybe I should do Kickstarters to finance reviewing individual old movies…

LaSargenta
LaSargenta
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 10:54pm

I didn’t know Kickstarters could provide you with time!

roflmao

I mean, I know money is an issue, but time is also a very scarce resource for you.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  LaSargenta
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 11:01pm

I’m close to being done with stumbling around trying to hit on something that 100K+ monthly readers will pay for. Gonna have to start getting that up front.

Overflight
Overflight
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 8:48pm

Speaking of which, I just heard about this new service that you might want to take a look at:

https://subbable.com/faq

In any case, I subscribed via TinyPass :-)

MisterAntrobus
MisterAntrobus
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 3:03pm

No Paul Verhoeven, no Peter Weller, no Basil Poledouris score, no sense of humor . . . no point.

Emil Hyde
Emil Hyde
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 4:07pm

As someone who deplores the creative bankruptcy behind the recent spate of remakes… I’m relatively, guardedly optimistic about this one mainly because of director Jose Padhila, whose ELITE SQUAD movies were like BAD BOYS with a higher-than average IQ and acute political conscience. It’s also promising how they seem to have tinkered with the fundamental premise of the film (he’s a cyborg, yes, but in this case 100% aware of his condition and still in touch with his family) that at least opens the possibility that this will provide a fresh take.

But, overall – give me a DREDD sequel instead of this, or more Rian Johnson / Duncan Jones / Neil Blomkamp originals.

Jurgan
Jurgan
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 4:11pm

This is so pointless because the original doesn’t need remaking to be relevant. Just re-release the original and it’s maybe even more believable than it was in the 80’s- change the company’s name to Halliburton and it could be a news report. Oh, but “let’s try it in black-” like Batman! Yeah, that’s what the kids like!

LaSargenta
LaSargenta
reply to  Jurgan
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 4:34pm

Blackwater!

Emil Hyde
Emil Hyde
reply to  Jurgan
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 5:38pm

That was my feeling upon re-watching the original a few months ago.

Emil Hyde
Emil Hyde
reply to  Jurgan
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 5:54pm

The only thing that feels dated is its vision of “sleazy” future television being kind of like Benny Hill, though in fairness there was no way they could have anticipated the sleaziness of Jersey Shore.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 5:04pm

Sure there’s an idea here:

Let’s take RoboCop, and systematically remove or subvert anything that raised it its modicum above “cheesy ’80s action”: ultra-violence, extreme vulgarity, body horror, political satire, inventive futurism. I’m not seeing a whole lot of evidence of any of these, at their Verhoven levels, in this trailer.

I mean, just compare these two images:
Alex Murphy in the remake:
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18zchjqhpnj5ijpg/original.jpg
Alex Murphy in the original:
http://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18zcszcbkm7pcjpg/original.jpg

See how horrifying Murphy looks in the original, how uncomfortable that makeup must have been for Peter Weller? The new version looks exactly like what it is: a male model in a suit.

Emil Hyde
Emil Hyde
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 5:41pm

The original was sort of a Frankenstein story. Robocop was kind of scary – both physically and in terms of what he represented – but the real monsters were his creators.

Emil Hyde
Emil Hyde
reply to  Emil Hyde
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 5:42pm

That said, it’s worth noting that – in the new one – he’s more of a passenger inside this autonomous drone versus the original, where he was fully integrated into and subsumed by his circuitry.

LaSargenta
LaSargenta
reply to  Emil Hyde
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 5:46pm

There was a palpable level of paranoia in the film, too. I remember watching it (finally) on vhs one day when not feeling well as a guest in someone’s home in Van Nuys…a place I felt pretty isolated in. The neighbors on that cul-de-sac never appeared in the yard(s), sprinklers turned on automatically, people used electronic garage door openers and exited within closed garages, lights turned on by timers in the houses and I never saw anyone during the week I was there. My hosts said they didn’t know their neighbors mostly and they had been there for two years at that point. The one time I tried to walk anywhere, a police car slowed down to check me out. I guess I was safe enough for them, white, young, female, not too scruffy-looking. That film made me even more nervous that day. I was so happy when people came home that evening.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  LaSargenta
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 7:40pm

It’s not hard to feel isolated in Van Nuys. I mean, Los Angeles in general can be pretty isolating, but for some reason, the central Valley (from Roscoe Blvd to Victory Blvd, and from Laurel Canyon to Topanga Canyon) is particularly bad in my experience.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Emil Hyde
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 7:32pm

Just so.

Patrick
Patrick
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 7:53pm

This looks like just as barren a remake as Total Recall was just a year ago. So, to complete the desecration of Verhoven’s SF Trilogy, are they going to remake Starship Troopers and strip it of all its satire? All signs point to “yes”.

Subtext, subversion, and subtlety does not put butts in seats, I guess.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  Patrick
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 9:32pm

Actually, a straight version of Starship Troopers would make a lotof people happy.

Tonio Kruger
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 2:00am

Filipinos, for example…

MisterAntrobus
MisterAntrobus
reply to  Patrick
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 1:26am

Oh, well, at least Flesh + Blood will always be obscure enough that nobody will want to remake it.

FormerlyKnownAsBill
FormerlyKnownAsBill
Mon, Sep 09, 2013 9:15pm

eh, it had me at Michael Keaton. just take my money, hollywood machine.

Lance Christian Johnson
Lance Christian Johnson
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 12:14am

They should have waited at least as long as the remakes of “The Maltese Falcon” before making this remake.

Honestly though, as a big fan of the original, I think that this looks interesting. It seems different enough to warrant the remake, yet it seems to be developing a lot of the same themes that separated the original from your standard action film.

singlestick
singlestick
reply to  Lance Christian Johnson
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 5:18pm

RE: They should have waited at least as long as the remakes of “The Maltese Falcon” before making this remake.

Sly movie reference? Very good.

John Huston’s “Maltese Falcon” was the third film version of the story, all within a 10 year period. I guess that this means that this new Robocop will be a masterpiece.

Tonio Kruger
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 1:59am

It was not that original. Back in the 1970s, science fiction authors Harlan Ellison and James Blish fought a plagarism suit over a TV series called Future Cop, a series about a — gasp! — a robotic cop whose creators were alleged to have stolen their premise from Ellison and Blish’s short story named “Brillo” –also about a robotic cop. And said story was published in 1970.

That said, what goes around comes around. The original Robocop got its share of bad reviews from critics, especially ones in the sci-fi community. Indeed, I can think of quite a few sci-fi films released in the 1980s that got quite horrendous reviews back in the 1980s yet are considered “classics” today.

Then again a would-be girlfriend of mine once admitted to falling asleep during the much-praised sci-fi classic Brazil so what do I know?

amanohyo
amanohyo
reply to  Tonio Kruger
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 10:22am

Brazil contains three of my favorite scenes, and I’ve fallen asleep during the movie twice in the theater and once at home. The visuals are great as in all of Gilliam’s movies; however, the pacing is mostly awful (although I suppose the relentless cyclical monotony dovetails well with the bureaucratic theme).

Gilliam’s plots have OCD – they pace in tight circles without developing themes or characters. His visuals are trippy and dreamlike (more than I can say for Nolan), but in actual dreams the sudden transitions trace a path defined by a strange kind of emotional logic. Gilliam is uninterested in making smooth transitions of this kind – I wouldn’t be surprised if he was mildly autistic (Asperger’s maybe?).

That said, he’s a great director when telling stories from a child’s perspective or when paired with a writer who has a complimentary skillset (Stoppard, despite his many other talents as a writer, is emotionally deaf in a similar way).

Regarding Robocop, it’s a shame they made Lewis a dude – she was the most original aspect of the movie for me. I had already read about robot crimefighters – as you point out the idea was well-explored in sci-fi by the 80’s – but a lady cop who dressed just like the guys and seemed genuinely capable of kicking ass? That blew my tiny tween mind! Aliens made a big deal about Vasquez being a buff, manly lady, but Robocop seemed much more nonchalant about Lewis, like her being a woman was no big deal.

Imagine if these filmmakers had the ovaries to make Alex Murphy a woman along with making Lewis a man. That one simple change would have the potential to introduce a slew of new themes and controversies, especially if they maintained the level of violence of the original. Imagine a female Robocop throwing Boddicker through plate glass or getting mowed down by a horde of cops in a parking garage. It would allow an exploration of violence against women, and women in combat roles that remained largely unexplored in the first movie. I’m not saying the added complication would necessarily make a better movie or even a good one, but it might. At the very least the controversy of the switch would generate some headlines (and some extra ticket sales).

It seems like yet another missed opportunity for a meaningful remake by nine producers and four writers: Nick Schenk (Gran Torino), David Self (Road to Perdition), James Vanderbilt (White House Down), and Josua Zetumer (no previous writing credits). Four writers – always a good sign. But as always, we must hope for the best.

Tonio Kruger
reply to  amanohyo
Thu, Sep 12, 2013 10:42pm

Well, the woman I mentioned as having fallen asleep during Brazil was a young art student who worked at a local book store so she didn’t exactly strike me as the type of mindless philistine I would expect to fall asleep during such a flick. (And, of course, you don’t match that image either. I hope that goes without saying.)

That said, thanks for your analysis. The orginal point of the anecdote in my original post was supposed to be that even smart people can have radically different ideas of what constitutes a good movie but I suppose I should have clarified that better. Perhaps I have OCD issues of my own…

I still have much affection for Brazil. Perhaps because I first saw it on VHS so I could afford to treat it like a Russian novel and just shut it off when it came to a good stopping place. More likely because I see something new in it every time I view it. (SPOILERS For example, the obvious Walter Mitty references as well as the way it takes the Walter Mitty theme to as dark a conclusion as an American director can possibly get away with.)

I wish I could summon up the same affection for Robocop but for reasons I have mentioned on other threads that I don’t wish to repeat here since I’m dangerously close to AsimovLives territory as it is, I don’t.

I would have liked to have seen the same changes in Robocop that you mentioned. If nothing else, it could not have helped but be an improvement.
Of course, after seeing female cops in Police Woman and Miami Vice, I probably did not see Nancy Allen’s character as being that amazing back in 1987. But then perhaps even that was a sign that the times were a-changing…

I really doubt the remake will be an improvement since it has been a long time since I saw a remake that was better than the original. The closest that come to mind are Casino Royale — a more serious remake of the 1960s Bond spoof of the same name — and Chicago — a musical version of an old 1940s Ginger Rogers flick called Roxie Hart. Of course, I might have forgotten something. If so, I’m sure someone on this thread will remind me.

singlestick
singlestick
Tue, Sep 10, 2013 5:10pm

Creatively, the movie looks like a mess. The new Robocop character himself looks a lot like the latest Batman in terms of costuming and armor. Not a good sign.

But I suppose I just felt sad, because the real Detroit is falling apart as chunks of the economy continue to decay. A truly gripping remake that was something more than a blow-em-up thrill machine would have to be more bitingly satirical than the original.