Robocop Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley
  • Director: José Padilha
  • Writers: Joshua Zetumer, Edward Neumeier, Michael Miner
  • Producers: Marc Abraham, Eric Newman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • Release Date: June 3, 2014
  • Run Time: 117 minutes

  •         The original 1987 Robocop franchise was science-fiction action, with equal emphasis on both genres built evenly into Paul Verhoeven’s dark cult hit. Much of the darkness remains in José Padilha’s remake, as well as the action, but rather than blend the two genres together, they stay separate from each other. This makes for a few high-octane action sequences void of much significance beyond the eye candy, and a remaining film that aligns more with classic Hollywood horror creature-features more than anything else. There is certainly a lot of intelligent discussion and political allegories amidst the screenplay written by Joshua Zetumer, and then rewritten by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner, but none of it blends with the genre aspects of the film. Basically, this Robocop is either fun or intelligent, but never both at the same time.   


            Part of what drags this film further into the horror genre is the additional significance placed on the “mad scientist” (played by a very sympathetic Gary Oldman) whose experiments result in a second chance at life for Detroit police detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman). After being blown up by a car bomb, Murphy awakes to find himself no more than a few remaining pieces. Placed inside a robotic body, Murphy becomes Robocop, created to be an icon for the political vote on cyber policing to be legalized in the United States. This would be an okay excuse, if only we were permitted more time watching Robocop actually becoming a hero. Instead, too much of the film becomes about the scientific adjustments needed to assure Robocop’s abilities and skills are not hindered by his human traits.


            The political discussions about the legalization of the robots in law enforcement, which is mostly voiced in the narrative through an unrelated outspoken TV personality (played by Samuel L. Jackson), and the morally-void business characteristics in the CEO of the company that built Robocop (played by Michael Keaton) are the only thing to balance the film’s preoccupation with torturing Murphy with the scientific adjustments that slowly strip away his humanity. It is no surprise that the action sequences seem crammed in, because this Robocop tries too hard to say too many things, forgetting how to have fun along the way. Maybe there is a more balanced cut out there somewhere, but this film is too uneven to be either good or entertaining enough to recommend.


            The Blu-ray combo pack comes with a DVD and digital copy of the film on two discs. There are not many special features, and what there is couldn’t be more generic or disappointing. There is a fake announcement from OmniCorp, a featurette about the adaptation of the cult classic, and a handful of unnecessary deleted scenes.


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10

    Historical Significance:  5/10

    Special Features: /10

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