Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Treading water at the very surface of RoboCop, there is an idea. A dense concept, ready and willing to provide no dearth of dissection for any eager student of philosophy, psychology, political science, physics — hell, any of the Ps. To simplify the idea on hand: What separates man from machine? It's a question that is not just teased by the basic premise of José Padilha's remake of the 1987 sci-fi staple, but asked outright by many of its main characters. And then never really worried about again.
We have principal parties on both sides of the ethical quandary that would place the security of our crime-ridden cities in the hands of automatons. Samuel L. Jackson plays a spitfire Bill O'Reilly who wonders why America hasn't lined its streets with high-efficiency officer droids. Zach Grenier, as a moralistic senator, gobbles his way through an opposition to the Pro-boCop movement. We hear lecture after lecture from pundits, politicians, business moguls (a money-hungry Michael Keaton heads the nefarious OmniCorp...) and scientists (...while his top doc Gary Oldman questions the nature of his assignments while poking at patients' brains and spouting diatribes about "free will"), all working their hardest to lay thematic groundwork. Each character insists that we're watching a movie about the distinction between human and artificial intelligence. That even with an active brain, no robot can understand what it means to have a heart. But when Prof. Oldman tempers his hysterical squawking and Samuel L. Hannity rolls his closing credits, we don't see these ideas taking life.
In earnest, the struggle of rehabilitated police officer Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) — nearly killed in the line of duty and turned thereafter into OmniCorp's prototype RoboCop — doesn't seem to enlist any of the questions that his aggravated peers have been asking. Murphy is transformed not just physically, but mentally — robbed of his decision-making ability and depleted of emotional brain chemicals — effectively losing himself in the process. But the journey we see take hold of Murphy is not one to reclaim his soul, although the movie touts it as such. It's really just one to become a better robot.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Meanwhile, RoboCop lays down its motives, and hard: Murphy's wife and son (Abbie Cornish and a puckish young John Paul Ruttan) lament the loss of Alex, condemning his dehumanization at the hands of Raymond Sellars' (Keaton) capitalistic experiments, and sobbing out some torrential pathos so you know just how deep this company is digging. Weaselly stooges (Jay Baruchel, Jennifer Ehle, and Jackie Earl Haley) line the OmniCorp roster with comical wickedness. Overseas, killer combat bots take down peaceful villages, unable to work empathetic judgment into their decision to destroy all deemed as "threats." And at the top, figures of power and money like Sellars and Pat Novak (Jackson) speak the loudest and harshest, literally justifying their agenda with a call for all naysayers to "stop whining." Clearly, RoboCop has something to say.
The best player in the World for movie trailers, Hollywood interviews and movie clips.
And when it's devoted to its outrage, RoboCop is terrifically charming. The buzzing political world is just a tiny step closer to ridiculous than our own; the pitch meetings at OmniCorp are fun enough to provoke a ditching of all the material outside of the company walls. And one particular reference to The Wizard of Oz shows that the movie isn't above having fun with its admittedly silly premise. But it loses its magic when it steps away from goofy gimmicks and satirical monologues and heads back into the story. We don't see enough of Murphy grappling with the complicated balance between his conflicting organic and synthetic selves. In fact, we don't see enough "story" in Murphy at all. First, he's a dad and a cop. Then, he's a RoboCop. But can he also be a RoboDad? With all of its ranting and raving about the question, the film doesn't seem to concerned with actually figuring out the answer.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
In an effort to be totally hip to The Mighty Interwebs, the marketing campaign for this year's RoboCop is taking a bit more of a viral approach to teasing out its wares. The remake of the 1987 Peter Weller film that spawned two subsequent sequels features a new cast and robotic toys even shinier than the originals.
The reboot's new cast is highly impressive, with the likes of Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Abbie Cornish on board, with the man-is-he-ever-going-to-be-good-at-being-bad Hugh Laurie taking on the role of super-evil OmniCorp executive.
The OmniCorp website features several sections that are currently marked with "Access Denied" upon clicking, but you do get a sneak peek at what's in store for the film--including a video extolling the virtues of robotic city safety and the above picture of the ED-209 battlefield brawler. (Because surely nothing can go wrong with a robotic thing programmed to fight wars handling city security!)
OmniCorp's vision statement reads: "For a half-century, these words have set the framework upon which OmniCorp has aimed to build a brighter world. We don't do passive technology. At OmniCorp, our solutions generate a beacon of safety that we shine upon on the dangers of the day. No matter the obstacle - political, cultural, philosophical - we pursue our convictions around the globe to secure peace of mind at home. And when this requires bold new direction, we never allow doubt to shrink our duty. When your quality of life is in the balance, our leadership team will tip the scales. Our products have elevated your lives. Our people have inspired your future. Our passion will always be at your side." Yep, sounds pretty much like a creepy overlord mega-corporation gone-devious to me! Especially that "we don't do passive technology bit"--so foreboding! In any event, check out the video below and let us know what you think about the RoboCop remake, set to come out in 2013.
The RoboCop reboot is slated to be released August 9, 2013.
[Image Credit: Sony Pictures]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
Hugh Laurie Amps Up the Evil as 'RoboCop' Villain
'Robocop' Remake: 'The Killing's' Joel Kinnaman in Talks to Star
Josh Zetumer To Write 'RoboCop' Reboot
With MGM quickly recuperating from its financial meltdown that left a bevvy of developing projects in limbo, the last week has seen the studio's long-delayed RoboCop reboot picking up steam. On the heels of hiring Brazilian director Jose Padilha to helm the highly anticipated film (stepping in for Darren Aronofsky), the Lion's Head has now brought rising star writer Josh Zetumer in to pen the screenplay.
Neither player is a household name to American audiences, but neither was Paul Verhoeven when he directed the original in 1987. Padhila is best known for making the cop franchise Elite Squad while Zetumer has turned in buzzworthy but unproduced scripts for Infiltrator and Vale at Warner Bros. and also wrote drafts for Paramount's Dune remake and an abandoned fourth installment (chronologically) of Universal's Bourne franchise. At the pace that MGM is looking to produce RoboCop, which is targeted as its first full franchise redeployment, this will be Zetumer's first film to go into production.
I don't have much to go on with RoboCop other than love for the original film and its Irvin Kershner-directed sequel, so I've got no reason not to be hyped about seeing Detroit's finest officer back on the beat. Now the question is: who could do their best Peter Weller impersonation?
The Taken filmmaker quit work on the new adaptation of Frank Herbert's classic novel, penned by Quantum of Solace writer Josh Zetumer, after almost a year of development.
Filming was due to begin this year (10) but now executives at Paramount Pictures are reportedly preparing to cut their losses by selling the rights if no progress is made by spring (11), according to Moviefone.com.
Morel got the project back on track in January (10) after Peter Berg quit as director last year (09).
Movie maverick David Lynch made Dune into a hit movie with Sting among his stars in 1984 and it was turned into a TV mini-series in 2000.
Pierre Morel will step into a slot vacated by Peter Berg to direct Paramount Pictures' Dune, the latest adaptation of Frank Herbert's 1965 sci-fi classic novel.
Variety reports that Morel, who directed 2008's Luc Besson-produced Taken and the upcoming Besson-produced From Paris with Love, has signed a deal with the studio and will work to hone the script.
The film, according to the trade, is one of the biggest priorities on the slate of Paramount Motion Picture Group president Adam Goodman.
Dune had been developed by Berg, who left when he committed to Universal's "Battleship."
Berg developed a draft with Josh Zetumer. Paramount will work off Zetumer's draft, but the studio will secure another writer shortly, says Variety.
The deal makes Dune a candidate to be the next directing assignment for Morel, who is in early stage development on a sequel to Taken. He is also developing Pursuit, an action thriller at Universal.
David Lynch turned Frank Herbert's tale into a hit movie with Sting among his stars in 1984 and the project was turned into a TV mini-series in 2000.
Morel has signed on to direct the latest version after moviemaker Peter Berg quit the project last year (09).
The new film was scripted by Quantum of Solace writer Josh Zetumer, according to EW.com.
Filming is expected to start later this year (10).
Universal has hired a new writer for the fourth Bourne movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Josh Zetumer, also at work on the Peter Berg-directed Dune remake, is stepping in to take a shot at a fresh storyline for the series now that George Nolfi has stepped away from the project.
Nolfi was working on Bourne 4 but is also on another Matt Damon vehicle, The Adjustment Bureau, which he will direct. That film is gearing up for a September start date and thus Nolfi had to back off from Bourne.
Rather than wait for Nolfi to finish Bureau and return to the script, Universal brought in Zetumer to write a completely different screenplay -- or parallel script. The studio is keen to have Bourne as part of its 2011 slate.
However, Universal still hopes that Nolfi will finish his screenplay in due course. The question then becomes how Universal will proceed: A combination of the scripts? Could one be used for Bourne 4 and one shelved for a fifth go-round?
Writing two scripts, though rare, is not without precedent in the tentpole-movie world. THR notes that Star Trek: Generations, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Wolverine are movies that had parallel scripts commissioned and sometimes had them combined.
Earlier this week, The Playlist tracked the progress of Bourne 4 from Universal’s announcement in February last year that director Paul Greengrass and star Damon were on board for the next installment through to comments Damon made to Entertainment Weekly in the current issue.
In the issue, Damon says, "We're hoping to make a fourth, but we don't have a story and we don't have a script. I assume it can happen, but we have to come up with a storyline that's deserving. I mean, if you see the Bourne character come out again and say, 'I can't remember,' you're going to get up and leave the theater. It's like, 'Get over it, buddy -- it's been three movies. What the f***?!' "
Full story : http://power.networksolutions.com/index.html
MORE NEWS: Depp and Berry Are the Sexiest Stars