Have A Cold One

ROBOCOP (2014)


Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy/Robocop
Gary Oldman as Doctor Norton
Michael Keaton as Raymond Sellars
Samuel L. Jackson as Pat Novak
Kika Markham as Carol O'Neil

"Dead or alive, you're coming with me." – The classic Robocop line.


In the mid 1980's Coca Cola changed the formula for their soft drink. "New Coke" was supposed to be the newer, hipper, updated flavor for the famous beverage.

Its failure was spectacular. Consumers hated "New Coke" and shellacked the company for trying to hype up and push this inferior product on them. One of the bigger complaints was that New Coke was too sweet…the sweeter taste was an obvious attempt to make Coke taste more like their rival soft drink, Pepsi Cola. Within months Coca Cola began churning out the old formula calling it "Classic Coke". As time went by Coca Cola dropped "New Coke" altogether, renamed "Classic Coke" back just "Coca Cola" and presumably hoped that everyone would just forget it ever happened.

That's a strange analogy, but that's how I feel about Robocop 2014. I find it impossible to refrain from comparing it to the original Robocop from 1987. Both movies have the same basic set up. Alex Murphy is a Detroit police officer in the not-too distant-future and crime is out of hand. In the original Murphy is killed by Clarence Boddicker and his brutal gang of crazed criminals…in the remake he's the victim of a car bomb by whatever bad guy I've forgotten about…he doesn't technically die, but his body is completely destroyed leaving only his head, his lungs and, oh LAWD….a hand….The hand is going to come up later…anyway, the big evil company Omni Consumer Products ( OmniCorp in the remake) have the technology to turn him into a Cyborg Law Enforcer…Robocop.

I might be biased but even like the original design better than then 2014's

In both versions, Murphy eventually catches up with his killers and gets revenge, but how we get to that point is different. By different I mean the remake is not better.

Original: we see Robocop struggle to regain the memories he had before his death. He's not even aware that he IS Alex Murphy at first. As he discovers more and more about his past he uncovers the criminal connection between the criminals that murdered him and the company that created him. You actually feel for Robocop as he comes to the realization that he'll never be with his wife and son again.

Remake: Murphy is fully aware of who he is and somehow, even though he's just a head and some organs…and that STUPID HAND…he wants to have a normal relationship with his wife and son. (Even GOING HOME AT ONE POINT!) You know what, I can't…the whole idea is preposterous and it made me downright angry. Just suffice it to say the Remake has an inferior story going on.

That's about as close to be the same as the two movies are. Robocop 2014 lacks any of the cynical dark humor and the satire of modern society that the original had. They tried…by inserting Samuel L. Jackson as a Pseudo Fox News Blowhard in the vein of real life blowhard O'Reilly...but it wasn't humorous or entertaining. Like New Coke, Robocop 2014 felt like it tried to sweeten the pot with updated special effects and action without adding in the things that made people like the original. (I've heard more than one person refer to this movie as "ReDoCop") This is a problem that I think Hollywood has with more than just Robocop 2014. Instead of making movies with new heroes and characters they try to remake movies with popular characters simply because of name recognition. They know people are going to shell out money to see them even if the movie isn't very good. (Heck, Star Trek got away with this for decades. We all hated the one where they looked for God, but we still paid money to see it) The brand name will draw them in. Heck, look at how many Terminator movies have come out since the original. Now ask yourself if any of them after the first two were any good and be honest. (It doesn't matter if you personally liked a movie…I liked Deep Star Six and I will freely admit that it's not a good movie.)

Now we're not going to see the end of remakes or reboots any time soon, but I'm feeling confident that we're not going to see any more Robocop films for a few years, if ever. If they do decide to remake Robocop again, I hope that the screen writers take a look at the original again and take some pointers. If you really want to see a good Robocop movie check out the original and the widely panned "Robocop II". Even though Robocop II was pretty much hated by fans it's a more interesting movie than Robocop 2014.


1.) Oh, so instead of Ed-209 the giant robot death-killer machines are called "E" "D" 209 now. Geezuz, why not just call them Ed-209s like in the original?

2.) Whoa! It's that guy....Omar Little from The Wire (an excellent show, worthy of Tequila). Hard to watch him get gunned down so fast in this movie after seeing The Wire. On that show he was damned near unkillable.

3.) Early in the movie we see that OmniCorp has developed fully functional bionic prosthesis for people that have lost limbs. They show a guy playing a guitar with two robot arms!) That alone is amazing! But like all (fictional) CEO's Sellars wants More! More! More! Dude, you can make a killing with the robot limbs alone, theres really no need to go "evil" about it.
• Of course the robot armed guitar player dude starts having issues with his guitar playing because he gets emotional. I'd think they were good emotions because he's regained something he lost with his arms. But the movie is setting it up to say that emotions and cybernetics don't mix well. Kind of like the rules in Cyberpunk 2020. (uh oh....I think I just let everyone know I was a tabletop gamer nerd in the 80s)
• When Sellars, Doctor Norton ad the Omnicorp cronies are going through records to find a suitable applicant for the Robocop program they come across a former police officer that was injured enough that he lost his arms and legs. Unfortunately he also got kinda fat. (Not ridiculous fat, but fat...I guess if you really can't move around, you gain weight) They pass on him for the program and I get that. What I don't get is why didn't they give him some of those nifty robot limbs we literally JUST SAW a scene ago? Don't tell me it's too expensive....the dude with the guitar wasn't exactly Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton. Besides if Sellars wants to make OmniCorps look good doing that for an injured police officer can only be good press.

4.) "You say you can save him...what does that mean. What kind of life would he have?" - thats a direct quote from Murphy's wife, Clara when OminCorps tries to pressure her into letting them use him for the Robocop program. You know what, I'd hope my own wife would ask the same thing! Yes, if he survives his horrific injuries he'll be confined to a wheelchair (and you get the idea that they don't expect him to live) ...he'll be blind in one eye. He's lost an arm and a leg. But being turned into a cyborg? Unless its the Six Million Dollar Man variety I'll be telling my wife to just let me croak.
• Obviously medical science has made enormous progress in this movie. But not with bedside manner. When Murphy is first awakend Dr. Norton's bedside manner is "Good news! you're a robot now!"
• in the original Robocop movie, Murphy was not aware of what was happening to him. The original Robocop only dimly remembered being Murphy at first, and (at least in my opinion havin seen all of the original Robocop movies) only regained his identity slightly. This newer version knows exactly who he is....it's as if you or I suddenly woke up and had a doctor say "You were in accident...so we put you in a cyborg body".
• Why in the name of any god you worship would they leave his one hand? It's not his real flesh and blood arm and a hand, it's just a hand. It's so ridiculous I'd like to slap this movie with that hand. They didn't even try to save his...er,...junk.

I don't get it...why did they leave the hand?

5.) When Murphy realizes that he's just a head, some lungs and a hand kept alive by machinery he he wants to die. Damn, who the hell can blame him? Whats surprising is Norton says he can't do that because he's a doctor. Really? Because many people have wills that state they want to just be "let go" if their situation is nearly terminal or living would be a nightmare. If they can't speak for themselves (as in a coma) their relatives can have the doctors pull the plug. (I know, I've had to make that decision myslef, and it sucks) So how can Norton hide behind a Hippopotamus Oath Hippocratic Oath now when Murphy himself is saying "let me die!"
• Norton also tells Murphy that his wife loves him and she signed the consent forms. I'd be like "Well, she's the first person whose ass is getting kicked when you give me my robot body back"
• Speaking of bodies, since Murphy must know that Norton and OmniCorps can basically turn his body off with the push of a button, why do they think he'd want that? He wants them to let him die, so keeping alive in this way is really slavery.
• Norton also says "What would I tell your wife and son?" Dude, he's a head and a hand. I think they'd understand.
• In the original Robocop Movie, Murphy/Robocop had to look up his own records to figure out who he was. He had memory flashes of his wife and son, but they didn't connect to him at first. As he said in that movie "I can feel them, but I don't remember them".
• I hate to say it, but when Murphy briefly contacts Clara she says "We'll get through this, we'll make it like it was...". Seriously? I guess "like it was" was a no-sex zone considering his wang got blown off.
• No, sorry, NOT BUYING IT! When Murphy goes home with his Robocop body his wife and kid are NOT FREAKED OUT. Neither is Lewis for that matter.
• In the original Robocop movie, Lewis was the FEMALE partner of Alex Murphy on the Police Department. (played by Nancy Allen...you know, the mean girl in the original Carrie movie). They've not only swapped the gender in the movie, they've swapped races, as Ann Lewis, regular white chick cop, is now Jack Lewis, bad ass black dude cop.

6.) It was a nice call back to the original Robocop when they had a scene with Sellars and his cronie discussing designs on what he should look like. They even threw in a bit of Robocop II. You'll know it when ya see it.
• If you've never seen the original Robocop, theres another teeny tiny call back. When Murphy has to go meet the press, he stands up on a platform with the mayor of Detroit and be presented to the people...Norton has the entire available police database uploaded into his brain. At first Murphy thinks it incredible, but all of the info...including most prominently, the attempted murder on his person, cause him to have a seizure. The OminCorps sleazebags tell Norton to whatever he has to "fix" him as he has minutes to show up on the platform. Norton removes his emotions. So when Murphy walks past his wife and son he doesn't react at all to them. Its a subtle nod to Robocop II when Murphy's wife came to visit him and he said "I don't know you" robotically.
• Also a short while after that, when you see Lewis realizing that they've done something to Murphy, much like the original Lewis in the older movies knew from her relationship with Murphy/Robocop that someone had tampered with his mind.
• Its certainly a callback to the first Robocop movie when Robocop goes to the drug lab and kicks some serious ass. But this movie lacks the satirical bite the original had. So when I watched this scene I couldn't help but think "Dang, it's not like he even said "Police. Give yourselves up." Nope, Robocop went in and started shooting dudes from the git-go. I'd have hated to be the snack machine refiller guy on that day.

7.) When Robocop goes after Vallon, the crime boss tells his men to "aim for the head". Thats what Mattox told his team to do also. Considering that Robocop's lower face is uncovered by his mighty Robocop armor, why didn't the designers think of that?

8.) Ha! Sellar's security force sure folded fast when Robocop tasered that dude. I laugh because if I were one of those rentacops I'd have been like "Yessir, anything you want, sir.".


♦ Its honestly ridiculous when they try to say Murphy will be scrapped if Mattox defeats him in their test to see if Robocop is a capable of well, being a killing machine. (no one goes to see a movie called "Robocop" to see Robocop handing out parking tickets, after all) They've done the most incredible thing, they've given a full prosthetic body to a guy that was nothing but a head and a few organs. Sellars could have removed any fighting capabilities, sent him home and called him "RoboDad" and his company would still make a killing.

♦ Murphy pretty much executes the crooked cops that set him up in the first place right in the police station. In full view of everyone. Same for the police chief, Dean, as she was in on it. Yeah, they deserved it, but isn't that murder?


Murphy reacts with expected horror when he sees what is actually left of him. A head, a hand and his lungs. He rightfully asks Dr. Norton to kill him.

Seriously, I think they left that one hand just to f*** with him.

The "we can rebuild him" trope is here twice. First, because the DID rebuild Murphy. Second, because the Original Robogop was kind of slow. He was tank, to be sure, but he wasn't fast. This Robocop is quick. He can run at superhero speed and leap great distances. (not Hulk distances, but more than a mere meat bag like you or I could)

It should go without saying, but if a movie has a a guy thats a CEO of a giant multibillion dollar company and that character is not the hero, he's going to be evil.


What makes me sad about this movie and it's bar tab is that I really wanted to like it. Maybe it's a lightning in a bottle thing, or maybe it's just that you can't make that kind of dark, cynical, satirical humor work in movies nowadays. I'd like to think you could, but it didn't happen in this movie and thats what fans of the original were probably hoping for. But like it's two beer score I walked away from Robocop 2014 without even the content buzz I was aiming for.

two beers

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