I’ve said it before and I say it again here: if you’re going to remake a movie, make it better or at least as good as the original.  “Robocop” (2014) does neither.  So while it is a failure in regard to my definition of what a remake should be, “Robocop” (2014) is a mild success if viewed without regard to its pedigree.

In this version of “Robocop,” Joel Kinnaman plays a police officer in a future Detroit where crime is out of control.  Hmmm…sounds like present Detroit.  Anyway, Kinnaman’s investigation of a big time, weapons dealer leads to Kinnaman being blown up in a car bomb.  He is barely alive, and should he continue to live, he would be a crippled mess that would barely resemble a human.  Enter a corporation called OCP who offers Kinnaman’s grieving wife an opportunity to transform Kinnaman into a fearsome, cyborg policeman.  Considering the alternative, the wife agrees.

OCP has more than benevolent reasons for providing such an expensive transformation of Kinnaman.  OCP needs a law enforcement product that people in America can support; and if Robocop is successful, OCP will open up a huge market and reap billions of dollars each year.  Unfortunately for OCP, their Robocop is not a robot that they can fully control.  Robocop has a fully functioning human brain, complete with personality, fears, hopes, dreams, and all the unpredictability that is part of human nature.

Of course, OCP and the Detroit PD (both diabolically connected) will do whatever it takes to control Kinnaman…especially as he goes against his programming/orders and investigates who tried to kill him.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Robocop” is the scene when Kinnamon is in the lab, his physical and robot body resting on its stand; and he is shown how much of his body is left.  One by one, the robotic pieces are removed until only his head, lungs and right hand are left. Horrified, Kinnaman asks that his life be terminated.  More on this later.

There are a few things that this movie deals with very well.  The increasing use of robots to do the work of soldiers and law enforcement personnel.  Corporate greed and corporations’ heavy influence on the government.  The way Kinnaman reconnects with his wife and son, the way his family dealt with Kinnaman becoming Robocop… I was happy to see that this movie touched on these subjects, completely the opposite of the original movie that quickly brushed aside the family and had them disappear long before Robocop makes an appearance.  But all this cannot surpass the hyper-violence and satirical views on corporate greed/ media insensitivity that is found in the first “Robocop” movie.

For those who have never seen the 2 “Robocop” movies and plan to do so, I suggest you watch the remake first, then the original.  Save the best for last.

Now, back to Kinnaman’s character wanting to die after seeing how little of himself is left.  At some point in the future, maybe within 50 years, we’ll have this technology, where we can transfer our brains into robotic bodies.  I wonder how many of us will be willing to do so, assuming we can afford it.  Ask yourself: if your body was dying, but your brain — your mind, your soul — was still intact, would you transfer your mind to a robotic body?  I’ve asked myself this question many times over the past decade, and the answer is always yes.  I can always “unplug” should being a cyborg not work out.

— M

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