Robocop Blu Ray Review

When I hear the word sequel, it’s a knee-jerk reaction. I assume I’m going to hate it, and growing up with the original Robocop, well, there are some things that you don’t want to see remade. The announcement that the new incarnation would be PG-13 just seemed to further the feelings of dread when the original was known for the carnage and gore. But I have to say the new Robocop is sleek and sexy. When Michael Keaton’s character says to make it black, I admittedly squealed in glee. Robocop is back, and its better than I ever thought I’d give it credit for. The cast is chock full of great actors, favorites among them, most of which I had no clue were involved with the picture.

This Robocop borrows key story points, and there are more than a few references to the original, but this isn’t the 80’s, and the new Robocop reflects that. The satire is missing from this incarnation, the Robocops are not being perfected in the urban environment for military action, but the opposite. Omnicorp has already deployed  their ED-209 in Tehran where it battles insurgents instead of putting the lives of Army assault troops in danger. The head of Omnicorp, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), would like to use the same technology in the US, but robots are barred from police service by the federal Dreyfus Act, named after its sponsor Senator Hubert Dreyfus (Zach Grenier).

 Sellars and his advisers, general counsel Liz Kline (Jennifer Ehle) and marketing chief Tom Pope (Jay Baruchel), have tried every possible angle to evade the Dreyfus Act, without success. Bottomline congress does not believe that a machine should be able to take the life of a man. Sellars comes up with the perfect solution to put a man inside the machine.

The science that allows this is the handy work of Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), who wishes his work to be used for good. He’s been researching methods to restore amputees' lost functions with artificial limbs that respond to neural commands. Sellars wheedles Norton aboard his project of creating a full-fledged cyborg. Now they only need the perfect subject, who comes in the form of Detroit police detective Alex Murphy as their subject (Joel Kinnaman).

The victim of a powerful gangster, Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow), Alex’s wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish), makes the decision to allow her husband to enter into the Robocop program in hopes of saving him, and ultimately bringing him back to his family. Alex Murphy never stops being himself; he just has a cool new robotic body, though he does struggle to come to terms with his new circumstances. His wife and son continue to play big part in his story, as he is prepared for his public presentation. This is a huge problem for Omnicorp who essentially is looking for a robot with a human face, and they do everything in their power to erase the man inside so that they can get the Dreyfus Act repealed and focus on their real agenda, plain old robots.

The cast is really very good in their roles. Kinnaman brings in a strong performance as the good cop willing to cross the line for the takedown and the man trapped inside of a machine. Oldman  perfectly plays the doctor caught in the middle, but ultimately a good guy, and Keaton is Keaton. He plays a fantastic bad guy who is all about his own agenda no matter the cost. And of course we can’t forget Samuel L. Jackson’s role in the flick. Like the 1987 movie, there is a broadcast that provides a running commentary in the form of The Novak Element, hosted by robotics advocate, Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson). His character is reminiscent of his Bible-quoting Jules in Pulp Fiction. He’s the hired gun, hired to push the interest of Omnicorp with some much pomp that it distracts from the truth, since its all irrelevant.

RoboCop Blu-ray looks clean and flawless. The image is really pristine, making the tactical black of Robocop’s suit matte where it should be and reflective. None of the scenes are overly bright, or dark. And the dialogue is thankfully clear.

There are quite a few extras on the RoboCop Blu-ray.  Six Deleted Scenes, ten Omnicorp Product, four featurettes- RoboCop: Engineered for the 21st, The Illusion of Free Will: A New Vision, To Serve and Protect: RoboCop's New Weapons, The RoboCop Suit: Form and Function, and both theatrical trailers.
The highlight featurettes are The Illusion of Free Will: A New Vision which focuses on differences between the original and remakes of Robocop, and my favorite The RoboCop Suit: Form and Function because Michael Keaton comparison the rigors of wearing his suit for Tim Burton's Batman to that of Robocops.

Paul Verhoeven's 1987 RoboCop remains an unsurpassable classic, it came first, and it got away with a lot of things that you just can’t do in movies anymore. But José Padilha's 2014 version is no less good, it doesn’t try to replicate the Verhoeven flick, but provides a different story. Not only does it look fantastic on Blu-ray but I recommend it.


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