Man vs. Machine
Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Michael Keaton,
Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish,
Samuel L. Jackson, Michael K.
Williams, Jackie Earle Haley,
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 108 minutes
Distributor: Columbia Pictures/Sony
Director: Jose Padhila
Executive Producer: Bil Carraro, Roger Birnbaum
Producer: Marc Abraham, Eric Newton
Writer: Joshua Zetumer
Address Comments To:Michael Lynton, CEO/Co-Chairman
Amy Pascal, Co-Chairman, and Jeff Blake, Vice Chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment (Columbia Pictures/TriStar/FilmDistrict/Screen Gems/Affirm Films/Provident Films)
10202 West Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Phone: (310) 244-4000; Fax: (310) 244-2626
Web Page: www.spe.sony.com/
The story opens in 2028 with Samuel L. Jackson playing a hyper version of Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck. The army is using robots for some kind of incursion into Iran, to stop Islamic terrorists and quell any riots. The robots are designed by a giant corporation called OmniCorp, headed by Raymond Sellars, played by Michael Keaton. Jackson’s character, Pat Novak, complains that the robots aren’t being used to stop criminals in the United States. He wants a law overturned that prevents the robots from being used ion domestic soil. The American people oppose the use of robots because there is no human component.
Cut to Detroit where Alex Murphy is an honest cop and loving husband and father who’s severely injured in a horrific car bombing by gun-running criminals. His wife agrees to let OmniCorp save his life by using robotic technology, but it turns Alex into a mere shell of a man. At first, Alex wants to be left to die, but he soon accepts his fate, partly because his partner was shot by the criminals before they tried to blow up Alex. Alex wants to settle the score.
However, there are complications to the robot-human interface in Alex’s suit. Alex’s humanity slows down the suit’s performance. So, OmniCorp’s owner directs the doctor taking care of Alex to do something to diminish Alex’s human control over the robot machinery. He also orders the doctor to keep Alex away from his family. The result is that Alex becomes more robot than human.
Alex starts cleaning up the streets in the way he’s expected to do. However, his wife manages to interrupt him to beg him to care more for their son. Consequently, his emotions and conscience – his soul, in effect – start to override his programming and inspire him to solve his own attempted murder. This throws a monkey wrench into OmniCorp’s plans. The director decides to take drastic action.
This ROBOCOP remake has a more serious tone than the original. It intelligently discusses such issues as free will, moral conscience, the concept of a human soul, and doing the right thing. Also, although there is a lot of action violence, the violence is toned down a little bit to get a PG-13 rating. Nevertheless, there are some medical shots of the hero’s brain and lungs that might disturb moviegoers.
Some excellent acting helps the movie transcend its popcorn movie origins. Joel Kinnaman does a good job of playing the hero, but it’s Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman as the corporate head and the doctor, respectively, who shine best. Oldman is particularly good as the morally compromised but sympathetic doctor.
As often is the case, however, Samuel L. Jackson is a bit over-the-top. He plays the media pundit as a kind of supercharged Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly. This gives the movie a strong politically correct element. Here, the movie seems to be criticizing the conservative movement’s preoccupation with security and cleaning up the streets of criminals. ROBOCOP also has an anti-capitalist tone since it is, after all, a businessman who’s one of the villains of the piece.
Despite this, ROBOCOP seems to have a Christian worldview implying that human beings do indeed have a soul, and it’s the soul that directs our moral behavior, not our physical brains. The movie also is very pro-family. The scenes of the hero with his family are truly moving.
In addition to lots of action violence with lots of gunplay and the medical scenes, ROBOCOP also has a lot of foul language, including a bleeped “f” word. So, extreme caution is advised.
This ROBOCOP remake has a more serious tone than the original. It discusses such issues as free will, conscience, the concept of a human soul, and doing the right thing. As such, it has a Christian worldview, with strong moral, pro-family elements. However, there’s some very strong action violence, disturbing medical images during the policeman’s robot transformation, lots of foul language, and some PC content. So, extreme caution is advised. That said, ROBOCOP has some terrific acting.