The RoboCop reboot actually made me think!
It’s not very often I like a blockbuster and even less often I think one more than some mindless action, but I have got to say that I really enjoyed the RoboCop reboot. Maybe it is because I have never seen the 1987 original but I would like to feel that it is more to do with it being a film that makes you think. Yes there is the obvious upgraded digital effects, predictable storyline and masses of explosions and gunshots with a complete abandon to the damage that is actually being done. But more than this there are some interesting issues. I think the technical term is themes. I have never liked using the word themes as it gives an air of pomposity and RoboCop is by no means a pompous film.
Before I continue I suppose I better issue the obligatory SPOILER ALERT. Although this is not a review but more of a, ‘oh, that was surprisingly good,’ I will need to reveal some story details. So now you have been suitably warned.
The first time I stopped thinking RoboCop was nothing more than a blast-em-up was when they were going to present him to the Detroit public. Yes, at this point I understood that OmniCorp were an evil corporation with a scientist that did questionable things to gain funding for the good he was doing and thus there was a question over his morality and as such we were asked to wonder if effect outweighed cause, but I only saw this as a plot device that was used to get more explosions. However, when RoboCop could not handle all the data being put in his head and they used dopamine to suppress his emotions so he could be controlled I started to think more, especially about the fact that he was now more machine than man. He really was a product of OmniCorp and not a human any more. This made me think more about the way they had manipulated his wife to allow them to experiment and what kind of life would RoboCop actually have? He was never in control, never had a say and could be switched on and off when required. He was nothing more than a glorified executive toy like a sports car or speed boat, an expensive piece of equipment that served one purpose, to allow a multinational company to shift more product in an uncapitalised market. This is made worse by the control that OmniCorp seem to have over areas of the Government and it is only one opposer who is really stopping them gaining access to the American market. They clearly have sway over a popular news program which might be talking about how multinationals today influence us through their use and manipulation of the media.
So I suppose we can boil the themes (I know, I said I hate that word!) down to the following…
- Multinational companies controlling populations and having power over Government and media
- People being deceived by multinationals so said companies can gain more profits
- The lengths and depths people will go to to achieve their own goals, even if those goals are positive to society as a whole
- Corruption within Government departments
- At what point is a human no longer a human? What do we need to replace for them to still be human? Is an arm or leg enough or do we need to take away their free will?
- Can we ever truly control someone or will, like RoboCop did, they break free from their programming?
Now I know the script is not the best and the acting is not amazing, Gary Oldman, Samual L. Jackson and Michael Keaton were good but Joel Kinnaman was just gruff and that was it. However, I don’t expect to be challenged whilst watching a Hollywood blockbuster, I really don’t expect to be thinking about complex social and moral issues. For RoboCop to make this happen for me I am very thankful. Maybe it was all me reading too much info an ok action movie, but I will say this, it kept my attention much more than any blockbusters have for a long while and has at least made me think about certain issues more deeply. I can’t say anything like Transformers or Clash of the Titans has even given me more than the thought I could have spent two hours of my life a lot more productively.