- Remove the names RoboCop, Alex Murphy, Lewis, OmniCorp and ED-209.
- Change the setting to any other city but Detroit.
- Redesign the costume and ED-209.
- Cut out the cringeworthy attempts to subvert the catchphrases of the original (and that goes for every other remake/reboot/adaptation that thinks it's being clever or funny too).
- Don't try to show a PG-friendly "death" scene. If you have to go PG, then don't show the "death". Cut to the wife's reaction or something.
The film's biggest failing is attempting to pass itself off as a RoboCop film. It isn't. It's the wrong tone, the wrong style, the wrong humour, the wrong actor, the wrong look.
Taken on its own, without the RoboCop connection, this is a good action film about a cyborg cop. It could have been one of the five best action movies of 2014, but sinks beneath the weight of the baggage it's carrying.
I've never seen the original, but to me, I think it conveys its themes effectively. The cast is great (although Joel Kinnamon is bland as the lead), the plot was better than it should have been, and the VFX and production was impressive. However, there was something about this reboot that just didn't do it for me. A few things in the movie could have been done better, but nevertheless, it was an okay reboot in its own right.
Every so often Hollywood gets the bright idea to remake classic or original films that should be left alone. Now, don't get me wrong, there have been some remakes in the past that have made a significant improvement from the original. Remakes like: The Fly (1986), 3:10 to Yuma (2007), King Kong (2005), Scarface (1983), Cape Fear (1991) and Oceans Eleven (2001) all stood out from the original. But when there are good remakes, there come bad ones as well. Remakes like: Clash of the Titans (2010), Conan the Barbarian (2011), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Halloween (2007), The Invasion (2007), Planet of the Apes (2001) and Psycho (1998) all were awful remakes and films in general. Back to my point, while Jose Padilha's (Elite Squad) Robo-remake was much better than any of these bad remakes in my opinion, it still did not make a significant improvement over Paul Verhoeven's 1987 original.
The original Robocop was no masterpiece by any means, but it still had that special something from the '80s. Verhoeven packed in themes of gentrification, corruption, authoritarianism, capitalism, revenge, dystopia and ultra-violence. These aspects are what made that film so unique from that time period. The year is 2028, and OmniCorp is at the center of their "robot soldier" technology, when Alex Murphy, (Joel Kinnaman) - a good father and cop in the corrupted Detroit - is critically injured in a car bomb. OmniCorp makes their golden opportunity to create their Robocop, turning Murphy into part man, and mostly part machine. Kinnaman did an OK job as Robocop, but I preferred Peter Weller's performance from the original. Director Padilha lacked Verhoeven's craft and critical/comical satire in the film. The next flaw was the PG-13 rating. This of course was made to boost ticket sales for younger audiences, but the ultra-violence is what made the original stand out. The ultra-violence was a major factor for the original because Verhoeven used it to satire the American culture.
While the special effects were a huge improvement from the original, it still should not be the biggest factor for a film. One noble performance from the film that I should point out was Gary Oldman. He plays scientist Dr. Dennett Norton and does a superb job. Oldman has always been an actor I have admired, so if you do go see this film, go see it for his performance alone. Another thing this film did a decent job on was focusing more on Murphy's family relationship after he turns into Robocop. Sadly, half way through the film the ending became predictable and was totally bland from there on.
Overall, this Robocop had some entertaining aspects (special effects and Oldman's performance), but it also contained negative feedback for the lack of direction, absence of Peter Weller, lack of ultra-violence, the predictable ending and the lack of making it stand out from the original.