RoboCop (2014 film)

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RoboCop
Robocop poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by José Padilha
Produced by Marc Abraham
Eric Newman
Screenplay by Joshua Zetumer
Based on RoboCop 
by Edward Neumeier
Michael Miner
Starring Joel Kinnaman
Gary Oldman
Michael Keaton
Samuel L. Jackson
Music by Pedro Bromfman
Cinematography Lula Carvalho
Edited by Daniel Rezende
Peter McNulty
Production
company
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Columbia Pictures
Release dates
Running time 118 minutes[1]
Country Canada
United States
Language English
Budget $130 million[2][3]
Box office $242,688,965[4]

RoboCop is a 2014 American science fiction action film directed by José Padilha. It is a remake of the 1987 film of the same name and reboot of the RoboCop franchise. The film stars Joel Kinnaman in the title role, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Screen Gems first announced a remake in 2005, but it was halted one year later. Darren Aronofsky and David Self were originally assigned to direct and write the film, respectively, for a tentative 2010 release. The film was delayed numerous times, and Padilha signed on in 2011. In March 2012, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (successor company to Orion Pictures, the studio that released the original film) announced an August 2013 release, but that was then changed to February 2014. The principal characters were cast from March to July 2012. Principal photography began in September 2012 in Toronto[5] and Vancouver in Canada,[6] with additional locations in Hamilton, Ontario, and Detroit in the United States.

The film first premiered in Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan on January 30, 2014. It was later released in the United States on February 12, 2014. The film received mixed reviews, with praise towards the performances, updates, style and political/media satire, but criticism for the lack of violence, social satire and comparisons to the original film. RoboCop grossed $242 million at the box office worldwide, making it the highest grossing film in the RoboCop franchise.

Plot[edit]

In 2028, multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is a leader in military robot technology, supplying the U.S. military with several mechanized models that are deployed overseas. OmniCorp wants to sell their products for use in civilian law enforcement in the United States, their largest potential market, but the technology is banned by the Dreyfus Act, which is supported by public opinion. In an attempt to sway the public, OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars tasks his marketing team, in conjunction with scientist Dr. Dennett Norton, with the creation of a product which combines man and machine. They begin the search for a permanently injured policeman to recruit for their prototype.

Detroit Police detective Alex Murphy and his partner, Jack Lewis, attempt to arrest crime boss Antoine Vallon, unaware that he has contacts inside the Police Department. The two pose as arms buyers and meet with Vallon, but Vallon is tipped off, and Lewis is shot in the ensuing gunfight and hospitalized. Vallon and the dirty cops plan to kill Murphy, and when he is critically injured by a car bomb they plant, Norton approaches Murphy's wife Clara, and convinces her to give her consent to use him in the program, outfitting him with a cybernetic body and software. Murphy at first rejects his modifications when Norton reveals to him that only his heart, lungs, throat, head and right hand are left of his original body, but Norton convinces him to continue for the sake of his family. Rick Mattox, OmniCorp's military tactician, is skeptical of Murphy's abilities, claiming he will never be as efficient as a fully automated robot. Mattox's concerns are borne out in simulation when Murphy responds more slowly than a drone due to his natural hesitation when making judgments in the field. In order to improve his performance, Norton tampers with his brain, putting the software fully in control in the field but making Murphy believe the decisions are his own. With these changes, Murphy defeats Mattox and his drones in a live test.

Just before his first public appearance, Murphy is emotionally overwhelmed and has a seizure as Norton uploads the police database into his memory, including footage of the attempt on his life. Pressed for time, Norton alters Murphy's brain chemistry, lowering his dopamine levels until he no longer displays any emotions. Under control, Murphy attends the press conference, where he ignores his waiting wife and son, and efficiently apprehends a criminal in the crowd. The press conference is a public-relations success, with influential news pundit Pat Novak dubbing Murphy "RoboCop". As Murphy drastically reduces the crime rate in Detroit, public opinion on the Dreyfus Act begins to turn. Sellars pressures Norton to prevent Murphy from seeing his wife and son.

Clara manages to confront her husband as he is leaving the station, telling him about his son, David, having nightmares. Murphy leaves, but then overrides his programming by prioritizing solving his own case and detours from the current case to go to his house. He reviews the CCTV video of his accident and realizes that David was traumatized by it. Murphy begins to show dopamine levels returning to normal, overriding his programming, reviving his emotions. Murphy tracks down Vallon and kills him but is damaged in the process. At the station, he confronts the two corrupt detectives, shooting one and forcing the other to confess that the Chief of Police was corrupt as well, but Mattox shuts his system down by remote control before he can make the arrest, and has him taken back to OmniCorp.

Sellars decides to spin this turn of events to his advantage via Novak's show, with Novak thanking Murphy for revealing the fallibility of the police, and pointing out that drones are incorruptible. An effort to repeal the Dreyfus Act is initiated, with overwhelming support. Meanwhile, Clara goes to the press and lashes out at OmniCorp, demanding to know why she and her child are being kept away from her husband.

As Sellars' team discusses how to handle Clara, they also decide that in order to avoid alienating politicians, some of whom might be potential targets of Murphy's self-imposed effort to weed out corruption, OmniCorp cannot risk robots with human components that might override their programming. Sellars decides that RoboCop should be eliminated and orders Mattox to kill him. Norton reaches the lab first and revives Murphy, explaining the situation, and Murphy, feeling betrayed, attempts to find Sellars.

Sellars has the OmniCorp building locked down and posts drones as sentries. Murphy gains entry with the help of his former partner Lewis and other police officers. He confronts Mattox, but cannot act against him, due to a feature hidden in Murphy's programming which prevents him from acting against individuals wearing a bracelet that identifies them as "Red Assets". Lewis appears and shoots Mattox, allowing Murphy to proceed to the roof, where Sellars is waiting for a helicopter, with Clara and David as unwitting hostages. Murphy's programming prevents him from apprehending Sellars, as he is also wearing a Red Asset bracelet, but Murphy manages to overcome his programming and shoots, killing Sellars.

Murphy's body is rebuilt in Norton's laboratory, where he is reunited with Clara and David. The President vetoes the repeal of the Dreyfus Act based on the testimony of Norton, who confesses everything OmniCorp has done. Novak is outraged by this turn of events, while news reports show Murphy secretly returning to work.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

"I wanted to make a film that is passed into the near future. Now the Aronofsky's script was going 3000 years in the future when humanity would have lost the notion of morality and the only place wherein could recover this concept was in the RoboCop program. It has nothing to do with what I wanted, so I did not even read the script."

—Padilha, on Darren Aronofsky's script.[8]

Screen Gems first announced that it was working on a new RoboCop film in late 2005; no further details were given. In November 2006, Bloody Disgusting reported that the RoboCop remake had been halted.[9]

In March 2008, RoboCop was mentioned in an MGM press release[10] regarding franchises it would be developing in the future. An MGM poster displayed at the Licensing International Expo of June 2008 read, "RoboCop coming 2010."[11] The studio met with Darren Aronofsky to discuss the possibility of him directing the film.[12] At the San Diego Comic-Con International 2008, Aronofsky was confirmed to direct the "2010 RoboCop" film, with David Self writing the script.[13] The release date was postponed to 2011.[14]

At the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2009, MGM representatives stated only that the film would be pushed back to Summer 2010 or a later date, due to scheduling conflicts with the director (most likely Aronofsky). MGM representatives would neither confirm nor deny if Aronofsky was still connected with the project.[15]

On January 5, 2010, it was reported that the RoboCop 2011 remake was indeed on hold and Darren Aronofsky was still attached to direct. When MGM executives, particularly MGM chairperson Mary Parent, saw the immense success of the James Cameron film Avatar, it was clear to the higher-ups that they wanted a 3D film for the new RoboCop. Due to the financial state of MGM at the time, without an owner,[clarification needed] and creative disagreements between the studio and Aronofsky, the film remained on hold.[16]

On March 2, 2011, it was announced that Brazilian director José Padilha was attached to direct, instead of Aronofsky, mainly because of his commercial success with Elite Squad and Elite Squad: The Enemy Within.[17]

On March 11, 2011, Sean O'Neal of The A.V. Club stated that up-and-coming screenwriter Joshua Zetumer would create the script. Although Zetumer had been involved with a number of canceled or otherwise stagnant projects, he had also worked on the screenplay for the blockbuster Quantum of Solace.[18]

Comparing the new work to the 1987 film, Padilha said in 2011, "the environment nowadays is different than the environment in the 80's and the way to explore the concept is different."[19]

It was announced in October 2013 that the film would get an IMAX release in February 2014.[20]

Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer distributed the film in United States, Canada, and worldwide with the exclusion of United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Pre-production[edit]

On April 12, 2011, rumors stated that MGM was looking at A-list stars such as Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, and Keanu Reeves to star in the lead role of Alex Murphy/RoboCop in the upcoming remake.[21]

On June 16, 2011, pictures of promotional art were released, as well as a sales sheet from the Licensing International Expo 2011 in Las Vegas, NV, promoting a future release of RoboCop which would re-invent the franchise. The promotional material had sparse details of the film but clearly stated that MGM was targeting a 2013 release and José Padilha of Elite Squad and Bus 174 fame was confirmed as director of the film.

Michael Fassbender,[22] Matthias Schoenaerts,[23] and Russell Crowe[24] were considered to play the title role. On March 3, 2012, it was confirmed that actor Joel Kinnaman would be playing the lead role,[25] and on March 9, 2012, the film was given a release date of August 9, 2013.[26]

Hugh Laurie was set to play the role of the CEO of OmniCorp on June 13, 2012[27] but he later declined.[28] Clive Owen was in the running to replace him until Michael Keaton was cast in the role in August 2012.[29]

Edward Norton, Sean Penn, Gael García Bernal, and Rebecca Hall were initially considered for the roles of Dr. Dennett Norton, Novak, Jack Lewis, and Clara Murphy, respectively.[30] The roles ended up being cast with Gary Oldman,[31] Samuel L. Jackson,[32] Michael K. Williams,[33] and Abbie Cornish.[34]

Jackie Earle Haley officially signed on in July 2012 to play a "military man named Mattox responsible for training Kinnaman's RoboCop".[35] Jay Baruchel was confirmed to have signed onto the film on July 25, 2012, as Pope, a marketing exec for OmniCorp.[36]

Douglas Urbanski, cast as Mayor Durant, is typically a non-actor who is also the decades-long manager and producing partner of Gary Oldman.

Rob Bottin's original costume for the title character was re-imagined. Initial reactions were unfavorable[37][38][39][40] and some compared it with Christian Bale's Batman suit in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight films.[37][41][42][43] News reports discussed the new costume's "bionic behind",[44] a "rather derivative" design which "looks more like kevlar body armor than Detroit steel".[45] The Guardian described the new RoboCop as "a crime-fighting machine who is not so much cyborg as skinny bloke in matte-black body armour." and said "The new Robosuit has a scaly, insectoid look to it, with a blacked-out visor rather than the original's steel extended helmet."[46]

Before starting filming, Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles revealed that Padilha called him to admit he was having "the worst experience of his life" and "for every ten ideas he has, nine are cut". Padilha, according to Meirelles, says, "It's hell here. The film will be good, but I have never suffered so much and I don't want to do it again".[47] However, Padilha talked enthusiastically about the project at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International and in his introduction to the second trailer.[citation needed]

Production began in September 2012.[48]

Filming[edit]

Filming took place in Toronto[49] and other parts of Ontario.[50] Shooting locations within the city included the University of Toronto where a scene was filmed that appeared to be RoboCop being unveiled to the city of Detroit.[51] Filming in Hamilton began on Monday, September 24, 2012 for five nights. Streets were closed for each of those days from 6pm to 7am. A spokesperson for MGM confirmed that the film was partially shot in Detroit.[52]

Soundtrack[edit]

RoboCop (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Pedro Bromfman
Released January 31, 2014 (iTunes)
February 4, 2014 (Audio CD)
Recorded AIR Studios
Genre Soundtrack
Length 54:28
Label Sony Classical Records

Pedro Bromfman, who collaborated with José Padilha on his Elite Squad films, composed the score.[53][54]

RoboCop (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[55]
No. Title Artist Length
1. "Mattox and Reporters"   Pedro Bromfman 01:35
2. "First Day"   Pedro Bromfman 03:23
3. "Title Card"   Pedro Bromfman and Basil Poledouris 00:49
4. "Restaurant Shootout"   Pedro Bromfman 02:47
5. "Omnicorp"   Pedro Bromfman 01:40
6. "Calling Home"   Pedro Bromfman 02:45
7. "Made in China"   Pedro Bromfman 02:28
8. "Fixing RoboCop"   Pedro Bromfman 01:56
9. "Uploading Data"   Pedro Bromfman 01:35
10. "Reputation on the Line"   Pedro Bromfman 01:31
11. "Explosion"   Pedro Bromfman 01:05
12. "RoboCop Presentation"   Pedro Bromfman 01:43
13. "If I Had a Pulse"   Pedro Bromfman 02:41
14. "Going After Jerry"   Pedro Bromfman 03:12
15. "Vallon's Warehouse"   Pedro Bromfman 02:21
16. "Murphy's Case is Filed"   Pedro Bromfman 01:19
17. "They're Going to Kill Him"   Pedro Bromfman 03:16
18. "Rooftop"   Pedro Bromfman 02:56
19. "Mattox Is Down"   Pedro Bromfman 01:40
20. "Clara and David"   Pedro Bromfman 02:56
21. "Sellars Lies"   Pedro Bromfman 02:28
22. "Code Red"   Pedro Bromfman 02:00
23. "2.6 Billion"   Pedro Bromfman 01:23
24. "Iran Inspection"   Pedro Bromfman 02:12
25. "Battling Robots"   Pedro Bromfman 02:47
Total length:
54:28

Release[edit]

Marketing[edit]

An OmniCorp website was set up in early 2012. A film-specific RoboCop site was launched nearer the release date.

A rough trailer and some film footage featuring Samuel L. Jackson's and Michael Keaton's characters was shown at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International. According to director Padilha, the first theatrical trailer was supposed to debut with Elysium, but it was instead released online on September 5, 2013, and was attached to showings of Riddick. The trailer is now available on Apple's trailers website.[56] Two further trailers have also been released, one of which was uploaded to Yahoo! Movies with an introduction from Padilha, in which he said, "I'm thrilled to have had the chance to direct this movie... I'm a fan of the original movie because it was ahead of its time both aesthetically and thematically. Back in '87, it was talking already about automated violence — both in war and law enforcement. And now, we actually have that happening in our lives and it's going to be more and more present. So we already have the drones. Now we're going to have automated robots doing law enforcement and replacing soldiers in the battlefield. So we had a chance to make this movie and talk about this."

Two main posters were released in late 2013, with one showing CTBA complex in Madrid. TV spots were uploaded to Sony Pictures and StudioCanal UK's YouTube channels from January 2014.

A video game for Android and smartphones was released through the film's main website and app stores.

Jada Toys released a range of action figures, including a radio control RoboCop on his Police Cruiser and roleplay merchandise including the new RoboCop helmet and chestplate. Two detailed figures from the film were released in April 2014 from Play Arts Kai.[needs update] The company threezero is also creating two RoboCop figures and a camo-coloured ED-209.

Four one-shot comic tie-ins were published weekly starting from the week of theatrical release in the US. They were collected in a trade paperback edition under the title RoboCop: The Human Element to coincide with the home media releases.

Home media[edit]

RoboCop was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 3, 2014 in the United States.[57] Best Buy had an exclusive Metalpak edition, whilst the Target edition came with an exclusive digital download of the previously unreleased comic "Gauntlet". In the UK, an exclusive Amazon steelbook was made available on June 9.

RoboCop Day[edit]

To coincide with the home media releases, Detroit celebrated with "RoboCop Day" on June 3, 2014, during which RoboCop was photographed throughout the city, with fans and threw the first pitch at the Detroit Tigers game.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

On the film's opening day (a Wednesday) in the United States and Canada, it grossed $2,808,698 in 3,372 theaters, ranked #1 ahead of The Lego Movie, The Monuments Men and Ride Along.[58] It ranked #3 for its opening weekend, earning $21.5 million.[59] As of 11 May 2014, it has grossed $58,607,007 in North America and a further $184,081,958 internationally, for a total worldwide gross of $242,688,965.[4]

Critical response[edit]

RoboCop received mixed reviews. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 48% rating based on 191 reviews, with an average score of 5.6/10. The site's consensus states: "While it's far better than it could have been, José Padilha's RoboCop remake fails to offer a significant improvement over the original."[60] On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average based on selected critic reviews, the film has a score of 52 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[61] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was B+, on an A+ to F scale.[62]

"Every generation, apparently, gets the 'RoboCop' it deserves, or perhaps desires."

Manohla Dargis, writing for The New York Times.[63]

RoboCop received several comparisons to the 1987 film. Guy Lodge of Variety said that "it’s a less playful enterprise than the original, but meets the era's darker demands for action reboots with machine-tooled efficiency and a hint of soul."[64] Leslie Felperin from The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the remake "has a better cast, more meticulous script and, naturally, flashier effects, but it lacks the original's wit and subversive slipperiness."[65] Brian Viner from Daily Mail said that while he was "not predisposed to like this shiny new RoboCop for making me feel ancient, it does have an appealing vitality."[66] Andrew Osmond from SFX says, "It’s not a classic like Paul Verhoeven's 1987 original, but it is an excellent, intelligent SF drama", believing it is "one of the boldest Hollywood reboots we’ve seen yet."[67]

Chris Hewitt from Empire feels "there’s a sense that Padilha, or perhaps his corporate overlords, don’t really get what made the original so special."[68] Nigel Andrews from Financial Times thinks it is "a leaden, needless remake".[69] Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called it "a dumbed-down shoot-em-up frontloaded with elaborate but perfunctory new 'satirical' material in which the movie loses interest with breathtaking speed".[70] His fellow The Guardian film critic Mark Kermode disagreed, writing, "against the odds, this emerges as far less depressing fare than one might have expected, retaining the key elements of political satire and philosophical musings that powered Verhoeven's original" and "it appears to have been made by someone who understands what made the original great."[71]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  53. ^ "Pedro Bromfman to Score 'RoboCop' Remake". 
  54. ^ "OST of RoboCop 2014". 
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  71. ^ Kermode, Mark (February 9, 2014). "RoboCop – review". The Guardian. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]