‘RoboCop’ Reboot: This Is How You Do It

by Joel Hanek

With little known about it other than an expectation that every review of this movie will include the word “gritty,” the “RoboCop” reboot has loomed over us for months but without much information. With Jose Padilha at the helm (a director who’s no stranger to action and police corruption as seen in his “Elite Squad” films) and screenwriter Nick Schenk (“Gran Torino”) on board the project, the film has plenty of potential for an awesome adaptation. But unless it finds the perfect blend of action, allegory, and camp that Paul Verhoeven concocted, there is plenty of potential to fall flat.

That’s why we’re here to help. Keep reading for ways to properly reboot “RoboCop” for a new age!

I will admit I was a late comer to the original 1987 Verhoeven sci-fi classic, but once I remedied that absence from my film repertoire, it instantly became one of my favorites. Sure, looking back the effects and anachronistic ideas of the future in the ’80s make some parts feel hokey, but the story is timeless: corporate corruption, police corruption, distrusting the system, and standing up for what’s right. The 99% crowd can definitely get behind the themes about the blue collared robot from the Rustbelt. Aside from all that: there are cyborgs, some awesome murder-bots that could use a CGI facelift, and the amount of gore in it would make even Eli Roth and the Human Centipede him/herself blush.

Officer Alex Murphy is a tricky role: at first, he’s the over-the-top, almost naive, do-gooder and once he’s transformed into the RoboCop he’s the stoic face that somehow still commands a monosyllabic charm. While Michael Fassbender’s name has been thrown around as the successor to Peter Weller’s metallic exoskeleton, the latest murmer from the rumorsphere points to “The Killing” star Joel Kinnaman being offered the role. Both of these guys could answer the call to duty – but why not play up the “Everyman” aspect of the role – aka, a non-action star? Someone with the cold authority of a Michael Shannon or the familiar dashing scowl of Jon Hamm.

To juxtapose the reigned demeanor of RoboCop, the film’s villians are wacky and embellished to fill the space. Why not choose an actor who will have fun with it and play it big? The middle-American druglord Clarence Boddicker could be played by someone who’s always on the brink of shouting on screen, like a Phillip Seymour Hoffman or John C. Reilly.

» Avoid the CGI. Certain aspects of Robocop could be updated with a grace and fluidity that CGI offers such as the ED-209 robots that stalk Delta City – but when it comes to the cyborg himself, leave that to the costume (in other words: don’t “Green Lantern” this one, you guys).
» Officer Anne Lewis. Give her a little more character development, please!
» And for the love of Verhoeven, please include this somewhere in the movie!

The unavoidable reboot treads heavily on the hallowed ground of our beloved classic movies. Since Hollywood’s going to destroy everything you’ve ever loved anyway, let’s ride together with the Four Horsemen and embrace the apocalypse of our cinematic nostalgia! Tune into Reboot for more sardonic stupidity, or subject yourself to it willingly by following @joelhanek on Twitter!