RoboCop (2014 film)

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RoboCop
Robocop poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJosé Padilha
Produced by
Screenplay byJoshua Zetumer
Based onCharacters
by Edward Neumeier
Michael Miner
Starring
Music byPedro Bromfman
CinematographyLula Carvalho
Editing by
StudioStrike Entertainment
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 30, 2014 (2014-01-30) (Malaysia/Singapore/Taiwan)
  • February 7, 2014 (2014-02-07) (United Kingdom)
  • February 12, 2014 (2014-02-12) (United States)
Running time118 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$130 million[2][3]
Box office$31,508,698[4]
 
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RoboCop
Robocop poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJosé Padilha
Produced by
Screenplay byJoshua Zetumer
Based onCharacters
by Edward Neumeier
Michael Miner
Starring
Music byPedro Bromfman
CinematographyLula Carvalho
Editing by
StudioStrike Entertainment
Distributed by
Release dates
  • January 30, 2014 (2014-01-30) (Malaysia/Singapore/Taiwan)
  • February 7, 2014 (2014-02-07) (United Kingdom)
  • February 12, 2014 (2014-02-12) (United States)
Running time118 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$130 million[2][3]
Box office$31,508,698[4]

RoboCop is a 2014 American science fiction action film directed by José Padilha. It is a loose remake of the 1987 film of the same name and stars Joel Kinnaman in the title role.

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, MGM 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 and Detroit in the United States.

The film premiered in Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan on January 30, 2014. It was released in the United Kingdom on February 7, 2014 and was released in the United States on February 12, 2014.[7]

Plot[edit]

In 2028, multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of military "robot soldier" technology, supplying the US Military with mechanical soldiers that are used overseas. OmniCorp wants to sell their products for use in civilian law enforcement in the United States but public opinion, embodied by the Dreyfuss Act, prevents this. OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) asks his marketing team, in conjunction with scientist Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), to create a new law enforcement product by combining human and machine that he believes can be "sold" to the American public. They begin looking for a police officer who was permanently injured to act as the core of their prototype.

Policeman Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured by a carbomb planted on orders from a local crime boss Antoine Vallon. Norton picks Murphy for the RoboCop program, and with consent from Murphy's wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish), has him outfitted with the RoboCop body and software. Alex at first rejects his current condition, but is convinced by Norton to be strong for his wife and son. Rick Mattox (Jackie Earle Haley), OmniCorp's military tactician, is skeptical of Alex's abilities, saying he will never be as efficient as a fully mechanical robot. In order to make Alex perform better, Norton tampers with Alex's brain, making him believe that his tactical decisions are his own when he is actually executing programs.

While preparing for a public press conference to unveil RoboCop, Alex is emotionally overwhelmed and has a seizure while Norton is downloading the police database information into his brain. Pressed for time, Norton alters Alex's brain chemistry, lowering his dopamine levels until he no longer displays any emotions. Under control, Alex attends the press conference, where he ignores his waiting wife and son, and efficiently apprehends a criminal in the crowd. RoboCop is a public relations success, and drastically reduces the crime rate in Detroit. Public opinion on the Dreyfuss Act begins to turn. Norton is told to prevent Alex from seeing his wife and son to disguise the lowered dopamine changes.

Clara manages to confront her husband as he is leaving the station, telling him about his son David's nightmares. Alex leaves, but then overrides his programming and detours from his current case to go to his house. He reviews the CCTV footage of his accident and realizes that David saw his body and was traumatized by it. Alex pursues Vallon for revenge, and in the course of tracking him down to a warehouse, learns Vallon is tipped off that Alex was coming and prepares for him, when Alex arrives Vallon nearly succeeds in killing him but fails and is shot by Alex. At the station Alex arrests the two corrupt cops, and is about to arrest the Chief of Police, when Mattox shuts him down by remote control, and Alex is taken back to OmniCorp.

Sellars decides to spin this turn of events to his advantage, via television presenter Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson), who thanks RoboCop for revealing the fallibility of the police, and points out that drones are incorruptible. A repeal of the Dreyfuss Act goes underway, with votes overwhelmingly in support of the repeal. Clara goes to the press and angrily demands to see her husband. Sellars, seeing Alex is no longer useful and fearing the truth what has been done to him being exposed, orders Mattox to kill him. Norton reaches the lab first and revives Alex, telling him everything. Alex, feeling betrayed, goes after Sellars.

Sellars has the OmniCorp building shut down and armed with drones. Alex gains entry with the help of his former partner, Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams) and other police officers. Alex reaches the roof, where Sellars is waiting for a helicopter and has Clara and David as hostages. Alex's programming prevents him from arresting Sellars, but he manages to overcome to shoot Sellars, killing him.

OmniCorp's parent company, OCP, decides to review the drone and RoboCop program. The President vetoes the repeal of the Dreyfuss Act based on the testimony of Norton, who confesses everything they'd done in the RoboCop program. Alex's body is rebuilt in Norton's laboratory, and then he waits for Clara and David, who are coming to visit him.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Sony Pictures (Screen Gems division) 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 Mary Parent the chairperson of MGM, 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, 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 will get an IMAX release on February 5, 2014.[20]

Pre-production[edit]

On April 12, 2011, rumors were 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 and 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 is targeting a 2013 release and José Padilha of Elite Squad and Bus 174 fame is 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 will 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] Those plans fell through and he backed away.[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 Maddox 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 the megacompany OmniCorp.[36]

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

Rob Bottin's original costume for the title character was reimagined. 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]

Production began in September 2012.[47]

Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles revealed that Padilha called to him during production 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 is hell here. The film will be good, but I have never suffered so much and I do not want to do it again".[48] 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]

Filming[edit]

Filming has taken place in Toronto[49] and other parts of Ontario.[50] Shooting locations within the city included the University of Toronto where a scene was being 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 has been partially shot in Detroit.[52]

Music[edit]

RoboCop (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Film score by Pedro Bromfman
ReleasedJanuary 31, 2014 (iTunes)
February 4, 2014 (Audio CD)
GenreSoundtrack
Length54:28
LabelSony Classical

Pedro Bromfman, who also scored José Padilha's Elite Squad films, has scored the film.[53] The TV Spots have confirmed the soundtrack will be available through Sony Classical.

RoboCop (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[54]
No.TitleArtistLength
1."Mattox and Reporters"  Pedro Bromfman01:35
2."First Day"  Pedro Bromfman03:23
3."Title Card"  Pedro Bromfman and Basil Poledouris00:49
4."Restaurant Shootout"  Pedro Bromfman02:47
5."Omnicorp"  Pedro Bromfman01:40
6."Calling Home"  Pedro Bromfman02:45
7."Made in China"  Pedro Bromfman02:28
8."Fixing RoboCop"  Pedro Bromfman01:56
9."Uploading Data"  Pedro Bromfman01:35
10."Reputation on the Line"  Pedro Bromfman01:31
11."Explosion"  Pedro Bromfman01:05
12."RoboCop Presentation"  Pedro Bromfman01:43
13."If I Had a Pulse"  Pedro Bromfman02:41
14."Going After Jerry"  Pedro Bromfman03:12
15."Vallon's Warehouse"  Pedro Bromfman02:21
16."Murphy's Case is Filed"  Pedro Bromfman01:19
17."They're Going to Kill Him"  Pedro Bromfman03:16
18."Rooftop"  Pedro Bromfman02:56
19."Mattox Is Down"  Pedro Bromfman01:40
20."Clara and David"  Pedro Bromfman02:56
21."Sellars Lies"  Pedro Bromfman02:28
22."Code Red"  Pedro Bromfman02:00
23."2.6 Billion"  Pedro Bromfman01:23
24."Iran Inspection"  Pedro Bromfman02:12
25."Battling Robots"  Pedro Bromfman02:47
Total length:
54:28

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 José 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.[55] Two further trailers have also been released, one of which was uploaded to Yahoo! Movies with an introduction from Padhila, 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 film posters were released in late 2013, with one showing CTBA complex in Madrid. TV Spots were uploaded to Sony's YouTube channel in January 2014. These also confirmed the soundtrack will be available through Sony Classical.

A video game for Android and smartphones was released. Jada Toys are releasing a range of action figures, including a radio control RoboCop on his Police Cruiser and roleplay merchandise including the new RoboCop helmet and chestplate. Four one-shot comic tie-ins have also been announced. Two detailed figures from the film are due for release in April 2014 from Play Arts Kai.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

On the film's opening weekend 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.[56] It has grossed $28,700,000 overseas, for a total worldwide gross of $31,508,698.[4]

Critical response[edit]

RoboCop received mixed reviews. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 49% rating based on 144 reviews, with an average score of 5.5/10. 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."[57] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 based on reviews from critics, the film has a score of 52 (indicating "mixed or average reviews") based on 38 reviews.[58] CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend revealed the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was B+ on an A+ to F scale.[59]

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."[60] 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."[61] Brian Viner from Daily Mail said that while he's not "predisposed to like this shiny new RoboCop for making me feel ancient, it does have an appealing vitality."[62] 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."[63]

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."[64] Nigel Andrews from Financial Times thinks it is "a leaden, needless remake".[65] 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." and gave it 1 out of 5.[66] His fellow 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 [...] Verhoeven's original" and "it appears to have been made by someone who understands what made the original great." Kermode gave the film 3 out of 5.[67]

Sequel[edit]

When Gary Oldman appeared on The Graham Norton Show on 7 February 2014, the day of the film's UK release, asked if they were hoping the new film was to become a franchise, he replied, "I think they're hoping. Of course."[68]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]