What’s new in stores and on video shelves this week:
Genre: Science Fiction/Remake
Directed by: José Padilha
Run time: 117 minutes
The Lowdown: I was 17 years old when the original “Robocop” came out, and I saw the film at a small theater in a tiny Virginia town while on vacation with my Dad.
Despite his snoring throughout the entire film, I was captivated.
Paul Verhoeven’s cult classic was full of snark, snide commentary on corporate America and a rebellious playfulness that seemed to make the brutal carnage almost secondary.
How do you improve on a classic? You can’t, really.
But the 2014 revamp of “Robocop” is such a different creature, a technological marvel of this time, filled with virtual bombast and a hallucinatory visual style, that the two films almost defy comparison.
If anything, this “Robocop” serves as a far better successor to the original “Robocop” than either of the lackluster sequels that followed the first film.
There are moments of geek-out awesomeness, and a few places where the melodrama threatens to upend the rhythm of an otherwise solid genre flick. Joel Kinnaman does a fine job as Det. Alex Murphy, and he’s surrounded by a capable cast of genre veterans, including Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Jackie Earle Haley and, best of all, Gary Oldman.
Oldman really pours himself into his role as the scientist credited with creating the Robocop technology that allows amputees to find a second life with an artificial limb.
The new “Robocop” distinguishes itself by focusing far more on Murphy’s transition from human cop to cyborg soldier, digging deep into the psychological impact of literally being reduced to a head, a set of lungs and a hand.
The other distinction that sets the remake apart is its focus on current events, using the advent of robotic drones in war-torn regions to give its protagonist’s plight urgency and social relevancy.
Jackson seems to be having a ball as a bombastic cable news personality, channeling Bill O’Reilly with a dash of Keith Olbermann thrown in for good measure. Keaton seems to relish the chance to show off his Keaton ticks from years past. And Haley is perfectly suited to play the military geek charged with making sure the machines don’t hesitate in taking a kill shot.
It’s nowhere near as good as the original – nothing could be – but this is definitely not a remake that doesn’t deserve to exist. It’s a good, fun movie with interesting ideas, standout effects and a heart beating inside its metal chest.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Gun violence.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – The same bad guys from the original film, with a few new ones.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
True Blood: The Complete Sixth Season (HBO, 600 minutes, Unrated, DVD): Not the best season, but not a completely unsatisfying season of HBO’s long-running vampire saga, “True Blood” has become comfort food as it prepares to enter its seventh and final year.
There are so many supernatural creatures to keep track of now, so many broken alliances, newly-formed relationships and complete 180 character turns that the once groundbreaking series just feels tired and run down.
But the actors and our attachment to them as their individual characters keep us tuning in.
It’s weird to me how a similar show like “The Vampire Diaries” can completely reinvent itself every season while churning out 22 breakneck episodes a year, and yet “True Blood” can’t seem to find its footing to deliver a solid 10 episodes that follows one predominate arc from beginning to end.
I will say this – “True Blood,” more than any other genre show on TV, has the ability to cause high anxiety about the fate of your favorite Bon Temps residents, and I suspect that in its final hurrah several of those beloved individuals will meet the true death in spectacular and shockingly abrupt fashion.
Kissing Jessica Stein
Son of God
Falling Skies: The Complete Third Season
Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Fourth Season
The Motel Life
Parts Per Billion
Rawhide: The Eighth and Final Season
42nd Street Forever: The Peep Show Collection Vol. 2
Female Gym Coach: Jump and Straddle
Office Love: Behind Closed Doors
Graceland: The Complete First Season
Death Bed – The Bed That Eats
Vintage Erotica anno 1970
Kimodo: Secrets of the Dragon