Robocop 2014 – Is it any good?

Robocop 2014
Robocop 2014
Robocop 2014

If the original Robocop was MS-DOS, then Robocop 2014 is the App Store. This will be a good or a bad thing depending on your tastes and how nostalgic you’re feeling.

The newer version does still have a satirical edge, but it’s somehow managed to become downplayed by making it more explicit. Rather than showing how the world has changed through regular news broadcasts, we have Samuel L Jackson (who is clearly having an absolute ball) playing a Fox News style presenter, giving very biased news coverage. It’s fun, and reminiscent of Glenn Beck, but it doesn’t quite feel like it has the same edge.

While it’s unlikely to be loved in the same way that the original movie is, it does have some teeth and it does have some interesting points to make. After all, we now live in a world with drones, which makes perfect sense as a military and robotic starting point for the kind of technology that leads to Robocop.

If the original film was about a robot remembering what he was when he was a human, the remake is slower and (unexpectedly) more subtle. We watch his humanity being taken away from him in the name of compromise and corporate necessity, which also means that we get more of an idea who he actually is. While his home life is more than a little too perfect, it works better than it did in the original, where we get far more of an idea of Murphy as a cop than we do as a person. It helps that Joel Kinnaman is strong in the lead, and plays a more rounded character both before and after his robotification than Peter Weller did.

One interesting thing that the update manages to do is to take the visual language of first-person shooters smoothly and comfortably enough that you shouldn’t be surprised if you find yourself wanting to reach for a joypad at times. Considering one of the ideas in the movie is that of Murphy being made to think he’s more in control of what’s happening than he actually is, that’s actually a particularly nice touch.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t notes that miss wildly. The sleek new black design just isn’t anywhere near as iconic as the original, which is something the filmmakers appear to be very aware of – the film is topped and tailed with an updated version of the original design, as if they’re aware that it’s the one people want to see. Also, the black design is just unmemorable. It looks like a prototype action figure that hasn’t been painted yet. Also, when Robocop is on his new bike, it’s difficult not to think of the batpod with all the black armour on display.

It’s frustrating at times, because it feels like it was almost really good, whereas it keeps hampering itself by not quite going all out. There are some scenes that definitely work, but there’s just not the sense of loss that there was with the original. Because the battle scenes are so fast, it’s difficult for much to have time to settle, and while the satire is definitely there, it feels like it was trying to be careful not to offend any of its targets too much either, which makes it feel rather muted at times.

It took me a while to realise, but Michael Keaton is essentially playing Steve Jobs, which makes for some entertainment, and gives a little extra bite to the proceedings, but it doesn’t quite work as a target in the same way the original did. The original was about corporate ladder-climbing and greed, and this one is more about trying to meet targets and popularity ratings. But while it means that there aren’t quite as many annoying, suited bad guys, there’s still plenty to think about.

At the end of the day, everyone seems like they’re having fun with the movie (especially Keaton, Jackson and Gary Oldman, who appears to be channeling Dave Allen of all people), and it’s well enough made to be worth your time. It’s certainly not a lazy remake, and there’s been a lot of thought going into it. I think that a lot of the critics that have been tearing into it since the first pictures came out would give it a lot more time if it simply wasn’t called Robocop.

But as it is, it’s a reasonably good film that probably deserves better than to be dismissed out of hand. Whether you go to the cinema or wait for it to turn up elsewhere down the road, it’s a flawed but fun and interesting remake. It’s not going to grab people like the original did, but it’s a more than servicable update that primarily suffers from seeming a little bland in comparison to the rougher original. My biggest criticism is that I ended up wishing it could have just been a little sillier.


Robocop 2014
Robocop 2014
Robocop 2014

In RoboCop, the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the center of robot technology. Their drones are winning American wars around the globe and now they want to bring this technology to the home front. Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) is a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit. After he is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp utilizes their remarkable science of robotics to save Alex’s life. He returns to the streets of his beloved city with amazing new abilities, but with issues a regular man has never had to face before.

RoboCop will be released on February 7th 2014

Robocop Action Figures

The Dark Knight Rises Review

The Dark Knight Rises

There’s a moment in The Dark Knight which not only feels like a really good comic book scene, but actually transcends it, and becomes better than most of the Batman comics there have been. It’s when The Joker visits Harvey Dent at his hospital bed, and says just the right things to take advantage of Harvey’s broken mind. Everything about that scene is great for long-time fans, not least because of the way it uses well-known characters, but actually reinvents them and ties their fates together.

There are a few scenes like that in The Dark Knight Rises, and this sets it apart from most comic book movies. With most, there’s a sense that if they manage to come pretty close to the comic book at some point, that’s a good thing. One of the most impressive things about Christopher Nolan’s trilogy is that no matter how grittily he portrays the characters, tech and locations, it never loses sight of what’s been best about the comic books themselves. This movie draws mostly from the mid-late nineties run, with elements of the ‘Knightfall’ story as well as a lot of ‘No Man’s Land’.

But, more so than the comics themselves for 95% of the time, the film deals with consequences. Following the end of the previous movie, Bruce has effectively retired, his body shattered from the accumulated damage of crime-fighting and his reputation even more so. In some ways, he’s looking to return, but in other ways, he’s given up. One of the reasons he can’t ignore the events that take place in this film, though, is that in a direct way, he’s responsible for what’s happening. Again, the events of the first two films aren’t just distant memories – they directly inform what’s happening in this one.

This allows for a larger scope to be taken with Batman than has really been taken before – there’s not much need to introduce characters, as we already know the main ones. This frees Nolan up to push the character into somewhat unexplored territory (certainly filmically, and for most of the comics history as well).

This also means that Christian Bale is front-and-centre in this movie, with more interesting things to do than he’s had in a while. Anyone who has seen The Machinist knows that Bale can play withdrawn and haunted like few others, and he plays Bruce as such a recluse in the early parts of the film that it’s difficult to see how he can end up donning the costume again.

Tom Hardy plays Bane as Batman’s threatening shadow, with a huge arrogance to go along with his brutality. He’s bordering on camp at times, but is a hugely fun villain, if (and stop me if you’ve heard this one) somewhat incomprehensible at times.

Meanwhile, Anne Hathaway wins over a huge amount of her nay-sayers with a confident, winning performance, which combines sexiness with pragmatism. The slow build to her appearance in full costume means that the character never feels as ludicrous as she really should – a trick that Nolan also used with Batman in the first film.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues his slow climb towards the a-list, with a strong performance in a role that gets a lot to do, but never feels completely fleshed out. Marion Cotillard is charismatic, but probably would have benefitted from more screen-time to flesh out her character.

Meanwhile, if you liked Gary Oldman and Michael Caine in the first two films, you’re probably going to like them here. Caine gets to be emotional, and Oldman gets to be angry and frustrated, and otherwise, they’re continuing doing what they’ve been doing so far in the series.

The film looks amazing, as is to be expected from a movie from Christopher Nolan (especially with Wally Pfister behind the camera), and while Hans Zimmer’s score can be a little overbearing at times, it continues the huge quality of the series so far.

This isn’t to say that the film doesn’t have its flaws. There are continuity issues and plot points that it seems jaw-dropping that they’ve been missed. There are actions that happen purely to advance the plot, and there are a couple of scenes that end up feeling like a cop-out.

However, your mileage will vary on this. You may find that the flaws in it irritate you too much, or you may find they’re something you barely notice. For this reviewer, there’s a scene involving a trial that perfectly displays the kind of comic book movie that nobody thought we’d ever get. And this means that the positives outweigh the negatives completely, and while the flaws irritate, they don’t destroy.

Harry Potter – Looking Back Video Feature

To watch this video, you need the latest Flash-Player and active javascript in your browser.

The ?Boy Who Lived? comes face to face with the enemy of the wizarding world for a final, epic battle in ?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2? when it arrives on Blu-ray 3D Pack, Blu-ray Triple Play, DVD and Digital Download on 2nd December from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson return for the closing installment of the most successful film franchise of all time. ?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2? has earned more than $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office.

?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2? is directed by David Yates who also helmed the magical blockbusters ?Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,? ?Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? and ?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.? Returning from previous ?Harry Potter? films is an all-star supporting cast, including Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Julie Walters and Bonnie Wright.

The collective Harry Potter films are the highest-grossing franchise of all time, a global record it has held since the success of the sixth film, 2009?s ?Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.?

The release of ?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2? will also be marked by a special celebration at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort, where the Harry Potter stories live on. The Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration will consist of a series of special events to be attended by cast and filmmakers from the Harry Potter films. The three-day celebration will take place from Friday, November 11 to Sunday, November 13.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2 NEW Trailer

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ? Part 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ? Part 2 – ? 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved
Harry Potter Publishing Rights ? J.K.R. (or J.K. Rowling)

Harry Potter characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and ? Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ? Part 2? is the final adventure in the Harry Potter film series. The much-anticipated motion picture event is the second of two full-length parts.

In the epic finale, the battle between the good and evil forces of the wizarding world escalates into an all-out war. The stakes have never been higher and no one is safe. But it is Harry Potter who may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice as he draws closer to the climactic showdown with Lord Voldemort.

It all ends here.

?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ? Part 2? stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, reprising their roles as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The film?s ensemble cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Jim Broadbent, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Tom Felton, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, Ciar?n Hinds, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Matthew Lewis, Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, David Thewlis, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters and Bonnie Wright.

The film was directed by David Yates, who also helmed the blockbusters ?Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,? ?Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? and ?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ? Part 1.? David Heyman, the producer of all of the Harry Potter films, produced the film, together with David Barron. Screenwriter Steve Kloves adapted the screenplay, based on the book by J.K. Rowling. Lionel Wigram is the executive producer.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Trailer

To watch this video, you need the latest Flash-Player and active javascript in your browser.

To watch this video, you need the latest Flash-Player and active javascript in your browser.

Behind the scenes, the creative team was led by director of photography Eduardo Serra, production designer Stuart Craig, editor Mark Day, composer Alexandre Desplat, visual effects supervisor Tim Burke, and costume designer Jany Temime.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Heyday Films production, ?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,? which marks the last installment in the most successful film franchise of all time.

?Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ? Part 2? will be released worldwide in theatres and IMAX, in 3D and 2D, beginning July 15, 2011.

Jameson Empire Magazine Movie Awards – Winners


It was an outstanding evening on Sunday 27th March as the film industry?s biggest and most respected stars turned out to celebrate the Jameson Empire Awards 2011. The awards, which were again hosted by comedian Dara O Briain and took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, were honoured with the presence of such leading names from the world of cinema as Anna Kendrick, Talulah Riley, Lasse Hallstr?m,? Jonathan Ross, The Inbetweeners, Sarah Harding, Jessica Hynes, Noel Clarke, Kate Magowan, Neil Marshall and Joanne Froggatt, amongst others.

This year, the Awards were evenly distributed across the nominated films, with Inception, last summer?s movie phenomenon, carrying off the top prize for Best Film (presented by Kirin Ichiban). The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the first film from the Stieg Larsson trilogy, won two Awards for Best Thriller and Best Actress (presented by Citro?n) for Noomi Rapace, whilst Matthew Vaughn?s Kick-Ass also walked away with two Awards for Best British Film (presented by The Industry Trust) and Best Newcomer (presented by aqua) for Chloe Moretz for her controversial role as Hit-Girl.? Accepting the trophies for Kick-Ass were screenwriter Jane Goldman with cast members Mark Strong, Dexter Fletcher and Jason Flemyng.

For his multiple award-winning performance as King George VI in The King?s Speech, Colin Firth was honoured with this year?s Jameson Best Actor Award, presented to him by Olivia Williams. The award for Best Director (presented by Sony) went to Edgar Wright, for his immensely popular Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Sponsors Jameson Irish Whiskey and Empire magazine were delighted to acknowledge and honour one of Britain?s most exceptional actors for his phenomenal body of work.? From films such as Sid and Nancy, Prick Up Your Ears and Leon to his recent work in the blockbuster Harry Potter and Batman film franchises, Gary Oldman was bestowed the Empire Icon, which was presented to him by his Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy co-star Colin Firth.

In addition, special honours were bestowed on two of Britain?s most in-demand and highly respected young talents.? For her overall contribution to cinema through a wide array of memorable roles, Keira Knightley took home the Empire Hero Award (presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey), which was presented to her by her friend and Atonement co-star, James McAvoy.? Award-winning writer-director Edgar Wright was awarded this year?s Empire Inspiration (presented by HMV).

Meanwhile, horror fans will be pleased that The Last Exorcism beat off competition to win Best Horror, with the film?s producer, Eli Roth, at the ceremony to collect the award, whilst the ethereal Lily Cole presented Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy to actor Tom Felton for the box office record-breaking penultimate film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Dark British humour was the champion in comedy this year with the BAFTA Award-winning Four Lions voted as Best Comedy. Presented by Dermot O?Leary, the cast and producers accepted the award on behalf of filmmaker Christopher Morris.

This year, Empire readers have flooded the popular amateur filmmaking award Done In 60 Seconds with their entries and the finalists include fantastic one-minute reprisals of films such as Avatar.? However, there can only be one winner, and Jameson and Empire were delighted to give Maeve Stram the Award for her wonderful adaptation of 127 Hours, which was presented to her by two of the judges, Chris O?Dowd & Neil Marshall.

Mark Dinning, Empire?s Editor, said: ?For movies, the past year has without a doubt been the most interesting in what feels like forever. Where previous years have seen sequels and spin-offs dominate, the past 12 months have seen originality and style reign supreme. And I?m very proud that Empire?s 1.5 million readers have recognised and applauded that with their votes this year quite rightly rewarding the likes of Inception, Kick-Ass and The King?s Speech ? sensational movies that have set new boundaries for filmmakers the world over. I am also delighted that this year we have been able to award the incredible Keira Knightley, Edgar Wright and Gary Oldman with special awards. All are British, all are brilliant.?

Jameson Empire Awards 2011 ? Winners:

Best Newcomer ? Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass)

Best Comedy ? Four Lions

Best Actress presented by Citro?n ? Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Best Horror ? The Last Exorcism

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy ? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Best Thriller ? The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Best British Film presented by The Industry Trust ? Kick-Ass

Empire Inspiration presented by HMV ? Edgar Wright

Jameson Best Actor ? Colin Firth (The King?s Speech)

Best Film presented by Kirin Ichiban ? Inception

Best Director presented by Sony ? Edgar Wright

Empire Hero presented by Jameson Irish Whiskey ? Keira Knightley

Empire Icon? Gary Oldman

Done in 60 Seconds ? 127 Hours by Maeve Stam