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.

Avengers Assemble Blu Ray / DVD Preorders Breaking Records

Marvel Avengers Assemble - Click Blu Ray Pack shot for other format options
The biggest film of the year will take retailers by storm on 17th September 2012 when Marvel Avengers Assemble is released on Blu-ray and DVD. As well as giving fans the chance to enjoy the exhilarating action and the movie?s visually stunning special effects over and over again, Blu-ray audiences will also be treated to a host of behind-the-scenes insights and all new footage.

Coupled with box office takings that exceeded $1 billion globally after just 19 days ? making it the third biggest movie of all time globally ? Marvel Avengers Assemble is unquestionably a must own Blu-ray and DVD. Pre-order sales for the film?s Blu-ray and DVD release underline how hotly anticipated this release is, racking up enough sales in three days of pre-orders to put it on track to be the second biggest week one in pre-order sales ever in the UK.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray edition is the highly anticipated all-new short ? Marvel One Shot: ?ITEM 47.? The Avengers won the battle, but a few items were left behind…is the stark warning underlining this side story in which New York City is in ruins following the epic climax to Marvel?s Avengers Assemble. Certain alien technology has been left behind. S.H.I.E.L.D. recovered all but one?a Chitauri weapon, aka ?ITEM 47.? Fans will only be able to find out what happens after Benny (Jesse Bradford) and Claire (Lizzy Caplan), stumble across the elusive weapon by watching the thrilling short exclusively on Blu-ray.

Also, for the first time, Marvel shares scenes that never made it into the cinematic version of the movie and invites viewers to the very early stages of pre-production on the film ?Marvel Avengers Assemble?. Included in the 90 minute documentary ?Building A Dream: Assembling the Avengers? is never before seen footage from ?Iron Man? as well as fascinating insight from director Joss Whedon and producer Kevin Feige on how they began creating the Marvel Cinematic Universe for what has been described as ?the smartest, wittiest, & most unapologetically entertaining comic-book adaptation of the modern era? (Kevin Maher ? The Times) and become one of the most anticipated and talked about movie events in the world.

Marvel Avengers Assemble brings together some of Marvel?s most loved and iconic superhero characters in the biggest superhero movie in history. Directed by Joss Whedon, the film stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Tom Hiddleston, with Stellan Skarsg?rd and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, from a story by Zak Penn and Joss Whedon with screenplay by Joss Whedon, Marvel Avengers Assemble is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series ?The Avengers,? first published in 1963 and a comic institution ever since.

Iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow answer the call to action when Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., initiates a daring, globe-spanning recruitment effort to assemble The Avengers team to defeat an unexpected enemy threatening global safety and security. Despite pulling together the ultimate dream team, Nick Fury and longtime confidant Agent Coulson must find a way to convince the Super Heroes to work with, not against each other, when the powerful and dangerous Loki gains access to the Cosmic Cube and its unlimited power.

The appetite for Marvel Avengers Assemble is seemingly insatiable. In addition to smashing box office records Marvel?s official Facebook site is liked by over 4 million people, and the new Facebook game ?Marvel: Avengers Alliance? attracts over 1.2 million daily users. Sales of all consumer products ranging from action figure toys to adult apparel have exploded since the launch of the movie and is set to continue with with new additions to the range of existing products available and a new animated series of ?The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes? set to premier this summer on Disney XD. Filming has just begun on Iron Man 3, which will be released in 2013.

Marvel Avengers Assemble is presented by Marvel Studios in association with Paramount Pictures. The film is produced by Marvel Studios? President Kevin Feige and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Jon Favreau, Louis D?Esposito, Patricia Whitcher, Victoria Alonso and Jeremy Latcham.

The Spirit Movie Launch Party

Samuel L Jackson

Samuel had obviously been on a whirlwind tour of London giving interviews all day – half the radio journalists in th eroom had already interviewed him once that day and he was quick to poke fun at them before settling down to speak to everyone.

Dressed in a black leather jacket and flat leather cap, Samuel looked as if his forthoming 60th birthday was years away, and was enjoying speakign to everyone, dashing around between the various groups of press and photographers.

So Samuel, this Spirit thing… what’s it about?
Well, it has a couple of chicks, a couple of guys, and a whole lot of asskicking… it’s a fun movie!

Is that it?
Yep, that’s pretty much it.

And working with Frank?
Working with Frank was pretty good, but the money was better.

C’mon, you’re not fooling me
Really – I just need the money! I spend it on golf!

Eva Mendez

Waiting for Eva to reach us in Press Pen 1 (yes, Scifind is that important!), a worried PR girl came to us to remindeveryone that it is pronounced Ay-va. She even made us practise saying it. I got it straight away, as did the pretty lady from the Telegraph, but the trendily dressed pap from The News Of The World Struggled a bit. Bless.

Eva looked, I have to say, Amazing. Things were getting a bit rushed – Scarlett was hot on her tail, but we managed to get a few questions in before she was ushered off to the private party.

Frank Miller

Hi Frank. Congratulations on the new movie – the clips playing behind us look awesome. It’s definitely due out in January?
Absolutely – it’s all done.

Really? So no more shooting needs ot be done at all? I don’t want to be dissapointed…
That’s right – it is completely finished. Well, I’m just doing the Directrs cut now, but it’s all ready to go after that.

So looking at the press releases and visuals, this fits in with your other movies in that it has a strong theme of characters who don’t have particularly supernatural powers.
Well yeah, that’s the sort of movie I make – it’s my style.

Yeah, but you’re Frank Miller – each story you tell introduces new concepts – what’s the skinny on this one?
Probably the similarities and differences between the hero and anti-hero, and the fierce love and loyalty to the city.

Kind of like Spiderman?
Yeah, but a little more ambiguous, and it’s a much darker world. It’s not an easy relationship.

One thing I love is that your characters can always take a hell of a beating
They can – and this one takes it to a whole new level – they get really punished and do more extreme things to each other than ever before.

Is that a part of the theme – punishment?
Maybe – you’ll need ot watch the movie and make your own mind up, but I think that could be seen as part of the message and theme.

And they’re quite dark – even the hero has a bit of a history.
Absolutely – being shot to death and not knowing why you survived or how you are pretty much invulnerable tends to do that to you…

So you interviewed 300 people tifind your hero – was Samuel an easier decision?
He was the only choice – I had him in mind from the outset.

What was it like working with Samuel? Eva mentioned that he used to play the odd trick to lighten things up a bit
Samuel is a real gentlemen – a pleasure to work with.

So what sort of pranks did he play?
Nothng serious, just the odd well placed joke or ad-libbing to help get the most out of the other actors. I’m very greateful to him for helping the other actors feel at home and put in their best performance.

Didn’t that take up time?
No – you can keep the cameras rolling for some things, and he was very good on set – he would never waste time or anything like that.

Why did you choose The Spirit?
I love the story – it was ideal for making a feature film, so when I got the opportunity aand time to do it, I couldn’t really let anyone else do it. It all came together pretty quickly.

So what next?
We have a few things in the pipeline – I’m going to do this one first – get the final cut done, see it through the launch, and then see what is available after that.

Noel Clarke

Noel Clark, better known as Micky from Dr Who turned up looking pretty excited about seeing the new Frank Miller movie. He even bought hs original Frank Miller Dark Knight Comic Book for frank to sign!

So straight into the questions…

So what are you doing now Noel?
I am conccentrating on directing at the moment… we have 3 new films coming out next year, and one TV Pilot.

So are you a fan of the Spirit?
I can’t say I ever read the book, but I am a huge Frank Miller fan – he doesn’t believe me, so I bought my original Dark Knight Comic Book to prove it.

What comic book would you like to be in?
They’re making a Justice League film – I should be in that, but you have to be American I suppose. They seem to be doing all the big comic stuff at the moment – Justice League, The Avengers…

So as a UK director and actor, doyou think a comicbook style movie could be shot using english actors and locations or is it too Americanised?
Well you know me, I always use British talent and shoot int he UK – I think it could be done. Who knows, perhaps I’ll do it myself.

So… On to Doctor Who… The last time I saw you in Doctor Who, you were walking off into the sunset with the Torchwood team – can we read anything into that?
I think they were just going for chips.

Perhaps he went for a special party with Captain Jack?
What? Jack? No! Micky would go for Martha Jones, She’s well fit!

Quite. So will you be coming back or not?
Well it’s a great series and I loved working on it – we’ll have to see. I’m pretty busy, but if they ask me…
And they haven’t asked you yet?
You’ll have to wait and see!

So aside from your films, have you thought about doing a David Tennant and going back to the theatre – you do have an Olivier Award already…
That’s right I do – I forgot about that! **looks down at the other press and paps** You didn’t mention that – you’ve done your research!
Well, you were in Doctor Who, I know your shoe size too! So would you go back to the theatre? DT is doing pretty well there…
Yeah, I would if the right role came along. But we’ll have to see what happens…

Awesome. We’ll keep an eye out for something cool enough… What are your plans for christmas then?

It’s not going to be a quiet one, but I have new baby now, so it’ all about spending it with my family.

So what was your best Christmas Present?
I can’t tell you my favourite, but I can tell you my second favourite. It sounds rubbish and materialistic, but I love my PS3 – it’s brilliant!

By now Noels minder was getting frantic. I had thought he was just excercising his wrist, but he was actually trying to tell us to hurry up. bidding a quick goodbye, Noel dissapeared into the private party, never to be seen again…