Frankenstein Mechanics: ROBOCOP Trailer Aims For The Grim N' Gritty

Ben Umstead, East Coast Editor
I am not a child of the 80s. Per se. I was born in the 80s, but was far too young to see and to appreciate Paul Verhoeven's satirical actioner Robocop in its heyday. By the time my adolescence rolled around the original's reputation had already been marred by sloppy sequels and a sub-bar TV Show. My memories of the actual film are vague at best as it's one I haven't had the desire to revisit in my adult years.

So with that, I'm going into José Padilha's remake with eyes that aren't fresh, that are aware of the original, but certainly not filtered with a lot of spite or hesitation towards this new take. Either a new fan or old, the remake's first trailer is nothing to get excited about. There's a lot of bang. There's a lot of boom. Much gravitas. A lot of posturing. It's grim and it's gritty. It looks a lot like the world of Nolan's Batman, of Blomkamp's District 9. It's what we keep expecting in all our weary cynicism  --  and keep getting  --  with these kinds of tentpoles. But, hey it's just a trailer. Trailers can be deceiving. The various suits don't look awful. Joel Kinnaman as Robocop nee Alex Murphy is a Frankenstein's monster. His maker is Gary Oldman (or is it society itself?), playing to the eccentric type he's settled into during these franchise years of his career. Samuel L. Jackson is serious, and I sure liked seeing Michael Keaton on screen. Hey, he could still play Batman couldn't he? Okay enough chit chat. Check out the trailer below.

Robocop rolls out across the world starting January 30, 2014. It hits the states on February 7.     
Around the Internet:
  • davebaxter

    To be honest, the aesthetic/art direction of this looks more like Tropa de Elite than any Nolan-verse. The colors are different, the lighting, and the kind of grit - not wildly different, but nevertheless distinctive.

  • Bos

    This Robocop is too human.... "what have you done to me?" is something that the 80's Robocop would not even think about...

    Well, a "different" movie is not "bad" at all costs, maybe this will be decent anyway.

    This looks both good and bad at the same time. We will see.

  • billydaking

    Actually, "what have you done to me?" and the emotion displayed in that shot seems to run counter to the man or machine dilemma the trailer is pushing, complete with scientist philosophical babble. That's the oddest part for me....the trailer is setting up the movie's one thing, but the title character seems to have already made that choice. Loudly.

  • Qinlong

    It looks surprisingly un-visceral for a film by the director of Tropa De Elite 1 & 2...

  • And they try to lure old fans in with the great old design, just to ditch it at some point for a more "tactical" one? And goreless fights agains CGI robots simply ... no chance being half as grim and gritty as the original.

  • Cedric Chou Ya-Li

    I really wanted to believe, you know, keep an open mind and stuff, but this trailer only reminds me of the TOTAL RECALL 2012 debacle.

  • Random Guy

    I like how the opening paragraph of this post completely eradicates any shred of credibility in all the jabbering of the second.

  • davebaxter

    No it doesn't. Anyone with a brain and who wants to use it rigorously has credibility from a critical standpoint. Laying out their individual perspective never eradicates a writer's credibility. It simply allows the reader to understand where within the range of personal perspectives the writer's rests in comparison with their own. From there, the reader can translate the writer's perspective into how it likely pairs with their own. If your perspective doesn't match with the writer's, that has nothing to do with "credibility".

  • Jeremy Couturier

    I REALLY want to like this but Peter Weller was the perfect casting choice in the 80s, from his wiry frame to his mannerisms to his well played authoritative one liners. Most importantly I want to feel empathy for Murphy, because his humanity is what makes his melding with Robocop so compelling. That being said, I'm not seeing much of that here.

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