Friday, 7 February 2014

by Akhilan Manivannan, Sophomore 2 Cempaka, Class of 2015

In a century where reboots are as common in the entertainment industry as bread and butter, director José Padilha has succeeded in a the monumental attempt to take the already highly-rated 1980s Robocop franchise, and turn it into a present day marvel. Despite being released only recently, Padilha's Robocop has earned rave reviews from critics.

Robocop takes place in 2028, where multilateral OmniCorp is the center of robot technology, media influence and national power in the United States. At present, OmniCorp is earning big in the military; their drones are being used in foreign relations in a questionably oppressive manner. However, due to the publicly supported Dreyfuss Act, which prevents any drones from bearing firearms in the United States, Omnicorp's revenue is held back considerably as they are unable to release any of their drones in the US. 

The CEO of Omnicorp, Raymond Sellars, thinks he can have the act overturned by swaying the public’s opinion on robotic crime-fighting. He enlists the help of Dr. Dennett Norton to create a new type of law enforcement—combining robot and human. That turns out to be policeman Alex Murphy, who is critically injured by a car-bomb which was planted by his corrupt fellow policemen. The tale unfolds then, when Murphy and his family endure a journey of transformation, deception and manipulation. Will OmniCorp’s scheme backfire as they underestimate the power of the human spirit?

This is a well thought out film with a good plot, cast, and great production values. While seeming simple at first with its almost childish title and superhero look, Robocop deceived me into thinking it was just another good guy against evil villain type of film.

I was pleasantly surprised by the complexity and realism of the plot. Robocop[2014] outshines its predecessor with the introduction of current world scenarios, such as America’s influence in the Middle East and their media presence all around the world, not to mention their advances in STEM fields. The film stresses upon the unseen side of the American government, making the film refreshing and edgier. José Padilha seamlessly incorporated all these subtle realities into a typical sci-fi plot.

Robocop also highlights the prevalence of power inequality in our world. Raymond Sellers and his crew constantly exhibit this in the film when they use Murphy as a human project and attempt to subdue his human side, in the end even turning on him, all for their profit. 

One of the of the standouts is television presenter Pat Novak(Samuel L. Jackson) who acts as a master manipulator, blatantly biased to OmniCorp and all its proceedings. Novak has a brilliant but short monologue at the end of the film, definitively signifying the mindset of the American government depicted in the film.

This film may well be an early contender for 'Sci-fi Movie of the Year', hitting home on all fronts with its suspenseful action for casual moviegoers, and complexity for the more engaged viewers. Be sure to catch it.

Rating: 4.5/5
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