Robocop: Just. Don’t.


Against my better judgement, I braved last night’s storms to go to the local cinema to watch the new Robocop remake.

That, in hindsight, was a mistake of epic proportions.

It was a remake without any good reason – the original wasn’t even a favourite of mine, and I couldn’t think what new spin the creators could put on the story. It’s probably geek blasphemy, but I thought the original Robocop was a prime example of 1980s cinema excesses. It was pointlessly violent and shallow.

There, I’ve said it.


So why go to see the remake of an original I didn’t enjoy?

The lure of the Cineworld Unlimited Card. Basically, I’d already paid for it. With this card, I”m less fussy about what I go to see and I’m more likely to take a punt on something. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes not.

This was an example of the latter.

This remake echoed the original’s penchant for violence and explosions, needless destruction and paper-thin characters. I began to think back to my disbelief at experiencing the first 30 minutes of Starship Troopers.

I was surprised it took so long to retell the Robocop origin story and, in doing so, wasted the talents of Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton – the latter acting like a pastiche of himself.

The Guilty Parties

Oldman was, as ever, impressive. But his make-up just kept reminding me of Commissioner Gordon, which made me think of the Batman link to Michael Keaton. Which led me to think about linking other cast members to the Batman franchise. The resulting mental gymnastics took some of the anguish my brain was experiencing at having to process such crap.

With hindsight, Oldman was chewing the scenery, but in an entertaining way. I could feel entertained just watch him reading the paper.

Samuel L. Jackson was also hilarious, but at the same time, about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the face. His role hinted at the subtle antifascist theme this film could have emphasised, but I’m afraid the subtlety will be lost on most people. He got cheers every time he appeared on the screen.

Yes, it was that kind of crowd.

Anti-social behaviour

And the experience was made all the worse by the collection of toe-rags who used the evening as an excuse to demonstrate the functionality of their mobile phones to each other.

On that note, one of the most disturbing developing of the experience was the ad that encouraged people to download and use a cinema-related app in real time. All across the cinema, smartphones lit up like fireflies in a swamp and despite the advert’s plea to switch them off before the “main feature”, their users declined to comply and kept dicking around electronically for at least another 30mins.

I have to wonder if cinemas are actively trying to undermine the customer experience. They sell people smelly and noisy food to eat during the film and play ads that encourage you to play with your phone.

The visit was only saved by the opportunity to see the excellent trailer for Captain America: Winter Soldier on a massive screen.

In summary

Robocop: not even useful for sheltering from the weather.

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