This film retains the concept but alters the scenario, making it more believable than the original. On the flip side, it lacks recall value.
When you take an outlandish premise seriously (*Robocop 1987*), the reboot could look dreary, but Jose Padilha manages to keep his high-on-emotions version real and engaging. For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the story revolves around detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) who almost dies in a blast, orchestrated by the very culprits who are on his radar.
Robotics Company Omnicorp must create cyborgs (half-human, half-robots) to clean up the crime-ridden streets of Detroit, and convince the US public and opposition to allow their drones to safeguard the country. Murphy matches their requirement and in order to survive, becomes the Robocop, who shouldn't but still overwrites their commands to solve his own murder. Can they stop him?
Set in 2028 Detroit, the reboot has a lot that works for it. Be it the hilarious media parody (splendidly performed by Samuel L. Jackson who plays a strident TV anchor), impressive special effects (which make the previous film look horribly outdated) or the circumstances in which Murphy becomes the hybrid robot, the new film is more relevant to today's society.
It highlights America's obsession with consumerism perfectly. Add to that, a superior star cast comprising of Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel and you have a remake that's slick, stylish (the new Robocop flaunts a matte-black body armour and rides a cool motorbike), yet not lacking substance. Also, the film predominantly focuses on Murphy's psychic upheaval and sense of loss, which Joel Kinnaman does complete justice to. His equation with his family too gets ample screen time, unlike the original.
While you cannot pinpoint a particular drawback, the remake faces 'out of sight, out of mind' syndrome. In spite of the action scenes being entertaining enough, nothing stays in your mind once you've left the theatre, barring the upgraded armour and gory images of the remains of Murphy's body. You feel the absence of a menacing villain and thus a real fight (which happened to *Terminator Salvation* as well).
Nonetheless, this Robocop manages to resurrect the franchise and establish a strong build-up for sequels to follow.