In an interview with MTV, Joel Kinnaman, the actor hired to play Officer Alex Murphy/Robocop, described the new look thusly –
RoboCop is going to be a lot more human. The first movie is one of my favorite movies. I love it. Of course, Verhoeven has that very special tone, and it’s not going to have that tone. It’s a re-imagination of it. There’s a lot of stuff from the original. There are some details and throwbacks, but this version is a much better acting piece, for Alex Murphy and especially when he is RoboCop. It’s much more challenging… [The helmet is] not going to be jaw action. They’re still working on the suit and how it’s going to look, but the visor is going to be see-through. You’re going to see his eyes.
In the original film, after Murphy is shot up by the bad guys, he is thought to be dead by his friends and family and considered to be nothing but parts for their new project, the one that creates Robocop, by the corporation that runs the Detroit police, OCP. The public gets to see very little of his face and once it is revealed in the precinct house, Murphy’s former fellow officers are aghast at what they see, especially in the face of the OCP representative stating that Robocop really isn’t Murphy anymore.
But I think that by exposing more of the human face under Robocop’s helmet, the film runs the risk of minimizing the original film’s theme of corporations’ dehumanization of their employees. Now I understand the need to make the new film stand out from its predecessor and to try and replicate director Paul Veerhooven’s satirical tone from the first Robocop would be a fool’s errand. And the desire of an actor to have his face visible as much as possible is a strong one. Look at how many times superheros loose their masks in all the various comic book movies, usually during the finale.
Granted, we are still early in the pre-production process and this could be just one of many looks that Padilha is exploring. Actually, I am hoping that it is just one of many options on the table, because I think that this one is a bad way to go.