The first trailer to Jose Padilha‘s remake of Robocop has hit… and I find myself feeling rather non-plussed.
Paul Veerhoven’s original film is a masterpiece of satirical science-fiction and social commentary disguised as a slam-bang action film. I am not sure what this one is trying to do, storywise. It seems as if Murphy, the gun-downed police officer who become an unwilling and unwitting experiment subject that places him in a cybernetic body, knows that he is actually human the whole time, not something that he discovers about himself over the course of the film. Worse, it seems as if his wife his complicit with the decision to graft him into the robot suit rather than believing that he was killed in the line of duty. This one change undermines so much of the original story. It robs it of much of the pathos generated by Murphy slowly discovering that his true nature but realizing that he should not reveal himself to his wife lest that cause her even more emotional pain than his death did. It also weakens the original’s idea of a corporation as villain and undermines its criticism of purusing profits at the expense of people.
Maybe Padilha has something in store that isn’t hinted at in the trailer below, but I am not sure that the stated conflict about man versus machine that we see is enough to make this a worthy successor to the original film. We’ll find out when it hits theaters on February 7.