Robocop (2014) – Steelbook (Blu-ray)

June 5, 2014 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Just a few months ago when 2014’s Robocop arrived in theaters, I remember posting about it on a social media site. The post was regarding the PG-13 rating and how let down I was by that. Another friend then asked “What’s the point of the remake?” I replied saying that money was the point and nothing more. I then had another friend state that “Technically money is the point of every movie”. While that is a valid point (I’m sure every movie is expected to earn back its budget and then some), I meant that it’s clearly trying to market a brand name. It’s made mostly out of greed, trying to capitalize on the popularity of the original film. I highly doubt that anyone demanded a remake of the original film. To be fair, this version is not without its charms, but for better or for worse, it’ll always remain in the shadow of the original film. Surely the filmmakers knew this going in. Outside of being slightly dated, the original holds up surprisingly well. It also delivered hard R-rated action on top of serving as a satire as well. It knew not to take itself too seriously. This version suffers a problem that plagues not just a lot of remakes these days, but also many action movies in general. It’s so self-serious and lacks the slightest trace of fun of the original film.

The year is 2028 in Detroit. Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured after a bomb is planted on his car one night. His injuries essentially ruin him and his only chance of having a life after this is when a company (OmniCorp) decides that he’s the perfect candidate for their new program. He’s now known as Robocop – Part-Man, Part-Machine. Robocop will now help significantly reduce crime. In this version, Michael Keaton plays Raymond Sellers, he’s the CEO of OmniCorp and enlists the help of Dr. Dennet Norton (Gary Oldman). The two of them work painstakingly to fight for this program and get the law to allow this program in the United States. Both Keaton and Oldman do great work here and I enjoyed the conflict of man vs. machine. That creates a nice dilemma about who is held accountable for Alex’s crimes. Alex eventually regains some of his memory from the accident and begins to seek revenge and take out the men responsible for trying to kill him.

Ultimately, your appreciation for this new version will depend on your feelings for the original. It gets a lot of things right. I also enjoyed the scenes with Alex and his family, especially after his accident. There’s an interesting question about whether machines should be allowed to help solve crimes. What happens if a machine kills or injuries innocent people? Still, for the few things this version gets right, it gets a lot wrong. As mentioned, it’s much too serious (A problem the recent Total Recall remake faced) and Kinnaman is all too stiff as the title character. I understand that he’s essentially under the control of OmniCorp, but he brings little to the role. I also wish the film wasn’t so watered down. The PG-13 rating definitely restricts the film and it lacks the hard-hitting impact of the original film. I also have no clue why Murphy (after his accident) still has a human hand? Was this a deliberate choice? Maybe the studio insisted (for some obscure reason) that his right hand remain despite him essentially having no body outside of that? It just bothered me and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it. The film is at least well paced and does offer a few surprises. That’s about all I can say for it, however. Twenty years from now I’ll still go back to the original over this film. Actually, I really can’t see myself revisiting this film again any time soon.

Video: How’s it look?

I didn’t particularly care for the film, but the transfer is first-rate. The print is clean and pristine. Wrinkles and pores in faces are heightened, stubble, textures on clothing, you name it… It’s all finely detailed. Colors are bold and deep. Background shots are strong and exhibit nice details. There’s a nice polished look to the whole thing. There are plenty of shots throughout the city that are given strong clarity. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio. No issues here, the transfer serves the film exceptionally well.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Also strong is the DTS HD track. It’s a nice companion to the strong video transfer. Vocals are clear and problem free, but let’s face it, the action sequences are what will draw you in. This is an overly busy track that makes use of all channels and the rears stay active throughout. There’s a strong bass to the track and that adds to it. I have no issues with this track. Unlike the film, it’s problem free.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The edition reviewed here is the Best Buy Exclusive Steel-Book. There’s a DVD copy and an insert for a digital code and an insert for the new game. The case include rear art featuring one of the OmniCorp machines and there’s inner art featuring Robocop on his motorcycle. This discs included here are otherwise similar to the standard retail version.

  • Deleted Scenes (3:59) – Nothing major here, but remember my complaint about Robocop’s right hand remaining intact? That’s explained here. I think that scene should’ve been left in.
  • Theatrical Trailer – We get two for the film here, always a nice inclusion
  • OmniCorp Public Service Announcement – Nothing major here, just little promos for the Machines built by OmniCorp. They’re fairly useless.
  • RoboCop: Engineered for the 21st Century – Broken into 3 parts (The Illusion of free will: A new Vision, To serve and protect: Robocop’s new weapons and The Robocop suit: Form and Function). A lot of ground is covered here and we learn the reasons behind the remake and how they never meant to top the original, but to try new things. They’re all worth checking out and provide some good notes.
  • Previews
  • DVD/Digital Copy

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