We live in the age of remakes and sequels, with every iteration just as disappointing as the last. The Verge made an feature where they calculated, based on the current trend of remakes, what movies would be remade and/or turned into sequels. It's an interesting read, and you can't deny that the remakes have gotten out of control. The reason the original films are so good, is because they were original in their time. Despite the negativity that faces most remakes and sequels, Robocop manages to be a fresh, up-to-date version of the very obsolete idea of souping man up with a robotic prosthesis. (Iron Man aside)
Everything about 2014 is unmanned: Google's driverless cars, military drones, Amazon's delivery drones, etc. The age of man putting his life in danger piloting a machine has past, we now rely on drones for everything. At least, that's the direction we are going in. Robocop predicts the future pretty accurately in that way, with the company, Omnicorp, trying to sell their robots because they believe that robots aren't held back by emotions and can properly protect us. There is a clear problem with that, however, drones do not value human life, so the United States is not a great market for Omnicorp to sell its robots. Putting a man in a suit is a marketing tool in the new Robocop, and the film fully acknowledges that it's not the most effective way to stop crime with robotics. In the 1987 Robocop, turning a man into a machine was still a revolutionary idea, but the 2014 Robocop is aware of its ineffectiveness in the current automated landscape.
Joel Kinnaman's (The Killing) performance was amazing to say the least, putting the right amount of angst and brokeness into a man that recently learns that he is nothing but a hand, a couple organs, and a head. It made me feel pain to see him realize that his live would never be the same, and from now on, he would be at the mercy of wifi and some microchips. The original Robocop worked to give emotional weight to Murphy's metallic makeover, but in 2014, we are now masters of capturing emotion in cinema. In fact, there is so much emotional weight contained in the new and improved Robocop that it moves pretty slowly compared to the action packed thrill ride you may have expected it to be. It feels more like a study on what it means to be human rather than a movie about a robotic action hero, and maybe that's what the original tried to do. If that's the case, the upgraded Robocop succeeded where the old one may not have been up to the task.
Despite the successfulness in making Robocop feel more now, I still feel like the premise is one that simply doesn't age well. The movie wasn't received super well by critics, and I think there are some movies that just don't really exist well in the modern era. There are ideas that may have seemed revolutionary in 1987, however, the whole mechanical superhuman story seems a bit dated. Superheroes and robots are commonplace into today's cinema, so what's another robotic cop? Of course, if you have seen the original Robocop, you will enjoy the homages in the modern retelling. I found the movie more enjoyable because I recognized small references spread throughout, but since my fiancé hasn't seen the first one, she had a completely different experience. Standing alone, Robocop (2014) doesn't feel like that special of a film. It's good, but not great. They got a lot of things right, but there wasn't enough to really suck you into a chaotic, bullet-filled roller coaster that the trailer had advertised.