RoboCop was the finest movie, where the title was also the entire concept, the script, and all the advertising you'd ever need. Anyone who isn't excited by that concept isn't going to be motivated by posters, trailers, or 10,000 volts through their dead joyless heart. RoboCop is such a classic of science fiction, it proves that Isaac Asimov got the three laws of robotics wrong.
Three lines of code responsible for more ass-kicking than the Halo engine.
RoboCop is the story of a noble hero destroyed by scumbag villains and resurrected with the power of modern technology, where the villains are the people behind RoboCop 3 and the technology is Hollywood remakes. This is the first reboot I've been fully behind, as any attempt to create a universe where RoboCop 3 never happened has my full support. But the recent trailer has given me cause to worry.
And any world where a human has to worry about RoboCop has gone badly wrong.
5The Human Hand
When leaked on-set shots showed RoboCop with a human right hand last year, I convinced myself that there was a special effect missing. Putting a human hand on the end of a robot arm is like putting one of the gunners outside a tank: After the first fight, they're going to need to hose that pink smear off the bulletproof armor.
Even random civilians are horrified by the terrible design decision.
A hand on RoboCop is more doomed than a Hand in King's Landing. Unless it came from Chow Yun-Fat, it can't be as accurate as a machine, and it can't come from Chow Yun-Fat because he'll never die in the line of duty. Worse, turning his primary weapon holder into a weak point means that the only action hero who can actually survive concentrated machine gun fire still needs enemies stupid enough to miss at point-blank range.
People made jokes about shooting the original RoboCop in the face, but when he removes his helmet, you can see that they've replaced his entire skull with metal and hardened plastic, pinning his face back over it. (This is also implied in the scene where they screw down the LED display behind his eyes before he wears a helmet.) They're not going to replace only the back of his skull. That would be a titanium ice-cream scoop holding his brains as a weak point.
Baskin Robbins' new "faceful of tortured loss" flavor proved unpopular and expensive.
The symbolism of a human hand pulling the trigger for a robotic drone (after being killed by a terrorist-style car bomb) is painfully obvious, but not as painful as that hand getting shredded by machine gun fire. RoboCop's human hand is even more vulnerable than a regular cop's human hand because most human torsos don't create ricochets. The symbolism is also destroyed when they show him firing from his artificial hand anyway.
I'm all for new themes. It's 20 years later, the movie should be about something else. RoboCop is the perfect vehicle to explore the morality of drone pilots, literally turning the pilot into something less than human in order to make him better at killing on command. It reduces the person to just another expendable, mass-produced link in the chain, distancing those who order the deaths from their actions.
If I thought the new movie were capable of subtlety, I'd think they were deliberately taking the piss out of the original. The right hand is the first thing Alex Murphy loses when he's shotgun-crucified by Clarence Boddicker, and his resulting right robo-hand has a data spike that's essential to every pivotal scene in the movie: recognizing his own murderers, defeating Boddicker, even facing down the final villain in the OCP boardroom.
4Popup Visor Shades
The original RoboCop was such a cool design that he acted as a mobile morgue, preserving the criminal bodies he was constantly creating until forensics could get there. With a metal body and human lower face, he was made entirely of pieces that either looked or sounded badass. His helmet was so cool, he could stare down Judge Dredd without flinching about stealing the idea.
The only RoboCop head shot that doesn't reduce the crime rate by one.
It was the most awesomely armor-plated symbol in modern cinema: the faceless mask of machinery and corporate law, cracked by his struggle for justice and betrayal by big business, then removed entirely as he recovered his remaining humanity. It required a near death experience and a power drill to remove the unfeeling bolts that had been driven through his living brain to hide the man who had died.
The original Alex's face was pinned over the machinery, a human face stretched over the corporate machine to make it more acceptable. The new face looks like someone wearing a face-forming helmet, because Iron Man really made a lot of money and Hollywood really is that blatant.
"Did those idiots leave me with a fleshy hand?"
The new RoboCop flicks his visor down over his eyes whenever he wants to look tough. The reason is obvious: Hollywood treats the audience as a 3-month-old infant, unable to recognize emotions unless they can constantly see the entire face. Peter Weller could convey more emotion with his lower jaw than most people could with an entire opera. The new guy shouts and screams, and the result is a generic tough guy with a convertible head, a cover he can flick down to try to look badass. Well done, Strike Entertainment, you've turned the symbol of faceless authority into douchebro shades.