The trailer for MGM’s Robocop has arrived. I’m interested in seeing how the movie will turn out in February 2014. I hope the new Robocop will be a good movie, but I’m concerned that it’ll be a straight action flick with little thought for the issues of American culture. Keeping in mind that I’m discussing a 2-minute trailer, I’ve listed three features from the original Robocop films that aren’t in the trailer.
Watch the Robocop 2014 trailer. Compare to the Robocop 1987 trailer.
The original Robocop is billed as “the future of law enforcement,” meaning that the police force would have Robocops all over the streets of Old Detroit. Samuel L. Jackson’s character calls new Robo “the future of American justice.” Does this mean that if the first Robocop is a success, a network of Robocops will become agents of counter-terrorism from sea to shining sea?
Robocop 2014 may not settle for Robo roaming the gritty streets busting perps. There’s definitely one shot, taken from Robocop’s view, where he targets other humans. The trailer gives slightly longer looks at robotic antagonists, including the ED-209?
What made the 1987 movie stand out is the critique of American consumerism. Remember the 6000 SUX? To be fair, satire is pushed aside when movie makers would rather make action and coolness a priority (e.g. the 1987 movie trailer). While there may be jabs at American culture in the actual movie, the trailer takes a different, earnest direction.
The trailer tell us that Robocop is great for America. Also, Robocop 2014 looks more militaristic and may carry anti-terrorism themes. Robocop is seen in black armor (whether Robo stays in black remains to be seen) and also appears to engage in a training mission against several armed cyborgs. The trailer even shows how Murphy dying via exploding car bomb, representing terrorist imagery. This is a post-Jack Bauer world.
In the original Robocop movies, there was always officer Anne Lewis by Robo’s side. Who has the role of audience surrogate when Robocop carries out his war on crime? The trailer has no answers. What it does promise is that there may be significant screen time devoted to the Murphy family.
Back in the original movie, I recall that once Alex Murphy becomes Robocop, the Murphys become a distant memory. Only in Robocop 2 does he actively try to reconnect with his family. It’s possible that the Robocop 2014 movie will say that Robocop, a potential agent of fear, may need the love of family to retain his humanity. However, the original movie doesn’t rely of sappy family drama to make points about Robocop’s humanity. Robo had friends and supporters in the police and Omni Consumer Products, especially Anne Lewis.
At least there’s no kid hacker sidekick getting in the way.
Robocop vs. Robocop
Here is the trailer for the original 1987 Robcop (with Terminator theme) and the intro to the 1988 Robocop animated series.