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by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jun 3, 2014

Director José Padilha has created a film that's only part remake, with the rest being a new story for a new century. Comparisons between the 2014 "RoboCop" and Paul Verhoeven's 1987 original are inevitable, but, in a certain way, meaningless; Padilha hasn't created a knockoff or a campy homage, but made the idea of a cybernetic police officer his own.

Swedish-born actor Joel Kinnaman ("Easy Money," "The Killing") plays the man inside the machine, a man placed at risk by the needs of the corporation that built him for profit and has made him the poster cyborg in their PR campaign to bring robotic police to a skeptical America (a nation that won't have the things in their cities, even as America deploys them around the world in pursuit of imperial ambitions). If there are moments of homage to the original, and the decade that ushered "RoboCop" in, they occur in the production design (updated but never straying too far from the source) and the casting; 1980s staples like Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman take major roles.

The particulars may differ, but at root this is the movie we love: Shiny hardware, driven by a human conscience, incorruptible in an all too corrupt environment.

This Blu-ray / DVD combo release includes a number of extras, including deleted scenes, a multi-part featurette that focuses on how the film was updated for a modern audience and to reflect current, if nascent, technology. The film's technical and aesthetic aspects are covered, along with the title character's weapons and design. There are also several "Omnicorp Product Announcements," which serve up details on the droids, drones, motorcycles, and firearms that were designed for the film in the form of brief promotional videos from a fictional multi-national tech firm.

If you're going to reboot a cinematic favorite, this is the way to do it: With smarts, style, and a message that speaks to the times. Whether you're a Boomer, a Gen Xer, or a Millennial with a yen for futuristic thrillers that induce thought instead of yawns, you'll want to add this new take on a sci-fi classic to your video library.

Blu-ray / DVD Combo

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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