Hot Take: 2014's RoboCop Reboot Wasn't Nearly As Bad As Most Fans Think
The movie was a pretty decent sci-fi flick on its own, but it lacked a couple of crucial elements that made the original so iconic.
- The original RoboCop was a great satire, which allowed it to remain relevant decades after its release
- The 2014 reboot attempted to deliver a fresh take on the familiar story, updating some elements from the original
- However, despite being pretty decent on its own, the movie's biggest flaw was that it was part of the RoboCop franchise in the first place
The topic of unnecessary reboots and long-overdue sequels to established classics has become more prevalent in recent years, with fans accusing the creators of lacking originality and trying to prey on the nostalgic feelings of audiences.
Still, not every attempt to revive a decades-old franchise ends in embarrassment, as there have been some pretty thoughtful sequels and reboots, like Blade Runner 2049 and Mad Max: Fury Road, that paid respect to the originals while bringing something new to the table.
Sometimes, however, the situation is less clear, as was the case with 2014's RoboCop reboot. It was panned by both critics and fans, but did it deserve such an underwhelming reception?
RoboCop Is an Ageless Classic
The answer is complicated, as the film's biggest flaw was that it was called RoboCop in the first place.
The 1987 original, directed by Paul Verhoeven, is an absolute cult classic, masterfully blending elements of sci-fi (specifically cyberpunk) and dark humor to create an unforgettable mix that has barely aged more than three decades later.
Following the story of Alex Murphy, a police officer in dystopian Detroit who is transformed into a cyborg against his will after a fatal accident (that wasn't so accidental), it was also a satire on consumerism and commercialization.
The sequel, released in 1990, got a much more mixed reception, but is still hailed as a great movie years later, while the third film, released in 1993, is unanimously considered an utter embarrassment.
The Fatal Flaws of the 2014 Reboot
When the trend of reboots came around, RoboCop was no exception, so the 2014 film largely followed the events of the original.
Joel Kinnaman now starred as the titular cyborg, along with some other impressive additions to the cast, such as Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson.
It introduced an updated take on the main character, with Alex now a more technologically advanced creation of OmniCorp, no longer resembling the clunky original, and most importantly, now fully aware of the dire situation he was in, barely remaining human.
But the biggest problem of the movie was that it also got rid of the dark and gritty world of the original, which was one of the biggest reasons why the 1987 movie was so unique in the first place.
Without the over-the-top bloody violence and humorous undertones, the 2014 movie, while a pretty decent sci-fi flick in its own right, lost the identity of the franchise, which wasn't taken lightly by fans of the original.
Though it was much better than the 1993 threequel, it ironically fell victim to the very thing the original poked fun at, mostly feeling like a sterile and commercialized product.
It still has great action and compelling acting, especially from Kinnaman and Keaton, but if it wasn't part of the RoboCop franchise, the reception for it would have been much more positive.