A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Robocop is a remake of the 1987 action classic that's less bloody than the original, but still fairly violent, with intense, frequent gun battles, thousands of bullets flying, and dead bodies (with very little blood shown). We briefly see gory photos of the main character after an accident, and his organs are shown inside the RoboCop armor. There's one moment of sexuality as the main character, still a human, kisses his wife and falls onto a bed with her (she is shown wearing a bra). Language is infrequent, but includes a few uses of "s--t," as well as "bitch" and "a--hole." (One use of "motherf----r" is bleeped out.) In one scene, RoboCop arrests some drug dealers/users and then busts a drug lab. Overall, it's not nearly as good as the original film, but it's a solid effort.
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What's the story?
In the future, OmniCorp is trying to sell its line of law-enforcement robots, which are in place overseas, but cannot be implemented in the U.S. due to some pesky laws. Meanwhile, in Detroit, family man and dedicated cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) begins an investigation that leads to corruption and is subsequently caught in a lethal explosion. An OmniCorp doctor (Gary Oldman) is charged with putting Murphy back together as a cyborg cop. But while the doctor works out the emotional bugs, it becomes clear that the OmniCorp CEO (Michael Keaton) is only using the heroic ROBOCOP to stir up public support for the new robot cop bill. Can Robocop stop the bad guys and solve his own murder?
Is it any good?
Very few movie remakes ever live up to the originals, and that's certainly the case with the 2014's RoboCop. However, taken on its own, the new movie is a fairly solid entertainment with some interesting ideas, strong visual and sound effects, and a great cast. As an action flick, it's quick, intense, and rattling. Brazilian documentary filmmaker José Padilha (Bus 174) forgoes the original film's humorous satire and over-the-top violence in favor of a more political view.
Specifically, he plays with Benjamin Franklin's assertion "They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety," as well as with the theme of corporate greed at the expense of common people. Lead actor Joel Kinnaman isn't very expressive or personable, but he's surrounded by strong support, including Samuel L. Jackson as a persuasive TV commentator. Overall, while it's not entirely necessary, it at least has more heft than the original movie's two sequels.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's violence. How intense is it? What can make violence in a film feel more intense? Is it blood, realism, close-ups?
How does the remake compare with the original? What are the main themes of the two movies?
How human is the RoboCop character? How does his humanity compare to that of the movie's villains? Where does the movie draw the line at being human?
- In theaters: February 12, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: June 3, 2014
- Cast: Abbie Cornish, Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman
- Director: José Padilha
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Robots
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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