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Directed by José Padilha
Screenplay by Joshua Zetumer
Very minor spoilers ahead.
When they rolled that screen open to 2.35:1, I knew it wasn’t going to be like Verhoeven’s. The original Robocop is a minor masterpiece, one of the most cutting satires of the 20th century. It’s dingy, clunky, sarcastic, and howling—just like the ‘80s that spawned it. Our new Robocop—which is, for all practical purposes, the second Robocop remake in recent memory, counting the spectacular Dredd—is none of those things. It’s shiny, sleek, and “tactical,” as Michael Keaton’s character says.
The memorable ultra-violence of the original is gone. In its place, there’s a smooth, sanitized finish over everything, which gives it all a sort of uncanny creepiness—a quality best exploited in one of the film’s high points, in which we learn just where Alex Murphy ends and Robocop begins.