Saturday, February 15, 2014

Johnny Got His Gun

RoboCop (2014) - Padilha
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The thing about Paul Verhoeven movies in the 90s was that it's so knowingly cynical and campy, you can't ever make it serious the second time, like some other action franchises. Fortunately, the makers of this redux were smart enough to realize this. This reboot is more like a clean cut, paint by numbers style actioner with no serious pretention. Sleaze is gone though- no grisly death by acid or bullet to the head, no raping, murdering punks, no Nancy Allen. They are replaced by corrupt cops, right wing media celebrities and calculating capitalists. But José Padilha gives his veteran character actors enough room to shine - Michael Keaton has never been this effective in a role in a long while, as a cold-hearted industrialist and it seems Sam Jackson is playing himself in a role written for him. Gary Oldman is again, playing against type as a conscientious scientist and Jackie Earl Haley eschews his limited screen time as a seasoned mercenary soldier, calling Murphy a 'tin man'. Newcomer Joel Kinnaman is no Peter Weller but has a almost a Stallonesque working class hero charm. Enjoyable.

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