Becky Lewis writes for Bleeding Cool.
The 2014 Robocop is an incredibly timely reboot of the 80s sci-fi classic.
As drone technology continues to hit the headlines and the way we fight wars develops, we spoke to director Jose Padilha at the world premiere in London to ask why Robocop, and why now.
Robocop, the original one, is about a philosophical concept, the idea that the automation of violence can open the door to fascism – and this is becoming real. We already have drones fighting wars; we’ll soon be replacing soldiers with robots.
And you can think about it this way. America pulled out of Vietnam because soldiers were dying. If there were no solider there, just robots, what would have happened? These are serious issues that we’re trying to bring to a broad audience to a movie that has action in it but also a lot of ideas.
Robocop is set in 2028 and follows Alex Murphy, a loving husband to Clara, father and cop. When he is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp, headed up by Michael Keaton‘s Raymond Sellers, spot their chance to profit from putting a part-man, part-robot police officer on the streets.
Abbie Cornish’s character, Clara, has been expanded from the original and she told us that she felt that beefing up of the role brings “a pulse, a little heartbeat to Alex Murphy’s story that helps with the humanity, the existential element of robot vs. man, humanity.
“But mostly, heart.”
Abbie took the role without even reading the script – “I read it in rehearsals!” she told us – and she says she signed up because of the director and because of the actors.
And also I felt it was timely; I felt like it was the right time to reboot this film.
She agreed with Jose that Robocop is an action film for the mass audience that also sends a strong message.
It’s been directed by someone who is incredibly intelligent… and it’s an action blockbuster but it has heart, soul, it’s tangible, and it feels real. And it talks about what is happening in modern society. We need to take a serious look at what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. What are we doing in medical labs and why? What are our intentions?
Rumours during production suggested that Jose was finding it difficult to get his visions of the film through. When I ask him about this though, he stresses how happy he is that he was ultimately allowed to do his cut.
I had a lot of room. I had a Brazilian director of photography, a Brazilian editor together with an American one, a Brazilian composer… it’s really a Brazilian movie!
Robocop opens across the UK this Friday February 7th and the US one week from today, on February 12th.