Many have been leery of Jose Padilha’s Robocop remake, and it’s hard to blame them. The director has more experience as a documentarian than a director of drama, and while he does have a couple action films under his belt (2007’s Elite Squad and it’s 2010 sequel), to most he seemed like an odd choice for such a high profile movie. Couple that with the fact that Padilha’s version is shooting for a PG-13 rating (the original film notoriously struggled to edit down to an R) and some rather unconvincing early photos that had the titular character looking more like a generic sci-fi video game protagonist than the iconic crime fighter, and fans were crying foul before ever seeing the film in motion.
Which is a large part of why reactions to today’s first trailer for the movie are going to be so interesting to watch. The trailer doesn’t look bad, exactly, and stars a number of well-respected actors including Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, and Samuel L. Jackson. But it is hard to shake the feeling that this is a world we’ve visited before, or at least its close cousin, and not necessarily the one from the 1987 classic (although the trailer also features a rather obvious homage to the original costume design before forging ahead on its own). Have a look:
In terms of character origins, this reboot obviously holds very close to the original. It would seem that a number of thematic and plot elements remain as well, although there no trace of Clarence Boddicker, the original movie’s antagonist. In fact, Alex Murphy (the man who becomes RoboCop) appears to be the only direct crossover, although analogs will surely be inescapable. Interestingly, Officer Anna Lewis, Murphy’s police partner in the original, has been replaced by one Officer Jack Lewis in the reboot.
Whether fanboys (and girls) are pleased with what they’re seeing or not, Robocop is due to release next February 7th from Columbia Pictures.