Film review: RoboCop

Joel Kinnaman is a credible replacement for Peter Weller in this slick-but-self-important update.

Joel Kinnaman as 2014's Robocop. Courtesy MGM
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Director: José Padilha Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Samuel L Jackson, Gary Oldman, Abbie Cornish


Paul Verhoeven’s violent 1987 satire gets a proficient modern-day update from the Brazilian director José Padilha, with The Killing’s Joel Kinnaman slipping on the metallic visor. Like the original, he plays the Detroit cop Alex Murphy – brutally injured, left for dead, turned into a crime-fighting killing machine, this time with the help of Gary Oldman’s well-meaning scientist. Yet while the action is slick and Kinnaman a credible replacement for Peter Weller, the movie lacks Verhoeven’s wily sense of humour (the first film’s classic “I’d buy that for a dollar” line is regurgitated, to lesser effect). Instead, it’s a self-important sci-fi enamoured by its themes of drone warfare, US foreign policy and Murphy’s family traumas. Only Samuel L Jackson, as a TV opinion-maker, has any real fun.