Designed with our modern times in mind, the Omni Consumer Products that is the studio franchise machine gives you the new RoboCop—an update of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven model, created primarily for an audience who never liked that movie anyway. Gone is that cumbersome social satire that took precious time from scenes where RoboCop shoots at people, replaced by a more streamlined, barely-visible hint of commentary on drone warfare. The new RoboCop is an action machine with a soul—just like RoboCop himself, now that he’s been modified from a dead guy whose brain was implanted into a cyborg, to a guy (played by The Killing’s Joel Kinnaman) who was just burned really, really badly, then given a kickass metal suit. Along with the general lack of gore, this new RoboCop will fulfill all the Prime Directives of PG-13 filmmaking.
“We’re gonna put a man inside a machine,” explains Michael Keaton’s character who has never heard of cars, apparently. (Along with Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman, Keaton is one of several flashy new upgrades that should inspire consumer confidence.) And indeed, the new RoboCop is definitely a man first—maybe a man who’s manipulated by his suit’s programming and “the illusion of free will,” but nevertheless still a man capable of gazing in angry disbelief at his own transformation and even having heart-to-heart talks with his son. But most importantly, he does it all while snug inside a sleek, protective armor that swaddles him like the most highly advanced of iPhone cases. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a new guy in town. His name is RubberCop.