RoboCop Continues Hollywood's Hunger to Remake The 1980's
The 1980 is a rich source of material for modern day Hollywood.
We've already had new versions of Footloose, The Karate Kid and Red Dawn, and the craze for remaking iconic 1980s movies seems destined to continue. This week sees the release of a RoboCop remake with a high-powered cast including Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel L Jackson. Read our review of RoboCop now.
Joel Kinnanman as RoboCop in the Remake
It's also the English-language debut of acclaimed Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha (Elite Squad), who brings a gritty edge to the film even if it has been toned down to get a PG-13 rating (the 1987 original was a hard R). Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman stars as Detective Murphy, who blurs the lines between man and machine. Like the original version, Padilha says he was interested in the story because of how it explores the "philosophical idea that for violence to become extreme there has to be a dehumanising process".
This is expressed mainly through the film's only complex character, Oldman's doctor, who talks about Murphy's "illusion of free will". And this is where Padilha thinks the film has something new to say to 21st century audiences who live in a world of drone attacks. "When the visor comes down," he says, "Murphy is just along for the ride. He only thinks what the computer's doing is his decision."
Studios clearly are happy to mine their 1980s catalogues for ideas. Next week there's a new version of Endless Love. And in the pipeline there's a remake of the musical Annie and sequels to Bladerunner and Ghostbusters. There are also more Star Wars and Terminator movies on the way, and of course Die Hard is simply refusing to die.