Edward Neumeier

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RoboCop Review


OK

There's a robust, intelligent tone to this action remake that makes it continually intriguing, even if it's never properly exciting. The problem is that the characters are far too simplistic for us to care about, with moral dilemmas that are extremely cut and dried. Because the premise deals with several provocative themes, it wouldn't have taken much work to beef up the screenplay.

Set in the near future when American military robots patrol the world but are outlawed at home, the story centres on Omnicorp boss Sellars (Keaton), who is determined to sell his robots to the US market as police enforcers. So he decides to get around the law by putting a man inside a robot, drafting seriously injured Detroit cop Murphy (Kinnaman) as his guinea pig. Doctor Norton (Oldman) does an amazing job, building a machine around Murphy with extremely high technical capabilities. But Murphy can't help but worry about his wife (Cornish) and son, and he's obsessed with revenge over his attempted murder. So Norton is forced to use chemicals to suppress his emotions.

In other words, Murphy is actually more machine than man now, and operates at the whim of Sellars and his media spokesperson (Ehle), marketing nerd (Baruchel) and a rabid TV host (Jackson) to manipulate the US Congress to change the law. This greedy corporation gives the film a bite of satire, as does the issue of America's rampant willingness to brutally suppress anyone outside its borders. But without even a shading of complexity, the plot feels predictable and, frankly, rather dull. It's fun to watch everything happen, but our pulse rates never rise at all.

Continue reading: RoboCop Review

RoboCop Review


Extraordinary
RoboCop was released in 1987, and it's the sort of film that looks like it was made by somebody who knew America only from what he read in newspapers. Which may be close to the truth; Dutch director Paul Verhoeven had been living in the U.S. for less than a decade when he made this, his first big-budget Hollywood film. The script gleefully takes on every myth told about the U.S. during the Reagan '80s: Cities are dens of evil and full of constant gunplay, authority has been brought to heel by capitalism, technology has crushed our humanity to atoms, the media destroys the morals of children. RoboCop plays all of this out as a bloody farce - it's both funny and violent as hell -- but it also knows that there are kernels of truth in all those statements. Great science fiction sheds light on the real world by recreating it radically, and RoboCop is great science fiction - it's one of the best dystopian fantasies about America put to film.

The place is Detroit, the time sometime in the near future. The part of the city known as "Old Detroit" is a cesspool of grime, slums, and toxic sludge; "New Detroit" is an empty promise of a shining new city that we see only on billboards. The police force is privatized, and one of its officers, Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller) is grotesquely wounded during a fight with a gang. OCP, the company running the force, has had back luck creating a purely mechanical cop. So it claims Murphy's nearly-dead body and transforms it into a man-machine hybrid that's programmed to perform police work ethically. On his first night on the beat, he stops a rape in progress, shooting the rapist in the crotch and telling the woman in a chill monotone: "You have suffered an emotional shock. I will notify a rape crisis center."

Continue reading: RoboCop Review

Anacondas: The Hunt For The Blood Orchid Review


Grim
When I admitted to a friend that I yet to see the original Anaconda, he assured me that it was a hoot. After all, where else can you see Jon Voight eaten by a gigantic snake and then vomited back out? Well, aside from Coming Home?

If the sequel had one scene like that, then, I would have left the theater a happy camper. However, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid does not. That is a big problem.

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Starship Troopers Review


Good
Move over, John Waters. There's a new king of schlock in town, and he's got a much bigger budget.

The recent video release of last year's Starship Troopers reveals a master at work, comfortably at home in his truest of elements: cheesy action films. Paul Verhoeven is the master in question, the director of such fare as RoboCop and Basic Instinct--his last really successful film, in 1992. With a $95 million budget, Troopers eventually grossed a little over half that domestically, but it has done well enough overseas to ensure that, like Schwarzenegger in Verhoeven's Total Recall, he'll be back.

Continue reading: Starship Troopers Review

RoboCop Review


Extraordinary
RoboCop was released in 1987, and it's the sort of film that looks like it was made by somebody who knew America only from what he read in newspapers. Which may be close to the truth; Dutch director Paul Verhoeven had been living in the U.S. for less than a decade when he made this, his first big-budget Hollywood film. The script gleefully takes on every myth told about the U.S. during the Reagan '80s: Cities are dens of evil and full of constant gunplay, authority has been brought to heel by capitalism, technology has crushed our humanity to atoms, the media destroys the morals of children. RoboCop plays all of this out as a bloody farce - it's both funny and violent as hell -- but it also knows that there are kernels of truth in all those statements. Great science fiction sheds light on the real world by recreating it radically, and RoboCop is great science fiction - it's one of the best dystopian fantasies about America put to film.

The place is Detroit, the time sometime in the near future. The part of the city known as "Old Detroit" is a cesspool of grime, slums, and toxic sludge; "New Detroit" is an empty promise of a shining new city that we see only on billboards. The police force is privatized, and one of its officers, Alex J. Murphy (Peter Weller) is grotesquely wounded during a fight with a gang. OCP, the company running the force, has had back luck creating a purely mechanical cop. So it claims Murphy's nearly-dead body and transforms it into a man-machine hybrid that's programmed to perform police work ethically. On his first night on the beat, he stops a rape in progress, shooting the rapist in the crotch and telling the woman in a chill monotone: "You have suffered an emotional shock. I will notify a rape crisis center."

Continue reading: RoboCop Review

Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation Review


Unbearable
Everybody likes a good fight, especially if it's in a galaxy far, far away. And on that score, the original Starship Troopers delivered. In spite of -- nay, in large part because of, its campy, tongue-in-cheek approach to the hard-boiled war genre, the sheer high-impact, bug-crushing carnage of the 1997 release captured the imaginations of America's violence-drenched youth and raised insect extermination to the level of high service to humanity.

Well, forget all that. Starship Troopers 2 is 91 minutes of tediously inane straight-to-DVD boredom. Directed by Phil Tippet, the animation brainiac who designed the Sean Connery-voiced dragon in Dragonheart, this unreasonably lame sequel offers virtually nothing in the way of either animation or direction. Or anything else, really.

Continue reading: Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation Review

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