Congratulations, Detroit. In 1987, Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop cemented it as the most violent city in the world, an honor the Motor City resented for decades until its powers that be realized they may as well erect a statue of Peter Weller and milk the tourism. Now the attention has shifted to Tehran. José Padilha's RoboCop opens on a news broadcast of soldier-bots terrorizing the Iranian population — make that “promoting peace and freedom abroad,” as hawkish TV host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson) insists. The feed cuts out as suicide bombers rush the robots. By contrast, the gun smugglers of Detroit look practically genteel. Despite a law forbidding machine-made police from patrolling our own streets, CEO Raymond Sellers (Michael Keaton) of the robot-manufacturing OmniCorp wants to bring the robots stateside. And he's found a loophole: OmniCorp can win the hearts and minds of voters by putting the heart and mind of a human being inside a synthetic skeleton. The setup is different in this update, but the end goal is the same. A good cop named Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is doomed to be OmniCorp's test case. Only this is a kinder, gentler RoboCop, a PG-13. What most interests Padilha is watching OmniCorp's marketing strategists take a product -- a person -- and then chip away his humanity to sell him better. The horror of Murphy's robotization happens in slow motion. If his human empathy makes a rescue op take half a minute longer, shave it down. If he's tracking as too lovable, paint him black. Incrementally, Murphy is stripped of conscience and free will. He's no longer limited by technology; he's limited by focus groups.



  • Jose Padilha


  • Joel Kinnaman
  • Gary Oldman
  • Michael Keaton
  • Abbie Cornish
  • Jackie Earle Haley
  • Jennifer Ehle
  • Jay Baruchel
  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste
  • Samuel L. Jackson


  • Marc Abraham
  • Eric Newman

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