The “Robocop” remake and I have a long and winding history.
When the news broke that a remake was in the works, my initial response was something along the lines of the sound you make when you accidentally hit yourself below the belt. You know what I’m talking about fellas. Sometimes you get a little carried away when you’re talking with your hands and bad things happen.
I grew up with “Robocop.” That’s an absolutely terrifying thought considering the bone-numbingly graphic things that take place between the opening and closing credits of that movie, but it’s true.
I was allowed to watch people get melted by toxic waste, get torn to shreds by machine guns and have their arms shot off at close, bloody range, as long as I promised I didn’t say any of the bad words.
Also, I had all the toys.
Sure, my beloved parents’ priorities may have been slightly askew, but I never turned into a serial killer or even just a regular killer. So if you’re looking for a case study to prove that media violence doesn’t lead to real world violence, get at me dawg.
Anyway, that shiny metal so and so (happy mom and dad?) still holds a special place in my heart, so I wasn’t thrilled with the notion of a remake. Some things are best left alone.
Casting news began to filter out and my ears perked up the way a dog’s would if it heard a dinosaur skeleton fall apart in a museum.
The names were swoon-worthy. Michael Keaton. Sam Jackson. Jackie Earle Haley. Gary Oldman. Jay Baruchel. Joel Kinnaman!
Well, that last one wasn’t so exciting, but all the rest! Maybe this remake could be something that deserved to exist after all.
Then came the first picture of the new Robocop and everything changed.
For the worse.
No longer was I merely saddened by the idea of a new Robocop, now I was actively repulsed by it. The new costume looked like a piece of rubbery scrap scavenged from the set of “GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”
Hollywood was no longer just dicking around with my childhood, now it was actively waging war on it.
More pictures from the set followed and managed to make the movie look worse.
Eventually though I just numbed to the whole thing. I started to think about remakes and reimaginings and reboots differently. I realized that who really cared? They didn’t replace the movie that came before them. I’d always have the original so what did it matter if there was another version?
There’s ten thousand versions of Sherlock Holmes stuff out there, but none of them can replace the original: the one with Wishbone the dog. I assume that’s the original since it’s clearly the best though I’ve done no research on the matter.
Plus, I was tired of all internet crying about remakes, most of which was directed towards the “Evil Dead” remake, which also turned out to be bloody awesome.
At a certain point – and let’s be honest here, I can’t be certain of the timeline of all this, so what you’ll have to accept are hazy recollections and uneducated guesses of when stuff happened – the film’s first trailer debuted.
And everything changed. Again. But for the better!
The trailer looked incredible. There was lots of goings on about drone warfare and the ethics of putting a man in a robot. Fun, mildly-heady stuff. The trailer combined with the cast led me to believe \this wasn’t just going to be a cash grab, but something else.
This feeling of legitimate excitement carried on for quite some time. I tried to keep my expectations reined in, so I wouldn’t be disappointed when the big day came. As part of that, I steered clear of reading news or updates about the movie.
Then I caught a TV spot for the movie and interestingly, everything stayed 100% the same.
Lies! Everything changed because of course it did.
The TV spot informed me that the new “Robocop” would be rated PG-13.
Taking the senseless violence out of “Robocop” was like putting a pair of Justin Bieber boxer-briefs on Michelangelo’s David and then coating the whole thing in spray cheese and vomit.
The violence was a critical part of creating the original’s black humor as well as providing the sharpened-spear tip for its social criticism. Without it? Spray cheese.
So where do things stand now? I’m sad, but I’m going to put on a brave face. I’m going to go in expecting nothing and hoping to be surprised. If it sucks? The old one will still be there to wrap me in its blood-soaked arms and hold me close to its bullet-riddled chest.
Because that’s love. Or something.