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RoboCop (2014); And Comparisons with Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

October 21, 2014

official_robocop_2014_poster_for_iphone_5sImagine you’re on your way to work one sun gleaming, clear day. The sky emits an ocean blue calmness so you don’t mind the aggressive, overbearing traffic. You park half a mile down the street from work just to enjoy the sun’s warmth on your skin during your walk. There’s a faint whizz in the distance. It gets closer. A flash of hot light nearly blinds your eyes and scalds your skin followed by a deafening explosion that quiets the world around you. Everything is black. If you are lucky, you have passed on from this life. If you are not, you awake to carnage and flaming ground surrounding you. Excruciating pain takes over your senses before you even notice several limbs some feet away from where they should be on your body. You have just been attacked by a drone or UAV. Maybe you were guilty of a crime or maybe you’re innocent. Either way you have received no fair trial or chance to defend your life. You fate has been determined and acted out by someone thousands of miles away.

Though this is not a reality in America, this has become a regular part of life for citizens in Pakistan. Drone strikes continue to happen overseas killing hundreds of intended targets along with innocent civilians. Most American citizens are unaware of the magnitude of these strikes, and how $683 billion contributes to these strikes through the military department. We are lucky to be the bullies and not the prey to other countries who feel it necessary to strike.

This year’s RoboCop gives weight to the struggles happening overseas in its look at the complicated relationship between technology and the notion of safety. When the announcement that Paul Verhoeven’s classic 1987 action-thriller Robocop was set for a remake, a collective sigh of disgust escaped a majority of movie goers. I immediately lambasted the film in advanced annoyance. Nevertheless, as I watched the newly vamped political thriller I was deeply impressed with its focus on these very terrors of drone strikes and a possible outcome for Americans if we allow big business to continue to profit from war. RoboCop’s cuturally introspective position makes it one the most important films of our time.


Mind you, I didn’t say “best,” “greatest,” or “most-action packed,” specifically because RoboCop is far from earning any of those titles. However, it tackling of a current event that is frequently unchallenged grants it a status as a significant work of controversial art from the Hollywood mainstream. The discussion of Robocop’s importance sparked a debate between my brother and I over whether RoboCop was superior in message to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, another release of the year focusing on war and technology. This debated warranted a rewatch of The Winter Soldier.

Originally, I saw The Winter Soldier as a brutal, yet entertaining, film but didn’t muster a true excitement from its story or meaning. In the aftermath of Jon Oliver’s humanizing piece on drone strikes and seeing RoboCop, my eyes became opened to the power and greatness of The Winter Soldier. It’s a film that is overall far superior to RoboCop. Both films focus on a hero adjusting to a new life fighting crime in a technologically dependent system. Admittedly, The Winter Soldier physically does it better. The performances are stronger, the humor translates more effortlessly, the choreography is near flawless, and the story is much more fluid. The Winter Soldier even impressively alludes to 9/11 making its message more relatable to the masses.


RoboCop simply doesn’t compete with The Winter Soldier in blockbuster factor or technical prowess, even more so when compared to its 1987 original. However, RoboCop’s message is loud and clear ringing for miles placing the film’s enemies directly into a foreseeable future and based in a more logical reality free from stereotypical fear of Germans and Nazism. RoboCop criticizes todays current 24-hour news format and its ability to sway citizen’s minds from the true problems at hand, instead distracting us with promises of threats and attacks if we don’t bully and harm others first. Though José Padiha’s sleek action film is entertaining and thoughtful it does not compare to the glory of the original’s who’s on commentary attacked big business’ influence on violence. Yet, despite the wooden acting and sloppy story, RoboCop’s opening sequence along with its debate over morality and safety through Gary Oldman’s Dr. Norton solidifies its importance to today’s current events. It’s not the best film you’ll see from the year or decade, but it is one with great significance.

SEE IT. And be mindful of what it’s theme is attempting to say.

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