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Tag Archives: robocop

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RoboCop is a movie that means business. It gets down and dirty from the get-go, and feels like an experienced filmmaker was behind it. In a World is a bit more awkward, stumbling around like a newborn calf.

It’s fine. It’s a cute movie, though it doesn’t quite feel finished. Like it should have had certain things rewritten, or re-shot. It’s got a ton of funny people in it, but the performances range anywhere between fantastic (Rob Corddry) and embarrassing (Fred Melamed.) The plot is intriguing, about a young woman who is hoping to break into the field of voiceover, while grabbing the coveted phrase of, “In a world…” from her more established father.

RoboCop also had a plot about a young up-and-comer trying to seize an old man’s throne. Bob Morton is a cocky executive who wants RoboCop to be the future of law enforcement. Dick Jones is an older, more experienced contender, who will do anything to get ED-209 on the map. Because RoboCop is a much more intense movie than In a World, we get to see Bob Morton blown up at Dick’s command. Then later, Dick gets shot a bunch of times and falls out of a window at OCP headquarters.

Those are serious brushstrokes…and it’s all done without a single wasted frame. Even though both characters are cutthroat scumbags, it’s sad to see them go, because they’re both so wonderfully written and acted. RoboCop feels confident, and reassuring – the audience never has to wonder if every scene or character is necessary, or properly presented. Lake Bell is just starting out, so it’s understandable if her first movie is a bit wobbly. I’m just reinforcing the idea that RoboCop is a sturdy film, like a pair of metal legs

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Blue Jasmine focuses on a wealthy woman whose life has recently fallen apart. She had built her life upon her husband’s wealth, and the film explores what happens when the rug is pulled out from under her. She does not cope well. While it’s interesting to see her fight the downward spiral, one can’t help but think about Alex Murphy and his transition into the role of RoboCop.

Maybe Murphy had a better foundation. He was a family man and a decent cop, and was wrongfully robbed of his own life. When Jasmine finds out her husband was a charlatan, she is forced to confront the fact that she never really built a life of her own. She had stopped communicating with her family years ago, and without completing her college degree, she has no job experience to speak of. In some ways, she is without her own identity. She’s able to move in with her sister, who feels a familial obligation, but Jasmine doesn’t seem able to “step down” in lifestyle. Repulsed by blue collar dating, standards of living, and job opportunities, she becomes socially poisonous; embarrassing and offending anyone she comes in contact with.

Much like Murphy in RoboCop, shadows of her past life keep creeping in. At first, it’s psychological – she recalls the events leading up to her husband’s arrest. She feels guilt about her complacence with his shady practices, and later, guilt about turning him in. Toward the end of the movie, she encounters real-life specters in the form of people she had burned in her past life.

RoboCop is a much happier tale, focusing on justice and revenge. After Murphy is tortured by memories of his family and encounters with his own murderers, he is able to overcome his digital restrictions and finish the job he started as a human cop. He’s able to embrace his new situation and move on. Jasmine just doesn’t have that in her.

Anyway, in comparison to RoboCop, BJ is a much more depressing movie. However, it is an interesting counterpart to RC as it shows us what can happen when our tragic protagonist isn’t given cybernetic limbs.

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One might think this movie’s subject matter would be too serious for this blog’s treatment. That comparing this movie to one about a fictional robotic man would be disrespectful to the actual source material. Maybe they’d be right…but then again, who in Hollywood thought it would be a good idea to make a movie about this kind of tragedy when RoboCop already happened back in ’87?

In the case of Fruitvale Station and RoboCop, we have main characters that are unjustly murdered. Both characters are good people with families. We all know Alex Murphy was a good person – he was a noble cop who was trying to bring down the most dangerous gang in Detroit. We also see him being a good father and husband in flashbacks. RoboCop didn’t spend much time on these points as it was busy being an action film with lots of blood and explosions…but maybe the points had already been made.

The problem with Fruitvale is that the movie tries a bit too hard to make the audience feel the force of the tragedy. Obviously, the whole point of the movie is to make people aware of how real a person Oscar was. The thing is, there’s no need to force this point down everyone’s throat. The fact that a regular kid can be shot dead over nothing should speak for itself. They didn’t need to over-set up the fall, or make the subject of the film seem like too great of a person. Once the filmmakers do that, they might push the audience right back out of the movie. As I mentioned before, RoboCop does have scenes where we see Murphy being a great guy, but they don’t take up even a few minutes of the movie’s running time.

There’s a scene that crystallizes this point. Oscar plays with a stray dog who is then struck and killed by a car. This scene was either to show how tender and kind Oscar was, or to establish a metaphor for Oscar’s impending tragic death. Either way, it served no real purpose other than adding on to that, “Hey, the thing at the end of the movie is really going to suck” list.  That list also features entries like the scene where Oscar and his girlfriend trade New Year’s Resolutions, or when Oscar takes the first steps towards quitting the pot business, or when Oscar’s daughter tells him he might get shot, or when Oscar gets a business card from someone he meets on the way to the party…

Sure, show that your character is decent and promising, but don’t jackhammer it into everyone’s head. There weren’t any scenes of Alex Murphy talking to his old cop buddies, saying things like,  “Guys, I’m gonna try to become lieutenant this year, I know I can do it!” or whatever.

Anyway, there were a few attempts to make Oscar seem normal and imperfect. Specifically, there’s a scene in a grocery store where he tries to get his old job back by threatening his ex-boss. This was a good attempt to balance out the martyr-izing of Oscar’s character, but it didn’t feel like enough. He still does things like mutter “I got a daughter,” to his shooter while in shock.

It’s totally possible that something like the above did indeed happen, but after the movie has been obviously pulling the strings the whole time (dog, dog, dog)…it’s hard to believe it wasn’t just another manipulation.

A more disgusting author would use this final line to make a joke about Oscar Grant coming back as a cyborg but

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