RoboCop: Paul Verehoeven Talks 2014 Remake

1987’s RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven gives his brutally honest take on Sony‘s 2014 remake.

“The problem there, I felt, was that he was really aware that he lost all his legs and arms. He knows it from the very beginning. The beautiful thing about the original RoboCop, what makes it not just pure tragedy or whatever, is that he really does not know anymore,” Verhoeven said in an interview with Metrograph.

“He gets a couple of vague flashes of memory when he goes to his old house, but RoboCop is not a tragic figure. Yes, he’s killed in the most horrible way in the beginning. But when we see him again as a robot, he doesn’t feel that. In the new one, because he remembers everything, he’s much more tragic. We wanted you to accept him at the beginning as a robotic cop. That’s what they did to him. In my opinion, I thought it was a problem to make him more tragic.”

Directed by José Padilha (Narcos), 2014’s RoboCop was a reimagining of Verehoven’s 1987 classic in which critically injured Detroit cop Alex Murphy gets resurrected into a corporate-controlled law enforcement cyborg. The remake deviated from the original movie by carrying a PG-13 rating as opposed to the original’s hard R rating for excessive violence. Despite a star-studded cast headlined by Joel KinnamanMichael KeatonGary Oldman, and Samuel L. Jackson, RoboCop failed to impress critics and grossed only $242.6 million worldwide against a reported $130 million budget.

Joel Kinnaman’s honest thoughts about RoboCop 2014

In the years since RoboCop’s release, Padilha and Kinnaman have expressed disappointment with the overall production due to studio interference by Sony. While promoting his movie Silent Night in an interview with ComicBook, Kinnaman explained why he believes the remake fell short of the original.

“The one thing, I think, was lacking in that film, I like to be self-critical, I think that it was one of those films where I think, we who made it didn’t fully take into account what RoboCop was for the fans,” Kinnaman said. “Tonally, that sort of [Paul] Verhoeven satire, because it’s so ingrained in the RoboCop franchise and its being. It’s different when a new filmmaker comes in and puts his voice on it, and José had a very clear image of what he wanted to do, it was an anti-Empirialistic [sic] take, and I think that movie would have done better if we had listened more to the fans beforehand. But I think it stands alone … I almost think the RoboCop film we did would have been a better movie if it wouldn’t have been named RoboCop.”

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