The original film is amazing and no one is saying it isn’t. Personally to me the original Robocop is a classic for me. I’m not going to compare the remake to the original too much because it simply wouldn’t be fair. I’m usually pretty anti-remake but in this case I think a series of Robocop movies would be awesome. The plot is pretty basic, a Detroit policeman starts digging too deep into a case and finds himself targeted, after the attempt on his life a morally corrupt company named Omnicorp spends billions to turn him into a part man/mostly robot cop. Once on the street Robocop tries to solve his own murder while trying to connect with his wife and son and dealing with what he has become.
What makes this movie solid is the actors on the screen. Joel Kinnaman is exactly a big name but he stood out on AMC’s “The Killing” and here he brings a good balance to Robocop. Abbie Cornish plays his wife and I’ve always liked her, here she doesn’t get a lot to chew on, she mainly cries but still with even the little she had to do you believed her emotions, you briefly understood how weird it would be to have a loved one return to you, but his body be something completely different. Gary Oldman plays the scientist who puts Robocop together, every scene he’s in has depth. The best is when he’s in the same room with Michael Keaton who plays the CEO of Omnicorp. When they play off each other it’s just amazing to watch.
A stand out moment is Samuel L. Jackson plays a Glenn Beck type who essentially works for Omnicorp and is pushing for America to allow robot police patrol the streets of crime infested streets. He book ends the movie and it’s a weird breath of fresh air in this movie. Most of the 80’s remakes have stepped away from camp or any political message, it’s nice to see this film at least attempt it.
Director Jose Padilha does a solid job with the look of the film. We never really see Detroit is full and never get a taste of how bad the crime is, yet when Robocop is in action the choices he makes for the scenes are always spot on. For a PG-13 rated film the action scenes are intense, things move fast of course because they tried to avoid seeing any blood. The only problem this film has really is the pacing, it’s trying to tell two stories at once and it messes things up. The more interesting story of Murphy reconnecting with his family is curbed for him trying to get revenge, oddly though his revenge story isn’t the final action piece. Keaton’s CEO rapidly forms as the main villain. I hate when movies can’t decide what they want to be so they split the story. Here it hurts the film badly. I still want to see this become a franchise. The original Robocop is a classic but the sequel is crazy in a fun way but not great and the third film was a disaster. This material deserves a series and I hope it gets it.
This gritty film follows the Bondurant brothers, who start running moonshine ever since prohibition fell upon the USA. Things get rather rough though as the local law enforcement start cracking down on them. A psycho special deputy from Chicago, Charlie Rakes(Guy Pearce) comes into town and is not afraid to use violence and murder to stomp out moonshiners. The film is directed by John Hillcoat who brought us The Road, he adapted the book “The Wettest County in the World” which is “based on real life”, one can’t really ever believe that fully these days but whatever it still makes a great story.
What is interesting about Lawless is the film doesn’t really follow just one character, out of the three brothers the time is broken up between two of them. The intense leader of the group named Forest(Tom Hardy) who is so calm and brutal, every time he’s on screen you just know something is going down. We also follow the youngest brother Jack(Shia LaBeouf) who isn’t tough and doesn’t really enjoy violence, he is a kid wanting to play gangster. The third brother is more of a brute and a drunk, Howard(Jason Clarke) gets the lowest amount of screen time which is a shame because I like Clarke as an actor, he did great work on the short lived “Chicago Code” that ran on FOX for one season. The brothers story is very interesting because unlike other gangster movies this one isn’t very glamorous. Hillcoat does an amazing job of making the film feel like it was set in depression era Virginia.
The movie is decently violent at times but it feels rights here. Running moonshine would be very dangerous and especially out in the middle of the woods where anything can happen. The film really relies though on the performances. Jessica Chastain plays Maggie Beauford, a city woman who moved away from the craziness of the mob and falls in love with Forest. Hardy and Chastain work really well together and sadly the film pulls away from their connection. We spend a lot more time with Jack as he tries to date a pastor’s daughter. This is the main problem for the movie is it breaks up the stories too often and the flow never really feels right.
The films only real problem is Shia LaBeouf, he simply stands out here. Hardy and others do such stand out performances that seeing LaBeouf trying to be a tough guy almost takes you out of the movie. Now I’m not saying he’s terrible, he just doesn’t blend with the cast and he is the weakest point of the movie. The problem is he is essentially the lead. A performance that saves the entire movie is Guy Pearce who plays Rakes as such a nasty sucker you can’t help but smile every time he’s on screen.
Even with the faults the film is a nice treat for a summer filled with over the top CGI and fantastic action sequences. The action is this film feels so real. Towards the end of the film there is such a realistic shoot out where every bullet is dangerous and the men shooting do not want to get shot. Usually in action movies people unload not caring at all what happens. I’m hoping we see a lot more films from Hillcoat in the future because it’s obvious now that he has a lot of talent.
The movie is set in the early seventies, we follow the “Circus” division of MI6, when an agent remerges after what many believed was his defection, he has information claiming that a leading member of the Circus is a mole for the Soviet Union. George Smiley(Gary Oldman) an older agent that was pushed from the Circus after a botched mission, returns to find the mole. His old boss knew a Soviet spy was in the group and gave them each code names: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier and Spy.
This isn’t a spy movie that most audiences are used to, with Bond and Bourne leaping around and shooting people to the ground. This film is a very solid Cold War film. This movie is about information and weeding a mole out with real spy tactics. No jumping off roofs or giant explosions. Even though this film doesn’t have any of that, the tension is very high. Many should see this film just because I think people are starting to forget about the spy games against the Soviet Union.
This film was based off the book written by John Le Carre, it was adapted for the BBC and the character of George Smiley was played by the amazing Alec Guinness. So Gary Oldman had big shoes to fill and he really does a great job. The performance is a quiet one, Smiley is the anti-Bond/Bourne, he is older and not really charismatic. His marriage is falling apart as his wife has an affair with one of the men he is investigating. What is great about Oldman is that no matter what happens his character never really raises his voice.
The film is very adult, the pace is slow, that doesn’t mean it’s bad at all. The film feels very real, MI6 isn’t some glorious place, it’s a government building. Every moment of tension feels real. The film bounces between the mission and a flash back to a X-mas party before it was known about a mole in the group.
Now Oldman is great but other actors give very splendid performances. Mark Strong and Colin Firth deliver stand out performances. Tom Hardy plays Ricki Tarr the agent that connects a lot of the story. It’s crazy to think of the roles this man has been in this last year, you almost forget it’s him while watching the movie.
If you enjoy stories about the Cold War or simply enjoy well paced films you’ll enjoy yourself. If you’re expecting a shoot out type film or an action film with a high body count, you’ll be let down. For me the movie was a breath of fresh air. The performances alone are worth the ticket price.