Tag Archive: remake

Movie Review: Robocop(2014)

robocop1cbThe 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.

Rating: 7/10

So even though most remakes these days bomb at the box office studio’s still believe they are worth the money over original concepts. Total Recall didn’t exactly rake in the big bucks if you know what I mean. Still studio’s just want to ignore this fact and remake every good film from the past possible. Videodrome if you don’t know if a film made by David Cronenberg is 1983. Not only does the title not really make sense anymore I’m not sure the story will stand out either. Can studio’s just take a chance and pick up some new scripts? Just try it, even cheap one’s because no one is really buying this 80’s remake thing they are pushing. If I were a gambling man I’d say the upcoming Robocop remake will tank at the box office too. I think mainly why would people want to go pay for updated PG-13 rated version of movies they already own at home?

The original movie is somewhat of a classic but it could have been better or followed the source material(book by Philip K. Dick)better. So a remake was made and possibly could blend the book and movie together. The plot is set far into the future where chemical warfare has destroyed most of the planet. Only places to survive was most of Europe and Australia which is called “The colony”. Pretty simple the rich live in this new Europe while the poor live in the colony. We follow Doug Quaid(Colin Farrell) who works in a factory building police robots. He feels like his life should have more to it. Even though he comes home to his beautiful wife Lori(Kate Beckinsale) every night, dreams of him being a super secret agent has him stirring. He is talked into going to place called “ReKall” where they give you new memories. So you can live your life as a rich super star or secret agent to anything else you can imagine. Quaid is in the seat only a second before his life changes. In a flash he is being hunted by the President Cohaagen’s(Bryan Cranston) forces and then also finds his beautiful wife is a sleeper agent. Quaid must put together an evil plot and stop it while also trying to figure out that this new secret agent life of his is real… Or ReKall.

The problem this remake has first off is how close it is to the original. The one strong change is eliminating Mars, the entire film is set on Earth and the change works. The future world they create is a lot of fun to look at. You can see inspiration from Blade Runner and other films but the atmosphere is fantastic. Even though the film is beautiful to look at it, the energy is off balance. The original knew what it was and had some fun with it, sure it did get super violent at times but still the movie was funny and played with the concept that Quaid was living in a fantasy world. This film plays it really straight. Almost as if the idea he is in Rekall is just a minor element, that is the problem it should be the only element.

The acting here is strong though, Colin Farrell who fell off the map recently really brings it here. He feels like an action super star. The quiet moments he gets here are strong as well as he really does seem like a man lost in his own head. Beckinsale has the most fun though, she eats up her lines and really enjoys being a bad ass chick. Jessica Biel shows up about half way through as a good guy agent trying to help Quaid, problem is her limited screen time gives her less to do so she really has no impact. Cranston gets to play the villain and does a fine job. Bill Nighy shows up for a scene or two as well, but is kind of wasted. The leads are really strong though so no blame should be placed on their shoulders for the movies weird vibe.

This remake just didn’t seem to understand what it was, it bounces around with themes, tries to play it like just a straight up action film which was frankly just the wrong approach. I would still suggest seeing it on the big screen because of the action scenes. The action scenes are fun, even though there is not a lot of weight to them, by that I mean characters die off at a huge rate and no one seems to really care. The film though is filled with robot police that jump around and are visually stunning to watch. One action scene involving magnetic cars flying around over the city is a lot of fun.

It’s a shame the movie isn’t a home run because they get a lot right. It’s just the approach they took is really wrong. The movie never really seemed to pick if it was serious, having fun, or just being a straight up action movie with robot police officers. Colin Farrell and some other cast members give it their all but it’s not enough. See it for the action scenes and maybe even do a double feature with the original. Both films actually fail to really nail the point across that all of what we have seen could not be real. Instead both somehow feel like 80’s action films… That’s fine for the original since it was that, the remake though has no excuse.

Rating: 5.5/10

One of the last films I ever thought would get the remake call was Starship Troopers. The film was slightly based off of a book from Robert A. Heinlein. Frankly the book is a glossy World War 2 story with bugs. Full of patriotism and “don’t ask questions” when the government asks you to do something. Paul Verhoeven made a science fiction classic with Starship Troopers with its anti-facism message and its gory attitude towards battle.

So of course the studio plans to make a remake closer to the book and less violent. So to spell it out for you, the film will be rated PG-13 and you won’t have to think about it at all. The soldiers are the good guys, the fight for Earth/America and will kill lots of bugs. One major character will die, but it won’t be bloody, it will be meant to pull emotional strings…

HOLLYWOOD STOP DOING THIS! This remake is pointless and already sounds terrible. Verhoeven’s film isn’t perfect but it is different and tried to bring across a message. A straight up throw back war film with bugs isn’t necessary. Why not just make a HALO movie? That would have a simple plot around the same type of idea. It seems Hollywood is now determined to remake 80’s and now 90’s films and make them dull PG-13 rated fair. Just stop please.

Movie Review: The Thing(2011)

Now lets make this clear this movie is a prequel to John Carpenters “The Thing” from 1982. Many don’t seem to remember it, but that film was a remake. Here in this new film we follow a group of Norwegian scientists, who team up with a handful of Americans discover an alien craft and specimen hidden in the ice in Antarctic. Once they start doing tests, the alien wakes up and escapes its icy tomb. Problem is this alien not only attacks people but can shape shift and replicate them as well. So those left alive start questioning who is human and who is… The Thing.

I understand most people believe this is a remake, they aren’t half wrong. Most of this movie is a lot like the 1982 film. Still though this movie really works as a prequel. The film opens here with a Norwegian team following a weak distress signal and kind of accidentally finds the frozen ship. That leads to Kate Lloyd(Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to be called into the base to check out the alien found in the ice. She brings along five other Americans with her. Once at the base the movie picks up the pace. It takes no time at all before the alien wakes and escapes the ice to run a muck through the base. I wish the movie would have slowed down a little bit from this point. The 1982 Thing had a really slow burn that lead to when the Thing showed itself, it was scary. Here the quick pace sort of kills off a lot of the suspense.

The highlight here though is Winstead who is really a stand out here. Her down to Earth performance and realistic fear helps the audience connect to her rather quickly. She’s not overly strong, or intense, she is realistic and even in chaos tries to think things through. Without her this movie would have struggled. Her character runs into the issue of not only being a woman, but an American and her orders and comments are at first ignored. Once the group comes to an understanding that it can look like humans they begin suspecting everyone. She comes up with a system of how to figure out who is human, I won’t spoil it here, but it leads to one of the biggest moments of tension in the film and it works.

The film does have some serious problems though. The first is the choice to use CGI. The 1982 Thing is beloved because of how disturbing the creature was through old school effects. The choice of making the creature and its transformations CGI really hurts the film. They basically made the alien a giant spider creature that can mutate. I did not enjoy that choice. Why haven’t film makers and studio’s understand that less is more. The giant CGI monsters just doesn’t mix with the theme.

Beyond the CGI though Winstead’s performance is just so good that it’s hard to ignore this film. Her character is not a sex object or some mindless screaming woman. She is also not some “Ripley” type character or the female bad ass either. The film also does a solid job in setting up a connection to the 1982 Thing and fans should enjoy seeing them. Over all the film isn’t a masterpiece but it’s a solid alien horror film that makes some really great choices. I wish they would have avoided CGI and would have went out of their way to not show the Thing. Still this isn’t a remake write off like Footloose, this film really tried to set something up and even add some material to the original.

Rating: 7.5/10

I remember when Daredevil came into theaters, I dug it actually but felt like the movie had serious pacing issues. It also had one of the most silly scenes I’ve ever seen in a movie, the part where Matt Murdock fought/hit on Elektra in a park with kids cheering them on. So horrible. Then the directors cut came out on DVD and was just a very complete movie even with the silly park fight. The directors cut is way better and if you haven’t checked it out you should. Anyway that movie came out during a time period where Ben Affleck was pretty much on everyones hate list so the movie got thrown under the bus. A sequel was never green lit. Frankly Daredevil is hard to do in a big movie form. It needs to be smaller and gritty that’s really the only way it can be done and stand out.

Well Xavier Gens who directed Hitman wants a crack at the reboot. He claims he would make a gritty version of the film that would take it down a notch unlike the original. He also claims he’d want Sam Worthington to play Murdock. That’s actually a hell of a good idea frankly. My problem with Xavier directing is that he basically ruined Hitman. The game was a lot of fun and the film should have been dark and gritty. Instead the film was a bland action film from start to finish. It just like Daredevil contained a over stylized and silly fight scene. Hitman faces off against four or five dudes trained just like him(bald heads too). At first they have guns trained on each other. Now the bad guys are all after Hitman, yet for no reason explained the bad guys point guns at each other along with the man they are trying to kill. Then again for no reason they all drop their guns and pull out not only one, but two machete’s. Then Hitman fights all the men and beat them. It was stupid. So I don’t really believe Xavier when he says he wants to make a gritty and dark Daredevil, but hey I’d go see it and hopefully he’d surprise me.

The Killer is one of the most hard core bad ass movies I’ve ever seen. John Woo used to make intense action films that dominated one’s eye balls. Sadly though he kind of took a step back once he came over to America and made watered down type films. Still his stuff is pretty good and his Chinese epic Red Cliff had some epic battles, so maybe he is gaining back some credit. Anyway The Killer and Hard Boiled are two of the biggest and most intense action films ever made. Back in the 90’s American movies studios were interested in making a remake and nothing happened. Now it seem John Woo is pushing for an American remake of his action classic and wants to look over it personally. This is amazing news, the original is fine but a new twist on it would be interesting to see. The original followed a professional killer who after ending up blinding a woman in a shoot out decides to change his ways. He doesn’t really and teams up with a cop as the kill off an entire gang. I’m sure the American film will be somewhat different but I find this very interesting and I look forward to seeing how the project turns out.

So the rumor around the net was that Will Smith was pushing a remake of Annie where his daughter Willow would be the star. Of course red heads around the country were furious, I thought it was a joke. I mean why not find something a little bigger to put your money behind. Annie is a famous story but really can’t be adapted for 2011 so this remake will simply be silly at best. Also Jay-Z is rumored as a lead producer. This story confuses me just because why and how did they come up with Annie? Maybe it’s because Willow’s brother did well in the remake of the Karate Kid(Horrible title since he doesn’t learn Karate in the movie). So the only story with a young woman who sings is Annie so they plan to remake it. I like Willow, she seems totally talented and props for her doing what she’s doing but this remake of Annie is going to get heat. I mean racists will come out but screw them. I just think it’s a funny choice of a project. Still this proves the Smith’s are a power family in Hollywood and frankly that’s good for us because they are all talented and seem like nice people.

Rumors are flying around the web about how the Spider-man reboot is going horribly wrong. I’ve kept my mouth shut on the topic only bringing up villain rumors. There are some things about the remake I love, first off Garfield is a perfect choice for Peter Parker and Spider-man, he just looks right for the role and The Social Network proved he is a solid actor. Emma Stone being Gwenn Stacey works for me mainly because she is just so funny and charming. That’s what I want from the female lead in Spider-man. Also it seems they have brought back the web shooters. In the original trilogy Sam Raimi avoided the web shooters and just had Spider-man mutate to the ability to shoot webs from his wrist. The web shooters prove Parker is science nerd and opens up possibilities for drama in the action. The main problem is I think the web shooters may confuse Spider-man fans who only have seen the movies, but in the end who cares, read the comics.

I do have problems with the remake though too. I hate the choice for director in Marc Webb. I’m not a hater it’s just he makes one solid romantic comedy and he gets the biggest remake of the decade? It screams Tim Story and the Fantastic Four. Spider-man is about a young super hero, it’s not about teen angst and trying to get a girl. Okay well it is but that’s a minor part. It seems Sony is just trying to get teens interested in the film, problem is the fan base is kids and nerds who loved the comics and that ranges from many ages. Kids and nerds want the same thing, great action and villains. So why hire Webb? He’s cheap I guess and a lot of Indie kids liked 500 Days of Summer so he’ll make a Spider-man movie they love. Also I hate that it’s in 3D… Seems pointless if they are lowering the budget and trying to make Spider-man more about Peter Parker and his life, but then proclaim the film will be in stunning 3D. Why? If you don’t want big action why have the 3D? My final complaint is the stories about who the villain would be. I’m happy they are not attempting the Green Goblin and Doc Ock again. They just have thrown around too many weird options, I loved the idea of the Lizard, that should always be the first villain in my opinion. Then though rumors of Proto-Goblin have been swirling around. What a horrible idea! That villain is a B-baddie and would just make the film feel off. Stick to the original stories the comics gave you! I’m hoping for the best with this remake but there is a piece of me hoping it fails so Marvel can buy the franchise back.

As the remake train chugs along more and more titles are emerging. Now it seems the film Westworld is being remade, this really makes no sense. The idea itself just doesn’t work for the world today unless you completely go crazy with it. I doubt they will make this cool they will either go uber serious or goofy as hell. I’m leaning towards the latter, I can see Seth Rogan being cast to run around screaming as robots come alive. If you don’t know the plot of Westworld it’s pretty basic, the robots in a theme park come alive and attack visitors. My problem with this is the lack of robotics at theme parks, most are leaning towards boring digital screen attractions. Trying to use 3D visuals to replace machines. The only way I can see this being interesting is if the robots are the good guys, they see they are being replaced by 3D crappy screens, so they come alive and revolt. I would see that flick. I’m sure it wouldn’t be close to anything like that so oh well.