The big bold trailer for the Robocop reboot is currently dominating my social media feeds, along with people complaining about how there’s no originality in Hollywood any more.
The trailer does it’s job in terms of making me intrigued enough to want to see it, but then so did the trailers for Total Recall, Evil Dead, and Dredd, all of which had some sumptuous set piece and visual designs.
I’ll come back to Dredd in a minute, but what Total Recall and the trailer for Robocop both seem to have in common is a feel of style over substance, which ends up feeling hollow. With horror remakes it is worse, with gore often replacing chills and suspense.
My worry is that the satirical edge of the original film is getting lost in the gloss and the almost pathological need to remove the masks from lead characters, a trend you see here in Robocop, both Spider-Man treatments, Captain America/The Avengers, and Wolverine/X-Men to pick a few examples. Robocop here is definitely a man inside a machine, as opposed to the machine with humanity stretched across it that struggles to re-ignite that humanity.
My gripe is that the slew of disappointing remakes means that we are missing good films like Dredd, which was a good reboot of a dreadful (yes, that pun is intentional) original. Dredd has it’s flaws, but it’s a stripped down action film that entertains.
Perhaps we should be begging Hollywood to reboot the disappointing genre originals to see what unexpected gems appear. Rebooting classics only means they’re starting off being compared to superior originals before they even get started..!