Today THN awoke from a 4am slumber to venture downtown in the San Diego line for today’s impressive line up. Amongst panels for THE WORLD’S END, THE WALKING DEAD and GAME OF THRONES, for ourselves, it was all about seeing the first footage of Jose Padilha’s controversial remake of Paul Verhoeven’s ultra-violent 80s classic ROBOCOP (and of course, the web-slinger himself in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 but more on him later).
There has been much debate about the rumoured troubled production of the metallic lawman’s rebirth; from the supposedly ‘laughable’ script to the director’s struggle with the studio in wanting to stamp his authority for his own unique vision. We opened with clip of a news report from a war-torn futuristic battleground of what appeared be the Middle-East, from a show presented by Samuel L. Jackson’s news anchor Pat Novak. It showed military “assets on the ground” (robotic soldiers) and “big-boys, ED-209s securing the perimeter and the smaller EM-208 who sweep and the mop up” ‘protecting’ the inhabits on the unnamed city streets before innocent bloodshed indicate the flaws in Michael Keaton’s OmniCorp’s billionaire contractor’s master-plan as Jackson’s character poses the question of “why can’t we use these machines here at home and why is America so robophobic!”
It was certainly quite a departure from what we know and love from the previous film and franchise with Alex Murphy’s part man, part machine, all cop nowhere to be seen. As the lights came up, we were introduced to director Jose Padhila, a stunning Abbie Cornish, the legend Michael Keaton (with much hollering by fans of his gothic Caped Crusader), Samuel L. Jackson and lead Joel Kinnaman, who takes the iconic role previously played by Peter Weller. THE ELITE SQUAD director passionately spoke about his vision and his love of the original film, and citing the current high-tech capacities in drones and how he believes robotic protectors are not too far away from becoming a reality. The cast all chipped in with their hope for the film and what drew them to it with Kinnaman piping up to say Murphy does not die in this film but is essentially resurrected from the waist up and spoke how his character struggles with AI software and his past memories from his tragic transformation.
Not wanting to spoil the first full trailer which will be appearing on THN soon, and showcased to rapturous applause, we see just how the future of law-enforcement will be integrated into a brave new world. There were certainly a number of nods to the original (including dialogue) as well as those rumoured, numerous upgrades he’ll receive over the course of the film.
A few tidbits were discovered during the fans open floor questions. Most notably, one that many fans have been left wondering. Why didn’t they lose the arm? Well, Padhila confirmed there is indeed a reason for that. It’s in part due to the fact that the military failures hinted at in the first clip has the ROBOCOP character is being used as an emotional connection that someone must be held accountable for their actions. That these robots ‘cleaning’ the streets in futuristic warfare have no soul or morality. There must be something ‘human’ in order to take a life and fire a gun. A trigger finger!
We’ll bring that ROBOCOP trailer as soon as it becomes available but keep it THN for all the following Comic Con coverage.