‘RoboCop’ 2014: Differences Between the Remake and the Original

Published 5 months ago by , Updated February 17th, 2014 at 4:34 pm, This is a list post.

Robocop 2014 Movie Remake vs Original Thanks to enjoyable satire, an intriguing central character, and ultra-violent action, Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop became a cult classic film - and an icon of the 1980s science fiction genre. As a result, fans were nervous when it was first announced that Strike Entertainment was set to remake RoboCop with Elite Squad director Jose Padilha at the helm and Joel Kinnaman (The Killing) in the titular role. However, despite sharing the same central premise and fan-favorite character, Padilha's 2014 RoboCop movie is very different from the 1987 original - providing a different take on Alex Murphy for the modern era. Just how different? Here are the Differences Between the 2014 RoboCop Reboot and the Original.

1. RoboTone

Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy in 'RoboCop' 1987: As mentioned in the intro, Verhoeven's approach in RoboCop (originally penned by screenwriters Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner) placed heavy emphasis on satirizing American culture while also presenting a gritty (and ultra-violent) science-fiction future. 2014: Padilha, on the other hand, toned down the violence and satirical elements (though some remain) in order to focus on modern philosophical questions (ex. Should an unfeeling robot be allowed to take a human life?) in addition to Alex Murphy's existential experience - as he tries to rediscover his humanity and maintain personal relationships despite being a man trapped inside of a high-tech cybernetic product.

2. Cultural Commentary

RoboCop 1987 Car Ad 6000 SUX 1987: Satirizing American consumer culture was a key element of Verhoeven's RoboCop - both in terms of onscreen humor and the larger plot. In addition to the antagonistic Omni Consumer Product company, RoboCop also featured fake TV commercials, and womanizing comedy show star Bixby Snyder, known for his catchphrase "I'd buy that for a dollar" as not-so-subtle social commentary. 2014: In an effort to modernize the premise, Padilha's RoboCop tackles one of America's most divisive topics: National Security. Consumerism is also a key topic but, with the inclusion of a geopolitical subplot and Samuel L. Jackson playing cable network talking head, Padilha ensures the debate over privacy, robot-enforced militarism, and global imperialism is front and center.

3. Film Rating

RoboCop 1987 Acid Toxic Waste Scene 1987: Like most Paul Verhoeven films, RoboCop carried an R Rating with an emphasis on graphic violence - featuring everything from dismemberment, a toxic waste bath, bodies torn about by gunfire, a punctured jugular, and one especially unlucky attempted rapist that Alex Murphy intentionally shoots in the groin. 2014: For the reboot, Padilha dialed-back the violence - relying on implied bodily harm to secure a PG-13 rating. Plenty of drug lords and murderers are still shot, Padilha simply opted to avoid showing the subsequent blood and guts. In addition, the updated RoboCop model carries more than one weapon, including a Beretta Pistol that fires XREP taser cartridges - meaning that, in certain situations, he can take down offenders without killing them.

4. The Murphy Family

Abbie Cornish as Clara Murphy in 'RoboCop' 1987: The Murphy family does not play a significant role in the original RoboCop - only included to establish Alex Murphy as a regular family man. After Murphy's accident, both his wife, Ellen, and son, Jimmy, move away - appearing only in flashback memories. Ellen returns in RoboCop 2, confronting Murphy when she finds out the truth about the RoboCop program, but is turned away by her former husband (so that she can truly move on). 2014: The Murphy family dynamic is a key aspect of Padilha's reboot. It is actually Clara (Abbie Cornish) that allows OmniCorp to enroll Murphy in the RoboCop experiment - in the hopes that he will one day be able to return to his family. Prior to RoboCop's public unveiling he visits with wife as well as son, David, and the two remain instrumental in tethering Murphy to his humanity while he struggles to suppress OmniCorp's programming.

5. Officer Lewis

Jack Lewis Anne Lewis RoboCop 1987 2014 1987: In Verhoeven's film, Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is transferred to Detroit's Metro West Police Department and subsequently partnered with tough as nails, though sympathetic, female cop Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen). Murphy's death occurs soon after they are partnered but months later, upon discovering that Murphy is "alive," Anne becomes instrumental in helping RoboCop regain his memory - and saves his life on more than one occasion. 2014: In the reboot, Anne Lewis is replaced by Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams), Murphy's longtime friend and partner, who is injured in a shootout with the drug dealers that, later, attempt to kill Murphy (Joel Kinnaman). Jack survives, aware of what OmniCorp has done to Murphy and, like Clara and Jimmy, is allowed time with RoboCop prior to his public unveiling - eager to pickup where they left off.

6. Antagonists

RoboCop 1987 ED 209 Dick Jones 1987: After OmniCorp heir apparent Senior Vice President Dick Jones' (Ronny Cox ) new law enforcement machine ED-209 executes an unarmed board member, raising significant safety concerns, Jones hires master criminal Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith), also the man responsible for Murphy's death, to destroy the company's competing law enforcement product, RoboCop, as well as kill anyone who does not support the ED-209 program. 2014: In the reboot, OmniCorp has successfully implemented ED-209, EM-208, and XT-908 robot law enforcers in every other country around the world. To make robot police officers more palatable in United States, profit-hungry OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) commissions the creation of a man in a machine - recruiting cocky security tactician Rick Mattox (Jackie Earle Haley) for damage control should RoboCop, one day, turn against his creators.

7. Cause of Murphy's Death

RoboCop 1987 Alex Murphy Hand Shot Off Scene 1987: In the original RoboCop, Alex Murphy is on patrol with Lewis investigating a robbery in progress - which leads them to an old steel mill. After a firefight with a well-armed gang, the group's leader (Boddicker) shoots off Murphy's hand before the other gunners dismember his entire arm and pepper his body with bullets. Murphy dies - only to be resurrected as RoboCop. 2014: Following a run-in with one of Detroit's most notorious drug dealers, both Murphy and Lewis become targets of retaliation. At home, the alarm on Murphy's police cruiser abruptly sounds - and, upon investigating the vehicle, a car bomb explodes. Murphy remains alive, in critical condition, his body badly damaged - until OmniCorp offers to step in and make him whole again. 

8. Creator

Gary Oldman as Dr. Dennett Norton in 'RoboCop' 1987: After the failure of ED-209, Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) pitches his RoboCop idea to OmniCorp's CEO, "The Old Man" - who approves the project. Morton is an uncaring opportunist, not an actual scientist, who sees RoboCop as nothing more than a product - and means of climbing the corporate ladder. His cocky approach to business pits him against Dick Jones, who lectures Morton about respect, before hiring Boddicker to kill him. 2014: Chief Scientist of the Omni Foundation, Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), helps amputees adjust to new cybernetic enhancements - until he is asked by Sellars to create RoboCop. Under pressure from OmniCorp, Norton makes some questionable choices but throughout he is compassionate toward the man within the machine - tactful in his efforts to help Murphy adjust physically and psychologically to his new RoboBody.

9. RoboCop Design

Robocop 2014 Black Tactical Suit 1987: The original RoboCop was based on a more "robotic" approach to design, slow and stiff (albeit with superhuman strength), and featured a grey/silver color scheme. As a result, gunplay and close-range brawling were RoboCop's primary combat options. Scientists even managed to salvage Murphy's arm but Morton instructed them to replace it anyway - making Murphy's face the only organic part that is still visible as RoboCop. 2014: Taking advantage of modern robotics and near-future cybernetics, the RoboCop in Padilha's reboot is much more agile - even capable of leaping into the air. While Murphy remarks that "there's nothing left" of his human body, both his face and right hand remain visible. While the traditional grey/silver suit appears in the 2014 film, RoboCop also sports a "tactical" black color scheme.

10. OmniCorp Control

RoboCop 2014 OmniCorp 1987: Following his "death," OmniCorp wipes Murphy's memory, attempting to remove any trace of his former life, in order to limit knowledge of his murder, family, and human emotions. In addition, the company includes a failsafe, Directive Four, that prevents RoboCop from arresting or killing an OmniCorp employee. 2014: In the reboot, much of Murphy's memory is left intact; though his owners regularly adjust his dopamine levels and override brain activity with an automated computer system. OmniCorp also adds a failsafe, much like Directive Four, which identifies key company personal as Red Targets (who RoboCop cannot kill). As a last ditch effort, they also included a wireless kill switch that can shut Murphy down at anytime, anywhere.

11. Primary Weaponry

RoboCop 1987 Gun Holster 1987: In addition to super strength and durability, one of RoboCop's most iconic features was his gun holster - a mechanized compartment inside his right leg that opened to reveal a single modified Beretta 93R "Auto 9." The machine pistol was heavily altered for RoboCop (with a longer barrel as well as a reported 50-round magazine) - fired in three-round bursts. 2014: While Padilha maintained the internal leg holster, the reboot RoboCop takes advantage of different firearms depending on the situation - including a custom Beretta Pistol (NI-408) that fires non-lethal (50,000 Volt) and lethal (200,000 Volt) XREP taser cartridges, a heavily modified (and fictional) .50 caliber RoboCop SMG, as well as a Heckler & Koch MP7A1 submachine gun.

12. Transportation

RoboCop 2014 C-1 Motorcycle 1987: After his resurrection as RoboCop, Murphy climbs inside a standard OCP Detroit Police Car - patrolling the city for crimes in progress. Interestingly, Weller's RoboCop suit was so bulky that the actor could not actually fit inside the car wearing his entire costume - meaning that, in shots of RoboCop driving, Weller is only wearing the top portion of the suit. 2014: At times, Kinnaman's RoboCop travels as a passenger in OminCorp SUVs - but his main mode of transport is a custom C-1 motorcycle that matches its owners stealth black paint job. Instead of patrolling for crimes in progress, Murphy spends most of his time solving open case files - combining archive crime footage with live surveillance feeds to hunt down suspects that have, until now, escaped arrest.

13. Media Portrayal

RoboCop 2014 Samuel L Jackson Pat Novak 1987: Hosted by Casey Wong and Jess Perkins, Mediabreak's motto was "You give us three minutes and we'll give you the world." Utilized for exposition in the film, Verhoeven also used the show to satirize 1980s American media: highlighting the disconnect between terrible events occurring around the world and how (certain) anchors deliver that news - i.e. reporting on tragic events with perfect hair and a wide smile. 2014: In the modern reboot, Padilha turned his attention toward cable news pundits - modeling The Novak Element, and host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson), after argumentative political shows. Instead of balanced journalism, The Novak Element intentionally shuts-out alternative opinion (and intelligent discussion) in favor or furthering the beliefs of Novak and his audience - e.g. pro-OmniCorp "robot soldier" propaganda.

14. Easter Eggs

RoboCop 2014 Grey Suit Padilha avoids direct comparisons between his RoboCop and Verhoeven's film - attempting to honor the original by forging a significantly different direction for the reboot. Still, longtime fans will without question notice a few knowing nods to the 1987 film. RoboCop starts in the traditional grey suit until Sellars decides an all-black "tactical" version would make for a better "product." After the final battle, RoboCop returns to the fan-favorite grey design. Several riffs on iconic lines are included, such as "Dead or alive, you're coming with me." The original RoboCop theme from Basil Poledouris is incorporated (albeit mostly shoe-horned) into Pedro Bromfman's score.

Conclusion

Robocop 2014 Movie Remake vs Original That's just some of the main differences between the 2014 RoboCop reboot and the 1987 original that we chose to highlight. Were there any changes, easter eggs, or other pieces of fan-service that you noticed? Make sure to read our RoboCop (2014) review and check back soon to hear our editors discuss the reboot on the Screen Rant Underground podcast. RoboCop is now playing in regular and IMAX theaters. Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates on the RoboCop film series as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.
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  1. I have to say, I never knew how much I loved the original Robocop until I heard the divisive talk over this film. I’ve got to see it at some point, but I didn’t think it’d be this hard.

  2. Just saw Robocop (2014).

    I don’t know who f**ked this up, be it the director (a whiner) or his corporate backers.
    But this film is not worth paying money to see.

    There are good points, the non-’tactical’ Robocop look was perfect. Then they ruin it mid film with that terrible Bat-suit design, reverting to the quality version in the final frames as a final slap in the face. I did however enjoy the update to Robo’s motions, less like Frankenstein and more like real robots you can watch on YouTube.

    This movie is like the world’s longest test reel. Great ideas and characterizations (Robocop, Norton, the family dynamic), but connected to less stellar elements such as Micheal Keaton’s utterly bland performance (Ronny Cox’s Dick Jones was on point), Micheal K White’s talent being wasted on an under developed Lewis, and Sam Jackson playing a character that anyone in a silly wig could have played….

    I can’t recommend this movie, unless your just killing time.
    When you get to that place, it’s interesting to see from a technical standpoint.

    • I completely agree with the change mid movie with making robo all black and tactical. The gunmetal suit with details and notes to the original was awesome. The black suit was a cross between the bat suit and the acceleration suits from GI joe. It was less robotic and more just a suit of armor. Terrible terrible. The fact that robo was able to access cameras and the city grid was pretty cool. The story line was decent and Joel kinnamman did an ok job.

  3. Was there a reason behind Lewis being a man instead of a woman? There are so many of them, you would think they would try to put more women in it if they could.
    The suit, the silver one looked okay, but the black one… nope.

  4. It sounds like the closest film I’m gona get to seeing something worthy of the original Robocop is Dredd.
    This film looks more like Rubber-cop than Robo-cop. I wouldn’t have even minded as much if they just made this new Murphy, David Murphy and have it a sequel/spin off to the 80s film. Rather than trying to paint over a classic much loved film. Now Hollywood, stop all this nonsense and give us a #Dredd-sequel!

  5. The next RoboCop movie will be a direct sequel to the original 1987 movie and to bring Peter Weller back as RoboCop. this could completely disregard everything in the franchise, The two sequels from 1990 and 1993, The TV Series, The Prime Directives Mini-series and the recent remake. this would be made under the newly revived Orion Pictures in joint-venture with MGM which owns the entire Orion library.

  6. The new one is better than the original only in one respect – the family. I like that they got the family more involved.

  7. Ok i saw the movie and i was actually more pleased then i thought id be. There were maby two or three things i didnt like. First i hated how his visor only came down at times where he feels threat. Next it was the suit. The suit looked cool but not like the original. The final thing was that they spent to much time on emotional problems. Although i could see why they did it because its a 2014 movie and they wanted to see how it would look but i think it would have been better if they had more of a action packed part. And actually i was hoping that one of the main villains was a drug lord like the first one. All in all though i liked it i would most likely purchase it when it comes out and i give it a solid 8

  8. I love the original RoboCop and had a lot of concerns about this film. After seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised. It was much better than I anticipated. Not perfect and doesn’t stand up to the original, but still worth a view.

  9. another difference is that the 2014 version is TERRIBLE

  10. WHY?

    Why do we have to destroy the classics?

    Nine out of ten times, it turns into a disaster! Is it too much to ask for something original? Did we really need twenty Bond films? Did we need to bring back new versions of Freddy and Jason?

    You would think the way Carrie flopped, Hollywood would wake up already!

  11. I liked the original one for its silly humor and the story behind Robocop. I mean, I love a good sci-fi, but sometimes replacing a good thing should be renamed to something else. I haven’t seen the new one yet.

  12. I LOVE the original movie, but enjoyed the new one more than I expected to. That said there were a few things that could’ve been better. The main thing however was the lack of an epic theme to begin and end the movie with. I distinctly remember that being one of the great things about the original, something that would’ve been so easy to emulate with an updated version of the theme just as the credits roll. Thoughts?

  13. I watched the original robcop last night and the original now. Well I honestely think the new one sucks. It is not scary at all… the original was more scary and portrait the reality better in the sense of people being capable to play with technologie and humans as toys just for the money and power. However the new didn’t really made me fear… its too slow…not that much action compared to the other one.

  14. The main difference is the original was amazing and the remake sucks.

  15. Watched the new Robocop some elements of the movie I liked the new more sleek looking Robocop and how he moved better. I can remember watching the original at a young age with my dad and over classics like predator and dread (the gore didn’t bother me) and the 2014 rendition just lost it’s feel. The new robocop was too clean cut unlike the original which I think made it better and more enjoyable to watch.

  16. I think the main difference that divided the original from the remake was the rating. The original was actually rated-X, for the violence and gore, but I’m guessing they toned it down to an R for the theatrical release. With R, they could do a lot more of an visual impact, more for the feeling of the story rather than people’s lust for bloodshed and killing. (assuming we’ve all seen the movie) During Murphy’s killing scene, it showed how much of his body was slowly being destroyed. In the remake, he is just blown up all at once, BUT the way they show his body after the suit is taken off, there’s almost nothing left, I think that makes up for his “death” scene. One of the things I liked about the new armor was the visor, after he wakes up and starts freaking out about what happened to him, he flipped down his visor and I said “ok… that’s pretty cool…”. And finally the updated ED-209 is pretty awesome, it seems a lot more intimidating than the original. The original is still scary but the way it walked seemed kind of glitchey (but what can you expect from stop-motion). The 2014 version looks more of a military-style, looks bigger, and looks more fluent with walking. When something looks carefully designed and looks operational, it looks terrifying. Overall I thought the 2014 Robocop was pretty good for what they can do with PG-13.

  17. I completely agree with other comments here, I was like “yuck” “WTF” during the entire film. Everyone involved in the remake was just terrible and made it aweful to watch. Apart for the revamp of the suit (which was great in the original by the way), the film is barely watchable. Although exagerated in some aspects, Verhoven version was much more poetic and emotionally engaging, and the performance of Peter Weller in the original was iconic and unique. I’d say the original IS by right the ONE and ONLY, still to this day. Thumbs down to remakes!

  18. You people who blame on it don’t seems to understand the main significance of the film. It’s obvious that the movie focus in emotional characteristics… it’s clear that people don’t wanted robots to protect them because it doesn’t have the emotional discerniment to act, so RoboCop rises like the alternative to contour the problem. I think the fact that the visor only covers his face in the battle is just to reinforce this idea of humanity to the people. I’m a fan from the original ones, but I really like the new perspective they gave to the new one, and I wish that this have a sequence.

  19. I was put off from watching this by the comments on here, but it turned out to be a good film, an updated, modern version of its predecessor – decide for yourself and just watch the film

  20. I just purchased the bluray of the original and the remake I personally love them both for there own merits there are things that make each film superior to the other. Although I Feel the original is better the remake is still great :-)

  21. I liked the new version/this movie ( i.e. the actors, the suit design, motorcycle, etc.). Especially, incorporating both Murphy’s family and the current political issues America is facing. I was surprised and impressed to see Lewis as a male officer. But it appeared they did a switch too because the police chief was female — in the original movie the chief was male. If they do a sequel, and I hope they do … it be nice to add more female (officers) actors in the movie. I’ll throw my hat in, just kidding (LOL). Peace!!!

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