Comic-Con 2013: ‘RoboCop’ Has WiFi; Film Aiming for PG-13 Rating

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 25th, 2013 at 2:14 pm,

robocop reboot edward norton sean penn Comic Con 2013: RoboCop Has WiFi; Film Aiming for PG 13 Rating

It’s been nearly three years since director José Padilha was first announced to helm the RoboCop reboot. After a long list of rumored talent including Michael Fassbender, Chris Pine, and Russell Crowe, The Killing actor Joel Kinnaman was selected to resurrect Alex Murphy as RoboCop for modern audiences. Now, in spite of rumored production woes and a delay into February 2014, Sony is finally starting to put their RoboCop remake in front of potential ticket buyers.

The director and star, joined by fellow cast members Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, and Abbie Cornish, were all on-hand at Comic-Con 2013 for a Hall H panel – where they debuted footage from the film and offered new details about the return of Alex Murphy. However, before they took the stage, the filmmaker and starts met with press behind-closed doors – covering topics that include Kinnaman’s approach to the iconic role, reimagining the character for modern audiences, and a potential PG-13 rating.

 Comic Con 2013: RoboCop Has WiFi; Film Aiming for PG 13 Rating

Speaking on his experience with the RoboCop franchise, Kinnaman offered a breakdown that is representative of many moviegoers – highlighting the original as his main source of inspiration while mostly dismissing its sequels. Still, Kinnaman promises that the reboot will tackle one of the most important elements of the RoboCop story head-on – a deep examination of the Alex Murphy character. In fact, the actor claims that audiences will get to know Murphy “a little better” than in Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original:

“I love the first movie, I checked out forty minutes into the second one, and I didn’t seen the third one. And I missed that [Canadian] TV series. But that part is very much still in our story and we go a little further with Alex Murphy, we get to know him a little better. We spend more time with Alex Murphy when he’s at work as an undercover cop and as a family man. He’s got a beautiful little family. And that is very much the question: is he now a property? Is he owned by OmniCorp?

He’s very vulnerable because the system needs to be changed and needs to be plugged in. So he is dependent on this corporation that has made him to survive. That has made him very powerful but at the same time very vulnerable. There’s continuous interactions. They let him interact with his family. He gets to reconnect with his family after he becomes RoboCop and that is of course something that is not easy to come home and try to embrace your six-year-old son and your wife when you have just a big robotic body and you can’t really feel them.”

Anyone who has been following the film for the last two years will likely recall an early plot synopsis indicating the new RoboCop would tackle many of the same themes as the first film – updated for a new generation of tech-savvy filmgoers. However, while it was always expected that the movie would explore the balance between Alex Murphy (the man) and RoboCop (the OmniCorp machine), Padilha appears poised to add even more complexity to the situation – by giving Murphy a family and creating scenes where his human past and cyborg present collide.

RoboCop viral site EM 208 570x289 Comic Con 2013: RoboCop Has WiFi; Film Aiming for PG 13 Rating

Of course, for many viewers, the cybernetic side of RoboCop is the real draw – meaning that the filmmakers would need to give the character a few upgrades if they hope to compete in the modern action arena. After films like Iron Man and Transformers have wowed moviegoers with cool robotic weaponry and slick tech-inspired set pieces, a slow moving RoboCop would be a tough sell. As a result, what have Padilha and Kinnaman done to prepare the character for his 2014 debut?

According to the actor, the new RoboCop will ditch the stiff Robo-walk and draw inspiration from modern cybernetics - delivering a portrayal that is a mix of superhuman and robotic:

“Before I got this part, I’d probably seen RoboCop twenty or thirty times, and I started rehearsing my RoboCop walk way before I became an actor. So I was pretty well-versed in the Robo-walk. But then when I got the suit, the 1987 vision of where robotics would be is very different from a 2013 vision of where robotics would be and how a robot would move 15 years in the future. So when I got the suit on, I had some ideas, we went for a more superhuman approach to his movement pattern but then we added in more robotic movement to it. But I was playing around with it and then Jose would look at it, and give me a little note, and I’d take that note or work on something else – mostly I take his notes.”

In the Q&A, Samuel L. Jackson (who portrays media mogul Pat Novak in the film) outed one new RoboCop feature with especially interesting applications – RoboCop is always online:

Jackson: “He’s connected to the Internet now. He has RoboCop WiFi.”

Padilha: “He actually does.”

RoboCop viral site ED 209 570x291 Comic Con 2013: RoboCop Has WiFi; Film Aiming for PG 13 Rating

We’ll have to wait to find out exactly how that RoboCop WiFi (a tongue-in-cheek name from Jackson) will factor into the film but it’s easy to imagine plenty of interesting ways that Murphy could network with objects and information – both during investigations as well as in-the-moment action.

In the panel, Padilha also touched on a question that has frequently been brought-up in connection with the reboot: will the director aim for the same R-Rating as the original or will the new RoboCop aim for a wider PG-13 viewership – possibly toning down certain scenes and shots in the process? According to the filmmaker, they aren’t sure where the movie will land with the MPAA but he shot RoboCop with the intention of showing it to a PG-13 audience (in the interest of maximizing box office potential):

“I don’t get to make the decision. We screen the movie to the MPAA and they will tell us. I mean we were shooting the movie to be seen by the broadest possible audience – which means PG-13. This whole idea that RoboCop has to be R-Rated because the first RoboCop was amazingly violent and was R-Rated, I never really bought into that. You know, Dark Knight is PG-13 so you can get away with a lot these days with PG-13.”

RoboCop viral site NI 408 570x363 Comic Con 2013: RoboCop Has WiFi; Film Aiming for PG 13 Rating

Comments about a PG-13 RoboCop will undoubtedly be concerning news for anyone who was hoping to see the same ultra-violent approach that was established in Verhoeven’s original. That said, Padilha makes a good point – that savvy filmmakers can still deliver a dark PG-13 film if they find a smart balance between violence that is outright shown and violence that is implied (i.e. the pencil scene in The Dark Knight). Plenty of longtime fans are likely to scoff at the idea of a PG-13 RoboCop movie (especially considering that rating was a primary criticism of Fred Dekker’s oft-derided RoboCop 3); still, if the director succeeds in delivering a great character-driven Alex Murphy story with exciting modern CGI effects, there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about RoboCop’s return to the big screen.


RoboCop is expected to hit theaters February 7th, 2014.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further Comic-Con 2013 coverage, updates on RoboCop as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

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  1. *throws towel*

    • ::WTF::

      Who the hell threw a towel at me?

  2. No thank you. I have the bronze DVD steel book from 2007. I think I’ll get my Robo fix with that.

  3. All I have to say is they better have a unrated version when it comes out on dvd.

    • True that. Forget PG-13.

  4. So what the hell is going to happen when Robocop shoots people are they going to be spurting rainbows or is the camera going to shake widly and make you sick in the progress. World War Z is a classic example of where PG-13 doesn’t work, a violent zombie movie as the film was portrayed is meant to be Rated R. Again also with the constant Nolan references. Batman is not often a violent character, Batman doesn’t carry a gun now like he used to decades ago which people barely remember. The Dark Knight can be described as more a dramatic thriller take on the Superhero genre. Robocop on the other hand is entirely different. This is a character who carries a gun and uses it at will. Restricting this with a PG-13 rating just seems like they are going to hold the character way back. An R Rating shows the true dark and bloody side of things as what Robocop was originally meant to be. It just seems like they are turning Robocop now into a modern generic science fiction film. By the way Kinnaman RoboCop 2 was a great film and highly underrated, it’s too bad the train wreck version your in won’t come close to it at all.

  5. Plenty of longtime fans are likely to scoff at the idea of a PG-13 RoboCop movie (especially considering that rating was a primary criticism of Irvin Kershner’s oft-derided RoboCop 3)

    Irvin Kershner had nothing to do with RoboCop 3, which was directed by Fred Dekker(Monster Squad), RoboCop 2 was directed by Irvin Kershner, which was a hard R Rating, so what exactly are you talking about with this?

    • Eric – It was a simple typo on the name. I’ve updated it the story accordingly. Thanks.

  6. Ugh, this movie should just be Dredd but with Robocop subbed in.

  7. Count me as optimistic. :)

  8. Wifi? It’d be hilarious if he got hacked

  9. This looks beyond horrible. Pass.

  10. So what the hell is going to happen when Robocop shoots people are they going to be spurting rainbows or is the camera going to shake widly and make you sick in the progress. World War Z is a classic example of where PG-13 doesn’t work, a violent zombie movie as the film was portrayed is meant to be Rated R.

  11. Oh dear I can’t believe they are going to make Robo for the kids!! I had some faith until I heard this!!
    Sounds like it’s going to be like the TV show, I wonder if PudFace will be the bad guy?!

    • Y’know…

      The original 1970 Texas Chainsaw Massacre was aimed as a PG-13 rating.

    • Hell, they already tried once. I’m guessing you never witnessed the abomination that was ROBOCOP: THE ANIMATED SERIES. Where the opening sequence shows (and i kid you not) a cartoonified version of Murphy’s death at the hands of Boddicker and his gang…

      Good grief. *shudder*

  12. pg13.

    So more brutal subdued violence than fun colorful bloody violence. Kind of a non-issue for me. The problem I have is what this means for language. Nothing hurts worse than seeing an artificial hardened criminal bite his tongue.

  13. Can you show the effects of joining live and metallic tissue with pg-13?
    I think not. Very often after a surgery, transplant can be rejected by the patients immune system – so pus and blood is unavoidable if we want to be true to real life transplants and prosthetics be it advanced or primitive.

  14. Yea, probably not a good idea to try and compare your film to the Dark Knight.

    The PG-13 rating just tells me they want to make as much money as possible to try and spin this thing into a trilogy or at least a sequel. I have had reservations about this film from the start, now they are being justified. Just wish film makers would grow a pair and quit trying to market everything to the 13-21 year old audience.

    • Its the era we live in. Not everyone needs to be an Auteur, just have the guts to take the franchise you are working on, and make it the narrative it deserves to be. The Dark Knight and Robocop are two different worlds and two different methods to their heroes. The sad part is, TDK has become the go to guide on how to make a dark movie without subjecting to the realms of the violence portrayed in the R Rated world. Its sad and I agree with you 100%

  15. I will to this day believe that the original Robocop and Robocop II are the best of the franchise. I am not sure if the comics came out before the film or vice versa, but either way, the films benefit from the violence. The violence in the films work extremely well and logically in the crime ridden future, and it made Murphy’s transformation into Robocop logical, rather than this toned down transformation Im sure will come.

    Im attending school in the fall to work in Advertising and Film. Its a real shame to see how the movie industry is becoming greedy and one sided more so everyday. They are using the PG 13 rating and large budgets over great writing and proper planning for the film’s narrative and presentation, to achieve this massive returns that The Dark Knight, Avatar, Iron Man 3 and others have obtained. Big Budgets does not always mean great films. Look at the Lone Ranger..

    • I’d disagree about Robocop 2 being a good movie. I only liked it for the malfunctioning and suicidal Robocop replacements midway through.

  16. PG-13, I think this reboot is going to be a stinker!

  17. Well, I would’ve welcomed the PG-13 rating but this movie could’ve been a social commentary on violence, not just on the streets thanks to criminals but also the horrors of war since those scenes in Tehran were mentioned in the other article.

    Toning it down to make it available for kids to watch? Bad idea.

  18. They already made an awesome Robocop reboot. It was called Dredd.

    • Speaking of Dredd, Karl Urban spoke at SDCC about a Dredd sequel being extremely likely thanks to backing from somewhere or other. I hope Screen Rant mentions that because details escape me and I’d like to know more about it myself.

      • Sounds interesting

  19. Have they not learned from Robocop 3? The pg 13 rating was the reason why the film was terrible.

  20. About the dark knight comparisons, Batman was always intended as a pg 13 character while Robocop was a hard R. I understand the need to make money but you can do that with an r rating.

  21. The worst part is that even if Sony relents decides to make this R, all they could do is add some cgi blood since the remake wasn’t made for a R rating.

    This remake is going to suck. Nothing from the set impressed me.

  22. I promise you I WILL NOT watch a PG-13 Robocop.

  23. Terrible idea. Frankly a movie like this without the violence would be rediculously pointless.

    • It would also be ridiculously pointless too.

      • reticulating pointless splines….

  24. I think i’ll wait for Redbox for sure now since this new Robocop is PG-13. I love how directors wanna use The Dark Knight as aspiration for films like this these days,lol.

  25. PG13? No thanks.

  26. The brutal violence and dark nature of the first RC was what made it great. Not interested in a toned down version of a great film. Still reeling from Total Recall

    • I have a friend who refers to the Total Recall remake as “Anal Recall.”

  27. FYI To those who did not know. Original Robocop had goes through 11 tweaks before it got its R Rating.

    It was given an X Rating 11 times.

  28. *Had gone through

  29. He is seriously trying to use TDK as an example of a violent PG-13 movie? A movie about a guy that doesn’t kill? TDK had about as much blood as that Pixar movie “Up” did. This director is an idiot and I hope his movie bombs as does his careeer.