Joel Kinnaman Says ‘RoboCop’ is Not Trying to Remake the Original Film

Published 1 year ago by

robocop remake joel kinnaman Joel Kinnaman Says RoboCop is Not Trying to Remake the Original Film

There was never really a time when “remake” wasn’t considered something of a dirty word by hardcore film buffs, especially when it came to well-respected movie titles. Nowadays, however, remakes are so plentiful that actors, actresses and directors (and everyone in between) go out of their way to not identify a project they’re working on as a “remake,” so matter how appropriate the label may be. Call it a re-imagining, reboot, or “re-anything-but-make,” instead.

RoboCop is the latest example of Hollywood reheating old leftovers. The film is a fresh start for the sci-fi/action franchise, yet it’s also a distinct re-working of the 1987 release directed by Paul Verhoeven; who, at this point, is no stranger to his film work being pulled out, dusted off and re-polished for presentation in the 21st century (see: Total Recall (2012)).

The Total Recall redo – its flaws and shortcomings notwithstanding – is far from a purist remake of Verhoeven’s 1990 film (itself, based on a Phillip K. Dick story), as there are a number of significant differences between it and its predecessor. The acclaimed director José Padilha (Elite Squad) is calling the shots on this new RoboCop and has long argued that he is interested in focusing on certain issues – such as the “Man or Machine?” dilemma inherent to the title character’s journey – more than Verhoeven did in his original movie. If nothing else, the trailers for Padilha’s film suggest that is indeed what he’s done here (for better or worse).

robocop movie 2014 trailer 570x294 Joel Kinnaman Says RoboCop is Not Trying to Remake the Original Film

Joel Kinnam (The Killing) – the actor who is playing Alex Murphy/RoboCop in Padilha’s film – told SFX that it was because of the director that he got involved with the new RoboCop in the first place. Moreover, he insisted that Padilha managed to overcome the restrictions that one faces while operating within the Hollywood studio system, in order to make a film that has brains and brawn (read: entertainment value) to boot.

Here is what Kinnaman offered SFX, on that issue:

“When I first heard there was gonna be a RoboCop remake, I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll see that somewhere down the line. But it’s nothing I’m interested in pursuing myself.’ Then when I heard it was José Padilha that was gonna direct it, I became very interested. José has fought very hard and succeeded in making something that has a point of view, and a political and philosophical perspective.”

More importantly, Kinnaman indicated to SFX that the new RoboCop doesn’t attempt to consciously imitate the formula of Verhoeven’s film, nor does it feature (excessive) shout-outs to longtime fans of the franchise and/or elements that appear to have made the cut just because they are what most people would expect to see in a RoboCop film (arguably, that is a criticism that applies heavily to Spike Lee’s recent American remake of Oldboy).

Again, to quote the actor directly:

“It’s a great responsibility. Especially in a world where there’s a lot of remakes being made for cynical economic reasons. But having José as a director washed away those fears. The biggest respect you can pay to the original is to acknowledge it as a very intelligent movie, and try to make something intelligent to follow it up with, and not just replay old catchphrases. We kept one or two as a wink to the fans, but we did not try to remake the movie.”

Robocop Trailer 2014 Joel Kinnaman Says RoboCop is Not Trying to Remake the Original Film

Indeed, the 2014 version of RoboCop looks to be very much its own beast, having strayed a ways away from Verhoeven’s film – too much so, perhaps. The concern we’ve raised here at Screen Rant before is that Padilha’s movie appears to have shifted its attention to themes that, frankly, had already been explored many times over – in other sci-fi and/or action films – even back when Verhoeven made his version in the late 1980s (hence, he didn’t highlight them); nowadays, they’re even less innovative, by comparison.

Having said that: Kinnaman seems to be correct, as the new RoboCop doesn’t appear to be leaning on its predecessor’s success as a crutch; it’s very much striving to stand on its own two (mechanized) legs. On those grounds alone, it may be worth giving the film the benefit of the doubt, ahead of us sitting down and finding out for ourselves how little (or lot) this movie feels like a retread of the original.


RoboCop opens in regular and IMAX theaters on February 12th, 2014.

Source: SFX

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Robocop
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. bull****.

  2. Why ever bother remaking it if you’re gonna try to make it as different from the original as possible?

    • To make money by rehashing old franchises bro.

    • Exactly, that’s why they should’ve kept the original atmosphere and characters and setting from the original Scarface in Brian dePalma’s remake.

    • i want to see robocop at 90years old facing potental shutdown and being replaced with a new robocop that would be worth watching

  3. Why keep the right hand? Please get blown off during the course of the movie.

  4. I spy with my little eye something beginning with the dreadful and pointless remake of ‘Total Recall’…

  5. After all that and claiming it was not trying to remake the original, I have to ask……then WHY leech the iconic movie title? If they truly had no intention of remaking the original then they should have called it, “CyberCop” or something similar? Have the confidence in your movie’s own identity instead of relying on a venerable movie’s name to sell tickets.

    • It starts way before selling tickets, they need an established “name” to even get production funding most of the times. CyberCop would not have gotten picked up by the studio as fast as RoboCop.

      • You are most likely correct but you would think with the lukewarm response movies reusing a recognized name have gotten lately, the people green lighting these projects would be more cautious.

  6. Dont know why you guys are being so negative, its not like its a remake of robocop 3.

    • Remaking Robocop 3 would actually be a GOOD thing. Let’s remake bad movies, make good on past sins. Not remaking movies that people know and love.

  7. i actually feel sorry for Joel Kinnam i liked him in The Killing, he’s gonna catch alot of slack if this turns out bad

  8. You dont tell me!!!! Like I didn´t know.

  9. Probably worth a Netflix watch.

  10. I`m looking forward

  11. I really liked the trailer. Plus, I’m a big Michael Keaton fan.

  12. Why of course it’s not a remake. Obviously since it’s only called Robocop for the Hell of it.


  14. I will watch this for you Joel!!!!!! <3

  15. Look guys nobody gives a s**t about original sorce material in hollyweird anymore just getting ticket sales . Didn’t WWZ,TOTAL RECALL or what they have planed for FANTASTIC FOUR teach you it’s all about the the bait&switch and reshaping the original sorce to meet ” modern ” pc standards ? GOD..this trend is getting old !:(

  16. Oh god…Joel, just stay out of it, man.

    I’m looking forward to the new Robocop – even as a person who loves the original – but Joel, don’t stoke the flames.

  17. This is a horrible remake. How did this even pass the studios approval. Do people make a remake of Star Wars? Prehaps Luke could do with a makeover, black spandex and an eye patch. They make prequels and sequels. If they had tagged it as Robocop 5000 it would be better excepted.