There have been a lot of questions about how, exactly, Brazilian director Jose Padilha will modernize the story of Robocop for his upcoming remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 film. With the current international socio-political climate, and major advancements in technology (and our relationship with technology) there is seemingly much juicy material that can be mined for an interesting and relevant new take on the story.
Well, the Robocop (2013) script by relative newcomer Joshua Zetumer and Gran Torino screenwriter Nick Schenk has apparently leaked out, and some of the details about this new take on Alex Murphy/Robocop are sure to make fans of the classic version take up arms in protest. Read on to find out more, but be warned - MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW!!!
Drew McWeeny from Hit Fix was the man to get his hands on the script, and took to Twitter to let the universe know how he felt about it. The folks over at Bleeding Cool did us the favor of compiling McWeeny's tweets into a more serviceable transcript, which you can read below:
I’ll share this one detail. In the film, when Murphy is turned into Robocop 1.0, it’s described “a high-tech version of the ’80s suit.”
Then they show a focus group scene where criminals laugh at the design. “He looks like a toy from the ’80s!”
So they redesign him to look “meaner” as Robocop 2.0, who passes focus group approval.
So they not only make sure to include the original design, they also point out it’s dated and stupid. *facepalm*
Hold onto your sides for more hilarious “Robocop” details. They outsource his construction to China. #seriously
And we meet the ED-209s in the field in Iran, where they’re used to subdue suicide bombers. #ineedallthedrinksnow
Ahhh… now they just dropped Robocop 3.0 onto an Al Queda training camp to see what he does.
“He should be programmed to incapacitate in all scenarios.” “Agreed. Let’s keep him PG-13, Dr. Norton.” No. No. No. No.
By page 54, they are already onto Robocop 4.0, who looks like a “cop on steroids painted metallic blue.”
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Oh, god… oh dear god… Robocop is a Transformer. He goes from “social mode” to “combat mode” and back. Full transformation..
Okay… the two “best” lines in the script. First up is at the unveiling ceremony for Robocop in Detroit, from a TV reporter covering it.
“I think it’s safe to say that Alex Murphy is now part man, part machine, ALL COP!” Yes, I too remember the original poster, asshat.
If you can get past Robocop The Transformer, there are some interesting action beats. And I’m sure Padilla will direct the hell out of it.
But overall? Ouch. Ouch. Ohpleasedon’t. Ouch. And a big side order of ouch.
So far, I'm not freaking out about the actual plot details as much as I am the writing style of the script. Joshua Zetumer and Nick Schenk have very few actual feature-length screen credits between them, and nothing on the scale of this Robocop remake. Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner turned the script for Verhoeven's original film into a satirical jab at everything from American consumer/corporate culture to violence in media, while still creating an intriguing and memorable central character, who they then spun-off into numerous sequels and other media forms (TV, comics).
The writers of this new version seem more content to... "borrow" ideas from other tech-centered blockbuster franchises, with the most of shades of influence coming from the Iron Man and Transformers films. Aside from that "implementation" of familiar ideas, the writers of the new Robocop seem equally content with dropping heavy-handed references to real-world situations and figures, rather than using the sort of hyperbolic and/or metaphorical inferences that made the original at once so clever and, arguably, still relevant to our days and times.
Of course, we don't know much about the action in the film, which is an area that helped Padilla's Elite Squad become the all-time highest-grossing film at the Brazilian box office. Between that, and a cast that includes Joel Kinnaman, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Laurie, Michael Kenneth Williams, Gary Oldman and Jackie Earle Haley, there is a ray of hope that this remake will be more enjoyable than the Total Recall remake (read our review), which also attempted to translate a clever Verhoeven film into a modern day blockbuster, but only managed to create a hollow action flick, instead.
Robocop will be in theaters on August 9, 2013.
Early Robocop Concept Art Header Image via Film O Philia (NOT actual armor design in film)