RoboWhat? RoboNot! The original fuzz-of-steel flick (1987) was a huge hit because it’s such a great idea and in those days special effects had the wow factor, unlike now when the genius of CGI and the inventiveness of the effects industry is taken for granted.
Policeman Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is blown to smithers by a car bomb.
Rather than let him die in pieces, a boff in a whitie, who looks not unlike George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, says, hang on a pretty minute, let’s spend billions of dollars and turn him into a mechanical Batman.
This is what they do. With artificial everything, Murphy becomes a tin thing who roars around Detroit on his Batmobike, blasting bad guys. So far so yah! The presence of B-list actors (Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L Jackson) adds nothing to a script that was DOA before it passed Go.
Fatal Flaw One involves Murphy’s missus (delectable Aussie Abbie Cornish) and their son, who are unnecessarily sentimental and manipulative. Also, they take up too much action time.
Fatal Flaw Two introduces politics and the power of the multinationals, not to mention TV and the media.
The concept that CEOs at the highest level are incorruptible and intellectually cutting edge is in the flying pigs department of corporate fantasy.
Fatal Flaw Three continues the discussion that blockbusters are enhanced by megabucks. Is film not an extension of the circus?
Fatal Flaw Four is answering that question in the affirmative.
Murphy is allowed to look at himself in a mirror without his artificial add-ons.
“Holy Christ!” he exclaims. “There’s nothing left!”
He’s right. And there’s nothing left to say.