RoboCop director Jose Padilha insists that his upcoming remake of the 1987 film won’t be yet another superhero movie.
Padilha said his version of will keep the socio-political themes of Paul Verhoeven’s original film, which takes place in a crime-ridden Detroit in the near future. The original film focuses on police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) who is brutally murdered and later revived by Omni Consumer Products as a cyborg law enforcer named RoboCop. The film dealt with issues such as gentrification, corruption, and capitalism.
Padilha’s version is set in 2028, and stars Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy. Instead of being murdered, Murphy is critically injured in the line of duty. OmniCorp, which has already been using their technology for drones, wants to bring the technology home to Detroit, and uses it to save Murphy’s life.
“Instead of sending soldiers to Iraq, you send robots to Tehran. This is how we open the movie, with American robots in Tehran, because Iran has been invaded,” Padilha told the Los Angeles Times.
“The idea is, now soldiers don’t die in wars, so there’s no political pressure at home to end wars. Because the reason why the Vietnam War ended is because soldiers were dying,” he added. “When you take the soldiers away and you have robots, that opens a can of worms.”
Padilha added, “Ten years from now, this is going to be a reality. We’re going to have to argue about it, whether we want automatic law enforcement or not, robots can be in wars or not. This is going to be debated in the UN. So we basically decided to use the concept of RoboCop to talk about that.”
Padilha said that what makes RoboCop different from comic book movies is the fact that the main character “cannot relate to humans” the way he did before he became RoboCop.
“The thing that distinguishes RoboCop from most superhero movies is if you look at a movie like Spider-Man or Iron Man, every kid wants to be Spider-Man or aspires to be Iron Man,” Jose Padilha said.
“So you can make a movie – and those movies are great and fun – based on that,” he added. “You create an empathy between the audience and the character, and having great actors like they have in both movies, and great action scenes, that empathy carries the movie, and it makes it a fun movie.”
Padilha continued, “RoboCop, he cannot touch his wife and his son, he cannot relate to humans in the way he related before he became RoboCop, so there’s no aspiration to be RoboCop. This is not what the original movie was about.”
RoboCop is scheduled to be released February 7, 2014.