At Comic-Con: Humans Are Corruptible but Machines Are Not in 'RoboCop'

At Comic-Con: Humans Are Corruptible but Machines Are Not in 'RoboCop'

Jul 20, 2013


After a supposedly tumultuous production process and getting bumped from its summer 2013 release and pushed to February 7, 2014, RoboCop finally rolled into Hall H and, despite those rocky times, everything sounds and looks relatively promising.

The Highlights

-- Director José Padilha explained, “We didn’t try to redo the same RoboCop because it was perfect the way it was. We just took the concept of RoboCop… and we brought it to the present.” He also pointed out, “We’ll soon be seeing robots being used in war as you’ve seen in the footage. This is gonna become a big issue.” He added that he thinks the introduction of robots to the warfront will go down as we see it in his film – first we’ll use the machines abroad for foreign policies and interventions, and then we’ll bring them home.

-- Michael Keaton described Raymond Sellars as “a complex dude.” He further explained, “He sees a bigger picture and he simplifies everything. He’s the ultimate pragmatist.” If Sellars asks someone if what he’s doing could make the world a better place and that person says yes, then Sellars insists that that’s what they need to do, regardless of the finer details. Keaton also highlighted that Sellars isn’t really a villain, but rather an antagonist.

-- Samuel L. Jackson calls Pat Novak “Rush Sharpton” because he sees him as a combination of Al Sharpton and Rush Limbaugh. He’s got an opinion, he isn’t afraid to state it, and he’ll use any means necessary to get people to agree with him.

-- Joel Kinnaman pointed out, “A big difference from the original to our version is that Alex doesn’t die. They manage to save his life and he is amputated from the throat down, pretty much.” He added, “Over the course of the movie, he has this internal battle with the artificial intelligence and his own soul, or his own humanity.” 

-- Kinnaman also addressed having a shield over his face for a portion of the film. “In all the scenes where there’s social interaction, the visor comes up.” However, when RoboCop gets “pissed” or there’s a crime nearby, that visor comes down and he’s ready to take care of business.

-- When asked if the purpose of the story is to show that technology should be feared, Padilha replied, “Technology is not a thing that exists of itself, right? Technology is always made and used by people… so at the end of the day, you should never fear a gun; you should fear the guy that’s holding the gun because that gun doesn’t shoot itself.” However, Padilha also recognized what some human beings have done with guns, so perhaps we should be apprehensive about technology in the future and that’s a concept that RoboCop will address.


The Footage

Before the talent even took the stage, the lights dimmed and we got a look at what appeared to be a teaser of sorts, but also something with a viral quality. The piece opened with a message from Pat Novak, announcing that he’s got the key to making America safe without risking the life of a single law enforcement officer. Through clips of a reporter in Tehran, we see a variety of robots taking care of business and keeping the streets safe. Trouble is, even though this new technology appears to be working wonders aboard, back in the States Michael Keaton’s OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars is having a tough time getting them approved.

Sellars insists that his machines could save countless American lives, but, in a trial-like setting, the person presiding over the meeting points out that the machines don’t know what it feels like to be human. When he asks Sellars what his machines feel after taking a life, Sellars has no choice but to admit that they feeling nothing. Sure enough, shortly after we cut back to Tehran and the OmniCorp robots are decimating the streets and killing civilians.

The second batch of footage came in the form of a trailer. It opens with Keaton’s character determined to create a product with a conscience. From there we move into the Murphy home. While enjoying a seemingly normal night in, Alex’s car alarm goes off. He goes outside to check it out and once he’s close enough – BOOM! The car explodes and appears to destroy Alex in the process.

However, then we find a charred and mangled Alex undergoing surgery at the hands of Gary Oldman’s Dr. Dennett Norton. In addition to shots of Alex’s fourth-degree burns, there are a couple angles on his exposed brain as Dr. Norton and his team is hard at work. Abbie Cornish’s Ellen Murphy is told that there’s a chance that they could save Alex, and she asks, “What kind of life would he have?”

Cut to a warehouse of sorts where Keaton’s character decides on a black design. Then in walks Kinnaman’s RoboCop with a sleek, jet-black look with radiant red eyes. From there it’s a quick cut montage of battle footage with a number of shots consisting of black-and-white material, seemingly from RoboCop’s perspective, as well a heat signature-based viewpoint. At one point, Jackson’s character announces that humans are corruptible, but machines are not.

Towards the tail end of the piece we get a sense of how the original Alex might start to shine through the technology when Ellen demands that a piece of him is still in there and a doctor points out that he’s showing signs of overriding the system’s priorities.


RoboCop opens nationwide on February 7, 2014.

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