Robocop, directed by Paul Verhoeven, is one of those seminal touchstones of the action genre, its blend of unapologetic hard-boiled violence with an often under-appreciated vein of satire about society and its throwaway culture (prediction: a reality-show President – who knew?) arguably way ahead of its time. The original 1987 film has stood the test of time, despite a legacy that has included an array of varied-quality follows-ups (sequels, tv-series, animated show and modern revamp/re-imagining).
Earlier this year there was talk of creating a new film that would serve as a direct sequel to the original – ignoring everything that came later. Now it looks as if there’s progress with the announcement that Neil Blomkamp (of District 9, Elysium and Chappie fame) will be directing a new film based on the character. The proposed project, provisionally entitled Robocop Returns, will once again be set in Detroit and feature the concept of a fallen cop being ‘saved’ by replacing his injured limbs with robotic parts and erasing his memories to make him the perfect law-enforcer…. with, of course, the drama coming when his memories resurface. Justin Rhodes, who wrote the screenplay for the new Terminator film, will be tasked with creating a new script for the Robocop film. At this point it’s not entirely clear if the latest idea is being viewed as a complete sequel or another sleight of hand reboot with the values of the first intact. (The 2014 revamp tried to be a little of both and though it did well internationally, the reviews were middling at best). According to industry site Deadline, the original film’s writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner are apparently involved as producer / executive producer.
In the past, the central role of Alex Murphy / Robocop has been played by the likes of Peter Weller, Robert John Burke and most recently Joe Kinnaman in the 2014 version. There’s no word on who would feel the metal boots and armour this time around, but in the current climate, many are hoping the satirical aspects will once again match the action factors.