Three 'RoboCop' nods to the '80s original

05:00 AM, Feb 09, 2014

Joel Kinnaman in 'Robocop.' Kerry Hayes, Columbia Pictures/


Written By by Brian Truitt, USA TODAY

When director Jose Padilha decided to update 1987’s RoboCop, he wanted to remain true to the concept, feel and politics of the original even though he was adding modern touches. Among the areas where he gives a specific nod to his film’s predecessor:

Classic lines. The catchphrase “I’d buy that for a dollar!” and RoboCop’s signature “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me” warning were hallmarks of the 1987 version, and they reappear in 2014. “Some of them were improvised by the actors,” Padilha says. “They dropped the line and it felt good.”

• Old armor. The gray robotic outfit first worn by Joel Kinnaman in the current film is a throwback to the one worn by Peter Weller. The movement is there, too, down to the way RoboCop has to turn his shoulders before changing direction. But the new RoboCop also gets an upgrade to a sleeker black number — “It’s the natural color for combat and special ops,” Padilha says — and a new two-wheeled ride. “Our RoboCop is hooked to all the cameras in the city, so he could see crime in real time. To be able to move and stop crime on the spot, we thought the right option would be a motorcycle.”

• Killer robots. The opening of the 1987 film shows the intimidating ED-209 machine murder a Detroit lawyer; in the new edition an updated version of the machine is in Tehran and blasts an Iranian child. “In the real world, when we have robots replacing soldiers, it’s going to be used in the Army before it’s used at home,” Padilha says. “And I thought we should show that.”