Why Neill Blomkamp’s RoboCop Revival Won’t Work

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Hey guys, I’m Nik, first time writer here for The All Around and what a way to kick things off. It was reported today by Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. that MGM would be reviving the RoboCop franchise with Neill Blomkamp at the helm. Blomkamp is known for directing the Academy Award winning film, District 9 and the not-so award-winning Chappie. The film, which is titled RoboCop Returns, will be a long-anticipated sequel to the 1987 sci-fi thriller directed by Paul Verhoeven.

So let’s talk a little bit about why this freshly announced movie won’t work with Blomkamp leading the charge.

But first I want to let y’all in on my infatuation with the first film. RoboCop was the very first Rated R movie I ever saw, which I’m sure everyone remembers their first. I was instantly hooked on the practicality of a robotic law enforcement officer that, in a sense, could not die. The RoboCop suit, or body(?), was always cemented in my head as the quintessential cyborg hero. The effects in this film made the then 9-year-old me feel like I was watching somewhat of a cartoon, but made for adults. I would walk around the house, fighting with my brother quoting Alex Murphy in the most juvenile robotic voice imaginable, “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

Ok, back to the meat and beans. I can say that I’m a fan of Blomkamp and his work, for the most part. I loved District 9 for everything that it is. The creature design of the Prawns and the human characteristics and personalities added to them made that movie so awesome. Blomkamp’s involvement with Oats Studios, in short-films like Rakka and Firebase is also incredibly imaginative and full of insane ideas that wouldn’t necessarily work on the big screen, even though I’d like them to.

Which brings me to the reason a Blomkamp led RoboCop sequel will not work. Neill Blomkamp is incredibly imaginative and creative in the way he creates his stories and adds beautiful visuals to them, but fails to bring any actual zest to his recent feature films (Elysium and Chappie) that have general audience interest or rewatchability as the current big blockbusters do like those from Marvel, Warner Bros. and Lucasfilm. Blomkamp was attached to direct the fifth film in the Alien franchise until it was inevitably cancelled due to apparent lack of interest and budget. That begs the question that if that can happen to a franchise as popular and generally accepted as Alien, who’s to say it can’t happen to RoboCop, a franchise without a film since 1987, and no that shit bird from 2014 with Joel Kinnaman doesn’t count AT ALL. I mean you would hate to see that happen to a director with such ambition and creativity, but I’d rather see that than yet another failed attempt at trying to resuscitate an already dead franchise with no clamoring interest for it either.

But hey, that’s just my two cents. Who knows, maybe Blomkamp will deliver and bring us a revival in the same realm as Jurassic World and Blade Runner 2049 and we’ll get a RoboCop Extended Universe with tie-in TV shows and six more sequels. In my eyes, that seems ~very~ doubtful but we shall see… In time…

 

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Trey Mitchell

The creator of The All Around. I'm a student at the University of Tampa. Originally from Denver, Colorado. I've written for Star Wars News Net and Dig in Denver.

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