Fans of '80's movies such as “Footloose” and “Fright Night” would often prefer that their favorites remain untouched by the Hollywood remake machine.
But stars of the new “RoboCop” say that a variety of elements make José Padilha's take on the classic action blockbuster a welcome addition.
The film, which takes place in 2028, follows Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), a Detroit police officer who after being critically injured in the line of duty is rebuilt as part man and part machine by an ominous tech company; he is then set loose on the streets of Detroit to fight crime.
Backed by original studio MGM and set for release Feb. 12, the new movie follows a similar plot arc to Paul Verhoeven's 1987 hit as it explores questions of vigilantism and the ethics of artificial intelligence.
At the Hollywood premiere Monday night, stars said they saw the movie as adding and deepening the original franchise, which lasted for three films.
“I thought of all the remakes they could do, this made the most sense to me,” said Gary Oldman, who plays the doctor in charge of rebuilding Murphy. The 1987 film “was a dark vision of the future but I feel that sort of technologically we have somewhat caught up.”
Oldman said with society's growing use of drones, the remake struck him as more “science fact rather than science fiction.”
Padilha, a Brazilian director known for the Portuguese-language "Elite Squad" action franchise, echoed that sentiment.
“The use of drones is already controversial; it’s already replacing soldiers with robots," he said. "I think Verhoeven saw something way back then that is just around the corner.”
Abbie Cornish, who plays Alex Murphy's wife Clara, noted that the film has a darker tone than the original, which of course came from the Dutch action-camp director Verhoeven.
"It’s a bit more serious but that’s the world we live in,” she said. "I love the investigation into the mind, the corporate media."
Cornish also said she loves the film's "family element," adding, "I feel like it gives it depth that the original didn’t have."
Kinnaman, known for his role on TV's “The Killing,” said he was drawn to the film because he is a fan of Padilha, who always has “very strong social and political” views in his films.
“When a guy like that takes on a concept like ‘RoboCop’ you know he’s going to have a grand idea,” Kinnaman said. “And he did.”
[For the record, 3:52 p.m. Feb. 11: An earlier version of this post said the release date of the film is Feb. 28. In fact, it is Feb. 12.]