There’s a new Robocop movie coming out next year. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, I suggest you take a look. I honestly don’t know how I feel about this.
The knee jerk nerd reaction would be, “this thing based on this thing I like is not the thing I like. Therefor it must die.” And while I try not to go full Reddit when it comes to things like this, I have to say that I’m not looking forward to the remake.
The first Robocop might be a perfect movie for the time. It was the late 80’s. Cyberpunk was just digging its jagged, little teeth it. And it was the perfect time to make a satire about corporate business guys who were turning the police into killing machines for profit.
If you do watch the movie again, the first thing that’ll smack you in the face is how funny it is. It’s a movie about an evil corporation that can rule the world but none of its products – including Robocop – work the way they want. And it has some of the best deadpan delivery I’ve ever heard.
When I was a kid, I may have watched the first two Robocops about 100 times each. It was so fascinating to me that you could use technology to add features and abilities to a human. That we were right on the edge of doing this and I was watching what “could happen.” Not in hundreds of years, like in Star Trek, but in the next ten years. Or next year. I really liked science fiction when I was a younger but this was the first time that I understood what it was for: showing humans what they could become.
And you know… robot fights.
The image of a cyborg has stuck with me my entire life. As I grew up, I started writing my own science fiction and I can tell you this, there is always dark humor and cyborgs. My stuff has always leaned more urban and cyberpunk than the hopeful space opera of Star Trek. In fact, this most recent project I’m working on aside, I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote a story with a space ship in it or one that took place off earth.
I like tangible sci-fi about stuff that you can almost hold in your hands. “In twelve years, computers will be able to do this… In five years, we’ll put them in our bodies like this…” Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 80’s and the 90’s in Florida and watched man space flight’s slow death, but I just don’t think I’m going to see someone set foot on another planet in my lifetime, but I do think cybernetic implants are going to happen soon. Human beings are too scared of death to not try to meld with technology in an impotent effort to stay stuck on this mortal coil for a little longer.
These may be lofty ideas to read into an 80’s action movie, but they were blasted into my still-forming mind, and they did that because they were new and grew out the zeitgeist of the time.
The Robocop remake isn’t going to be that. It can’t. It’s a retread of the original which honestly makes no sense in Science Fiction. It a genre obsessed with looking to the future. Why the fuck would you repackage old ideas and stories. I got into Sci-fi because I wanted to see something new. Show me cyborgs in a different way. Don’t just use the same characters and take the violence out just so you can cash in on an IP that quite honestly most people don’t really remember.
Let the past be the past. We’re sci-fi fans God damn it. Show us the future.