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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Robocop

By
Joseph McAleer
Source: Catholic News Service


Joel Kinnaman stars in Columbia Pictures' "Robocop."
Man and machine merge—for the fourth time—in "Robocop" (Columbia), the latest installment in the science-fiction franchise.

Not surprisingly, this remake serves up some of the mindless mayhem and gratuitous violence of the 1987 original, which has become a cult classic. But in this go-round, it's not all blood and guts. Director Jose Padilha ("Secrets of the Tribe") has also crafted a clever action thriller with timely messages about greed, corruption, and the dangers of playing God.

In the year 2028, the world is at peace, thanks to an army of robots which patrols hotspots overseas. Their manufacturer, the Detroit-based conglomerate OmniCorp, touts the advantage of their product: American lives are no longer sacrificed in wars for the cause of freedom.

The only place OmniCorp's bots are not welcome is at home; they're banned from policing by an act of Congress. Americans are "robo-phobic" (rightly so), suspicious of machines that cannot "feel" and that, therefore, are unlikely to value human life properly.

Score one for Congress. But, alas, corrupt politicians can be bought, and laws changed. Such is the goal of wicked OmniCorp CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton). He's convinced that a meld of human and robot would make at least partially mechanical cops more palatable to Americans, thereby enriching OmniCorp beyond its wildest dreams.

"Americans want a product with a conscience," he says.

Sellars persuades his reluctant lead scientist, Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), to find the solution -- and a human guinea pig. Enter Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman), loving family man and honest cop fighting crime and corruption on the mean streets of the Motor City.

When Alex runs afoul of the mob and is critically injured in a bomb attack, he is transported to Dr. Norton's lab. Alex's hysterical wife, Clara (Abbie Cornish), thinking she will get her husband back in one piece, consents to his transformation. The result: Alex becomes Iron Man—make that Robocop—and a new crime-fighting mechanism is born.

"Robocop" barrels down a predictable road as Alex's handlers discover that their creation has a mind of his own—and an agenda not necessarily to their liking. Alex struggles with his new identity and longs to return to the family fold.

But first, old scores must be settled and justice served, all under the watchful eye of smarmy tabloid-news program host Pat Novak (Samuel L. Jackson).

"This is the future of American justice!" Novak intones, as another baddie bites the dust.

The film contains intense action violence, including gunplay, and some profane and rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Philip and James: 
		<b>James, Son of Alphaeus:</b> We know nothing of this man except his name, and of course the fact that Jesus chose him to be one of the 12 pillars of the New Israel, his Church. He is not the James of Acts, son of Clopas, “brother” of Jesus and later bishop of Jerusalem and the traditional author of the Letter of James. James, son of Alphaeus, is also known as James the Lesser to avoid confusing him with James the son of Zebedee, also an apostle and known as James the Greater. 
<p><b>Philip:</b> Philip came from the same town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida in Galilee. Jesus called him directly, whereupon he sought out Nathanael and told him of the “one about whom Moses wrote” (John 1:45). </p><p>Like the other apostles, Philip took a long time coming to realize who Jesus was. On one occasion, when Jesus saw the great multitude following him and wanted to give them food, he asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. St. John comments, “[Jesus] said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do” (John 6:6). Philip answered, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little [bit]” (John 6:7). </p><p>John’s story is not a put-down of Philip. It was simply necessary for these men who were to be the foundation stones of the Church to see the clear distinction between humanity’s total helplessness apart from God and the human ability to be a bearer of divine power by God’s gift. </p><p>On another occasion, we can almost hear the exasperation in Jesus’ voice. After Thomas had complained that they did not know where Jesus was going, Jesus said, “I am the way...If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6a, 7). Then Philip said, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8). Enough! Jesus answered, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9a). </p><p>Possibly because Philip bore a Greek name or because he was thought to be close to Jesus, some Gentile proselytes came to him and asked him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip went to Andrew, and Andrew went to Jesus. Jesus’ reply in John’s Gospel is indirect; Jesus says that now his “hour” has come, that in a short time he will give his life for Jew and Gentile alike.</p> American Catholic Blog Only in human weakness do many of us begin to rely on God and explicitly repudiate our own divine ambitions. Every pain alerts us to the fact that we are not the Almighty.

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