* out of ****
When a studio decides to tackle a remake they must assemble a focus group to make a list of elements from the original film that need to be excised in the remake so the new movie won't end up with dated elements in the following years. That's not possible to do, but in the process it appears they strip the new movie of any personality. That is what I feel happened to the remake of RoboCop. It's an unnecessary rehash.
In future Detroit, detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman, untouched by charisma) is critically injured by a car bomb. The multinational conglomerate OmniCorp takes this opportunity to create a part-man, part-robot lawman.
One big misstep in this version is that Murphy still knows who he is after he is transformed into RoboCop, so there is no drama of him rediscovering his former self. Another flaw is that the action scenes themselves are generic and forgettable, so this doesn't even work as a pure action piece. And there are no colorful villains here.
As for the performances, Gary Oldman comes off best as the scientist who creates RoboCop, but everyone else is phoning it in, including Michael Keaton as the corporate bad guy and Samuel L. Jackson in a pointless role as a Bill O'Reilly-type TV commentator.
The tone of the new RoboCop is very serious, and missing here is the humor, outlandish violence and the social, political and corporate satire that made the original so much fun.