A New York Winter’s Tale is both a brave film, and an overstated one. It’s brave for its openness to the fantastic and the fearless inclusion of well-worn romantic clichés. Overstated however, because while the film celebrates its modern day fairy-tale twist with gusto, it never lets it alone to flow effortlessly through the story. Instead, the magical element is thrust into the face of the audience time and time again in repeated motifs. Ironically this makes the film exactly what the narrator says it is not; unbelievable.
The central concept is the eternal battle between the light and the dark, the good and evil inside the individual. Based on the novel by Mark Helprin, A New York Winter’s Tale is the story of a thief on a date with destiny. He is to fall in love, quarrel with an agent of the devil, and defy death for a century. From 1916 to present day, Peter Lake is on a quest to bestow upon a red-haired girl the one miracle he has to give; he can save a life.
A horse with a surprise trick up its hoof is a nice charm. Russell Crowe as a demon servant of Lucifer (another surprise, a casting choice which got a few chuckles from the audience) is phenomenally twisted with a lust for vengeance. The two leads Colin Farrell and Jessica Brown Findlay are perfectly portrayed as doomed lovers Peter and Beverly, whose on-screen chemistry is adorable, if a bit heavy-handed script-wise.
Watching is a pleasant experience. The first half of the film has light humour, threat, true love, and a lot of nudges by destiny. The second half though lacks a lot to be desired. Perhaps that’s just a product of travelling through time into the technological modern day (though maybe that’s optimistically over-reading). Events begin to feel rushed and poorly thought out, with the plot twist actually detracting from the story. Thrown in and resolved so abruptly, the audience is left a little bewildered. Disappointed too, because it makes the first half of the film seem redundant, which was truthfully the more enjoyable.
The story starts off with an intense burst of energy, which has sadly fizzled out by the end. It’s an uneven directorial debut from Akiva Goldsman. It’d be polite to say that the story was more than most could handle on a transition to the big screen – Martin Scorsese deemed it ‘unfilmable’. In reality though, Goldsman went into it with his own heavy-handed screenplay, a script that attempts to knock into you the idea that that THERE IS DESTINY and we will all become stars, a few too many awkward times. No-one, however, can have left that cinema disheartened. If life’s a bit grim at the moment, A New York Winter’s Tale will definitely put the shine back onto things. Just don’t expect miracles.
When you approach a new series of the British TV classic Top Gear you perfectly know what to expect: improbable challenges on any type of vehicle with four or more wheels and a steer, funny interviews with celebrities interested in cars, a unique and sarcastic review of the week’s novelties in the automotive world and a report on an impossibly beautiful and expensive car. If this formula worked so well in the past 20 seasons, why change it now?
And indeed, the producers of Top Gear went for the safe successful recipe. The first three episodes of the new season involve a fight between used hatchbacks from the ‘80s, the catwalk of two recently launched sport cars in the wonderful sceneries of Lake Como and Bruges, and a prophetic trip to now at war Ukraine to test three compact “shopping” cars. To increase the variety of the program and the potential target audience, the car-maniac moments are interspersed with exhilarating interviews with Hugh Bonneville from TV series Downtown Abbey, Tom Hiddleston from Hollywood blockbuster Thor and James Blunt. Even the enigmatic figure of the Stig, the super driver with an un-known identity, is still present in the show, together with that of his younger cousin.
Therefore, if you are a fan of automobiles, the episodes are a perfect mix of descriptions of key technical details on the vehicles tested or challenged, demonstrations of the vehicles’ behaviours on different types of surfaces, updates of what is going on in the industry and opportunities to approach, at least on the screen, cars and vehicles (like military tanks) that are really hard to experience in real life. Even if automobiles are not really your thing, though, it might be worth watching the celebrities interviews, especially the surprisingly hilarious one with Tom Hiddleston, or have a laugh in Mr Bean-style with the most ridiculous challenges invented for the trio of conductors such as the race among a supermarket’s shelves (no need to tell how it ended up for the supermarket) or the fake police chase with any sort of vehicles including a military tank equipped with a firing cannon in an abandoned camp in Wales.
To sum up, the show is clearly still functioning very well in terms of comic times, mixing between technicalities on vehicles and comedy, as well as wonderful landscapes and unexpected sceneries such as military bases and submarines stations. Nonetheless, if you have followed Top Gear for many years, it starts feeling too predictable with the same trio of conductors, interacting in exactly the same way and travelling the UK and the world with improbable means of transportations involved in crazy challenges. It therefore might be the time for the producers to use the consolidated success to try some new ideas and see if something even better than the current very well structured format comes up. Otherwise, as good as a show can be, it seems hard in a fast changing world that 21 more seasons might be able to follow with exactly the same formula of fans, passion and unforgettable moments on the weirdest 4-wheels you can imagine.
The Lego Movie initially looks like an enormous toy advert and although that is true, don’t let that put you off. It’s packed with great gags and a solid story line that culminates in one of the most excellent closing 15minutes to a film that I’ve seen in a long time.
The Lego Movie tells the story of an ordinary Lego construction worker, Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), who merrily goes about his life building according to instructions until one day he meets Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a tough tech-savvy “Master Builder”, searching for something on his construction site—The Piece of Resistance. After this, his life becomes extra-ordinary as he joins the Master Builders in their fight against Lord Business (Will Ferrell), the evil tyrant of Bricksburg, who is attempting to stamp out creativity.
The animation in The Lego Movie is incredible. I spent several moments during the movie trying to work out whether it was genuinely stop motion animation or just CGI designed to look like stop motion. It turns out that it’s a clever and seamless combination of the two. How much of it is one or the other, however, is near impossible to tell.
Much like some of the best loved “kids’” movies and TV shows like The Simpsons, Spongebob Squarepants and especially Aardman films, there’s a lot of jokes that will go straight over the heads of children in the audience but teenagers and adults will enjoy, especially those that grew up with Lego but not exclusively so. The comedy is fairly Aardman in style—silly humour, clever puns and always something going on in the background. You feel like you’re only getting about 50% of the jokes first time around.
The film plays to all audiences and cleverly addresses the different generations of Lego. Younger fans will enjoy seeing Batman, Gandalf, Dumbledore and the Star Wars gang while slightly older Lego fans will appreciate the more subtle jokes such as the design of Benny (aka 1980-something space guy); the bottom half of his helmet is cracked, a common injury that this figure sustained. For the most part though, the humour is universal so if you’ve never played with Lego in your life, you’ll enjoy the film as long as you get some of the basic ideas about it. 1. They’re blocks that click together to build things, 2. They have evolved from being just basic blocks to now encompassing Hollywood movie themes, and 3. There are two basic approaches to Lego: those that build according to instructions to make specific pre-designed models and those that just make whatever their imagination lets them.
The Lego Movie has an impressive cast. As well as the main cast of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman and Liam Neeson, the film has managed to get some famous stars to do very small parts in the film. Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams reprise their original Star Wars roles as C3PO and Lando Calrissian. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill voice Superman and Green Lantern (understandable given that the directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, also directed 21 Jump Street.) There are a host of other stars that have just one or two lines: Cobie Smulders, Shaquille O’Neal, Will Forte, Dave Franco and many more.
Fox Business TV claimed last week that the film is “anti-capitalism” and “pushing its anti-business message to our kids”. One can understand why, upon first inspection, they would assume this. The villain is called Lord/President Business, consumer culture is mocked when the inhabitants of Bricksburg drink coffee at $37 a cup, the anthem of the city is the Brave New World-esque “Everything is Awesome” (which you’ll be singing for weeks, by the way), and our protagonist, Emmet, is the archetypal proletariat hero.
Ayn Rand worshipers need not worry, however – there is also a legitimate interpretation that the film is anti-communism. Our heroes fight for creativity and freedom against uniformity, state control of media, government instruction and control of all industry. The reason both interpretations are possible is that the film is about neither. How could this film be anti-capitalist when it’s a giant advert for a toy that’s valued at $14.6 billion and produced by a major studio that, deservedly, took $67million dollars in its opening weekend?
George Clooney’s fifth feature film is a disappointingly executed rendering of one of those life-affirming true stories in which individuals go above and beyond to make the world better for others. Cinema seems to be good at ferretting these out lately, giving us reluctant heroes/support systems in Steve Coogan’s Martin Sixsmith (Philomena), and Matthew McConaughey’s Ron Woodroof (Dallas Buyers Club).
Clooney’s film assembles an entire platoon of heroes just as unlikely as Sixsmith and Woodroof in order to infiltrate 1940s war-torn Europe and recover centuries’ worth of priceless art stolen by the Nazis, intended for display in Hitler’s projected Führermuseum. Clooney’s is a performance of undeniable Clooneyishness – his infamous charm is misplaced and distracting – as his character Frank Stokes puts together a team of knowledgeable art historians and architects to fight for Europe’s cultural history.
Unfortunately, some of the talented and well-loved actors called upon to do their duty for Clooney and country are somewhat wasted and underused. The film feels overburdened with characters and as a result we come to know them only slowly, and some are killed before they’ve even made much of an impression.
Although museum curator James Granger (Matt Damon) is saddled with the same lame joke about his terrible French, his role in the mission becomes the most interesting to watch. While his teammates debate with US army officials who refuse to make preserving art and architecture anything like a priority, James must attempt to get valuable information out of Claire Simone (Cate Blanchett), a Parisien museum curator who has been keeping her beedy eye on masterminding Nazi art thief Stahl.
She’s no (Blue) Jasmine, but in playing Claire Blanchett creates many of the films great moments. For example, when ordered most discourteously to bring Stahl a champagne glass in the film’s opening she spits in it, providing the first clue to her crucial importance in making the monument men’s mission a success. But James must earn her trust first.
The Monuments Men has a frustratingly plodding and episodic pace, and is praiseworthy for individual set pieces rather than for the progression of the narrative as a whole. The first act attempts to show us the men as they bond, partnering them up and sending them to various points in Europe. But their respective missions are poorly explained. They don’t achieve anything early on, and the film doesn’t manage much character development either. Stakes are higher once the men have more information, and must race to recover art before the Nazis, now aware of the mission, destroy it.
The most significant drawback is Clooney’s attempt to wrangle a serious theme in a film which, oddly, is largely light-hearted. John Goodman’s character Walter is predominantly comedic, as is the at first strained partnership of the art-experts-turned-soldiers played by Bill Murray and Bob Balaban. Yet in voice over as Frank Clooney aims for profundity, and the inevitable deaths of war are ably treated with the appropriate emotional tone, but become sporadic interruptions to the atmosphere of fun and games which just won’t stay away.
The film’s sets are impeccably realised, and hoards of extras increase the material realism of Europe at war. Sadly, the failure to maintain the necessary tones results in presentation of motivations which is far less convincing than the visuals. Ultimately The Monuments Men doesn’t convey conviction in its own message of the importance of preserving art, though we do see flashes of this in Stokes’ speeches, and in the flash-forward which provides a cameo for George Clooney’s father, and is the perfect conclusion to an imperfect film.
There are few cinematic experiences from the last few years as harrowing as the first time you watch Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing. Decorated with the BAFTA for Best Documentary as recently as Sunday, the film is a marvel of surrealistic grotesquery, and its erudite director is extremely forthcoming with his views on it various meanings and subtleties. It was a great pity, then, that such a wonderful picture was hamstrung on Monday night by the Union’s screening, with a mis-aligned projector draining all colours but green from each frame, losing much of the ridiculous vibrancy of its images, and poor speaker quality hampering moments of great tension. Oppenheimer himself observed the “foetid” conditions, but this did not affect the enlightening Q&A session which followed, however, in which Oppenheimer, tired from his BAFTA win, pushed through to illuminate what he saw as the most important questions the film raised – from those of “impunity, and how it’s asserted”, and “false moral paradigms”, to the realities of the “documentarian as a character” in their own films.
Joshua (it’s hard to call the director anything else after viewing the film multiple times) clearly had no interest in fielding the few repeated criticisms the film has already faced, and quickly explained that his filming of the Indonesian “death squad veterans” was in no way manipulative or deceitful – that they knew the whole time that “they were filming scenes for The Act of Killing, not for their own film”. This clarified, he answered each question in great detail, almost always using the query as a springboard onto a bigger topic. Repeated attention was given to the role the US and UK played in the 1965 genocide – organised by an Army “conceived of and largely funded by the US”. His first mini-speech, though, was a thorough explanation of how the film actually came to be made, with “Anwar Congo [the film’s primary character] the 41st perpetrator I filmed”, many years into a long and gruelling process. Oppenheimer had gone to Indonesia repeatedly, to try to make a film about survivors of the massacres, but had been denied access, and so, with survivors’ advice, set out “to film the perpetrators”, as they “openly boasted about the grizzly details” of what they had done. Anwar’s “absurd, grotesque” dance of the Cha-Cha on the rooftop where he had personally killed hundreds of people was a signal to Josh that he should follow this man. That Anwar opened up in this way on “the first day I’d met him” is remarkable.
The issue of “false moral paradigms”, of “good versus evil”, was one Oppenheimer wanted to circumvent, in order to not peg inauthentic simplicity onto the stories told. One of the key struggles he faced was to render the “mass murderers” he was filming empathetic and sympathetic. This, he explained, required a removal of all survivors from the film, leaving only the perpetrators – a difficult decision, but one which did not change the fact that “my loyalty was always 100% with the survivors”. The film walks a “a tightrope between empathy and repulsion” (as any viewer will agree), and the men portrayed, in particular Anwar and Herman, are often very pitiable. However, they are ultimately “monsters”, said Joshua; but monsters of the sort “we depend on every day”. Oppenheimer has nothing to hide in terms of agendas – he is openly against globalisation because of its “human cost”, and did not shy away from accusing “the underbelly of Oxford University” from being as complicit as the rest of the developed world. A particularly apt criticism when made in the Union, to so many an embodiment of problematic ideology. When he said that “everything we buy from across the global south is haunted by the suffering of those who made it”, it carried a force similar to that which The Act of Killing itself bears.
Another lengthy topic was that of documentary as a form, and the responsibility borne by its directors. Oppenheimer was happy to label the old-school, “fly-on-the-wall style” a form of “simulation” which disguises itself, an “arbitrary”, and “inherently self-conscious” deception, in which audiences buy into the myth of the invisible cameraman. In The Act of Killing, Joshua talks regularly, and sometimes bitingly, and this is a hint at his self-conception, as “a catalyst”, an agent trying to “make visible the fictions through which” we see ourselves. And if he, within the film, is a catalyst for the characters portrayed, he is also visibly proud of the film itself, which he says has acted as its own sort of catalyst, to start “a transformation in how Indonesia discusses its past”, and begin to end a “fifty year silence on the Genocide”. The film has been made available to download free of charge from Indonesian IP addresses, and is on YouTube in full (without English subtitles), so is spreading in ways it might not have done had it been marketed with profit alone in mind.
As is human, this information about the film’s growth lead many to wonder what has happened to Anwar Congo since its release – but Josh was happy to placate; the ex-killer might have “lost his swagger”, and might be “lonely”, and indeed may “never be okay”, but “as okay as he can be, that’s how he is”. “The media have focussed on Anwar not as a scapegoat for the genocide, but as one of thousands like him”, which has been a blessing for which both Anwar himself and Joshua are thankful. One of the biggest surprises Oppenheimer dropped was a small, related fact – that Herman, the overweight, at many times foul companion, has rejected the paramilitary Pancasila Youth, and is “brave enough” to be screening The Act of Killing for free as often as he can, without minding repercussions come his way. This bravery is the sort which Joshua surely hopes his film will inspire in others – “my hope is that anyone who watches this film… will be forced to acknowledge the rotten heart of the regime in Indonesia”. With a BAFTA in hand and an Oscar hopefully to follow, his hopes may not be vain at all.
It’s easy to declare that Netflix is revolutionizing television with its original series House of Cards. For the first time, the Emmys and the Golden Globes have rewarded online programming with statuettes, and rightly so. Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are riveting as Claire and Frank Underwood, the D.C. power couple navigating their way to the presidency, and Beau Willimon’s script gives them some sharp one-liners and well-paced storylines. But with its second season released Friday, February 14, I’m beginning to see how conservative the Netflix formula is.
The series is emerging in the Golden Age of Cable Television, where some extraordinary characters are being created. I’m confident that in a hundred years’ time, Walter White and Tony Soprano will be remembered alongside Holden Caulfield and Captain Ahab, and earn their place among the greats of western literature. Like Dickens in the 19th century, the creators of Breaking Bad and The Sopranos have embraced serialization as a way to tell bigger, more complex stories than could fit in a 200-page novel or a two-hour movie. They’ll be the subject of doctoral dissertations.
House of Cards will no doubt make it into the footnotes, only because it capitalizes on successful trends. But it hasn’t shaped them. Netflix recognizes how the episodic format taps directly into the human brain. We’re able to concentrate more easily on plots structured in fifty-minute chunks than three-hour sagas. As a result, we can digest an entire series without so much as breaking to use the loo. With its swathes of user data, tracking where viewers skip ahead, pause, get bored and decide to watch Real Housewives of New Jersey: The Reunion, Netflix can adjust its formula to make its content truly addictive.
House of Cards is virtually guaranteed success. The biggest innovation Netflix brings is commercial, not artistic: all episodes are released at once, allowing the viewer to become immersed in Underwood’s world and the insomnia to begin. The only caveat is that subscribers need to wait a full year between Spacey-binges to resume their obsession. It took me an episode and a half to re-engage with the storyline, which perhaps reflects how forgettable it is once you step outside and breathe some fresh air.
Beau Willimon offers an appealing but very conventional back-room political drama. The only real complexity appears in the performances of Wright and Spacey, and we hear some of the best-crafted dialogue while they’re sharing a cigarette. Spacey triumphs as a languid southern politician. His drawl oozes out like molasses. He talks slowly. He moves slowly (except on his nightly runs). And he seems to have endless time for hobbies. Last season it was videogames; this season it’s toy soldiers. The President rightly asks how he manages to fit this in amidst all the different crises. And the audience is probably wondering the same thing. It’s as though he puts in an hour every day just for our benefit, then takes a long nap after lunch. Spacey still sparkles in his soliloquies, though I question whether they really enhance the character development or venture into self-parody.
Wright’s character is probably the less conventional of the pair. It would be easy to play her as the long-suffering trophy wife, or alternatively the secretly conniving femme fatale. But instead we find someone with enigmatic motives and an ambiguous past. With a single glance, Claire can be smoky, forlorn, and a little bit evil.
But the supporting cast contains some of the least charismatic actors I’ve ever seen graced with a job. Having watched both seasons religiously, I honestly can’t remember many of the secondary characters’ names, nor do I intend to look them up for the purposes of this article. The cast’s biggest problem seems to be handling dialogue. The rhythms come out awkward and unnatural. The pauses are just too long, and the actors seem like they’re talking past each other, gazing ahead and taking cues from some harried assistant director.
And while Underwood’s machinations remain interesting to watch, some of the plot turns are too implausible to add any excitement. Despite everything that isn’t great about House of Cards, it still manages to be bloody good! It won’t linger in your memory or haunt your dreams, but perhaps that isn’t why you subscribe to Netflix in the first place. Find twelve hours to set aside, raid the college vending machine beforehand, and enjoy!
Last Sunday saw the return of season four of ‘The Walking Dead’ after the spectacular mid-season finale in December. Since first airing in 2010 the show’s following has swollen from roughly 5 million in its first season to an incredible 16m for its season four premier, far outdoing the finale of even the critically-acclaimed and much lauded ‘Breaking Bad.’ Consistently inventive storylines, excellent character development, and of course simply the thrill provided by the scenario of a zombie apocalypse have ensured that word of mouth has spread, and the show’s fan base may well have yet greater heights to climb. Indeed after an arguably slower season three led some to express doubts about the show’s longevity, more recent installments have not only provided enthralling entertainment, but have now moved the show again into a very different direction, keeping viewers on their toes.
For those that have not yet caught up on ‘The Walking Dead’ or are considering watching it in the near(ish) future, there are spoilers ahead. The show’s gamble on the return of the ‘governor’ paid off in destructive style in the mid-season finale, with the desolation of the prison and the very public beheading of one of the show’s most important characters over the past couple of years, Hershel. As a result our group find themselves once more exposed to the full wrath of the ‘walkers’ without any safe haven. Not only this, but they find themselves separated into small groups, and in some cases alone. This shake up gives the show a great chance to explore new avenues, and reintroduce an element of more imminent danger and exposure that the show has arguably missed over the past year or so.
Of course, the series’ more avid fans will know that ‘The Walking Dead’ is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman. While the show has far from copied the plot of the comic books, and many characters are completely different or indeed original, it has certainly used it as the foundations for the overall theme of most story arcs. Thus it is somewhat possible to predict what might befall out heroes(?) next. Rick and his comrades will most likely in the near future find themselves perused by ‘the Hunters’, a small but no less terrifying group of survivors who have turned to cannibalism in order to sate their requirements. This will fill the gap for primary antagonists previously occupied by the now confirmed dead ‘Governor’. However while the Governor was clearly a very powerful and dangerous foe he was not the most subtle, confronting the prison with a tank in his final stand-off. The Hunters on the other hand will be far more elusive and mysterious, and particularly with our group now fragmented this could provide for some excellent tension.
As ever the future development of the characters remains an important part of the very character driven Walking Dead, and it might now be time for the much-maligned Carl to step forth. Despite many viewers finding him irritating and self-absorbed, no one can deny that his character has been through a lot, and Rick’s admission last Sunday that finally Carl ‘is a man now’ might signal the hour for a new hero to join Daryl in the ranks. The potential return of Carol is also an asset which the writers can now use to shake things up.
Whatever ultimately occurs, ‘The Walking Dead’ is now perfectly poised to deliver a tense and action packed end to season four. No one is safe.
Ken Russell called Paul Verhoeven’s original 1987 RoboCop “The greatest science fiction film since Metropolis.” The original is a cult phenomenon loved by fans so given the recent wave of disappointing remakes such as The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Wicker Man, Total Recall, etc. it is understandable that the idea of remaking RoboCop was not welcomed with open arms. After pap shots of a redesigned (and black!) Robocop leaked last year; fans rose to the Internet to express their vitriolic disapproval. We all expected this film to be another boring, sanitised, witless Hollywood action remake but surprisingly enough, this is a solid remake that both retains and builds upon what was good about the original.
In the not too distant future, the malevolent mega-corporation OmniCorp, headed by the unsympathetic Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), produces robot drones for the US government to ‘enforce’ peace in the Middle East. However, the use of these robots on “robophobic” American soil is still illegal. Alex Murphy (Joel Kinneman) is a Detroit cop who is critically injured in the line of duty and revived by OmniCorp in to a part-man, part-machine RoboCop to try and sell the idea of robotic law enforcement officers at home.
The original was not about a robot fighting crime; it was about corruption, greed and the gentrification of capitalism. The film came towards the end of the Reagan era and gleefully satirised his pet doctrines of free enterprise and privitisation. The remake has socio-political allegory in abundance as well but it has been updated for our zeitgeist. US jingoism and drones being used to carry out the rule of law, for instance.
Something clear from the trailer was a vast divergence from the original —Murphy is aware of what has happened to him. I was skeptical of this at first and assumed, like many other recent remakes, the new director just does not understand the original. However, because of this change and the way Murphy, his Frankenstein like creator Dr Dennet Norton (Gary Oldman) and the OmniCorp exec react to this new scenario, the remake better addresses some of the philosophical issues that the original seeded. What does it mean to be human? How much of Murphy’s brain function can be altered before we say he’s no longer Alex Murphy?
The original had some dark humour and some of that is retained by Samuel L Jackson’s character. Jackson plays Pat Novak, prominent supporter of robot crime control and host of the TV show The Novak Element, a Fox News style outlet for his extremely patriotic political commentary. The only thing that would make it more obvious who Pat Novak is supposed to be satirising is if we saw him in rehearsal screaming ‘We’ll do it live! Fuck it! We’ll do it live!’
The film is not faultless, however. One of the big early objections to the remake by fans was that the original was R-rated(18) and this version is PG-13(12A.) I’m inclined to agree that in order to have better retained the tone of the original, it should have been more violent — But more importantly than that, violent juxtaposed with humour. The film also lacks a villain as menacingly unhinged as Kurtwood Smith’s Clarence Boddicker. Instead we get Antoine Vallen (Patrick Garrow) who’s just a garden-variety, off-the-shelf movie villain. Joel Kinnaman as Alex Murphy also seems like a weak choice when contrasted with Peter Weller who, in Paul Verhoven’s words, could “convey pathos with just the lower half of his face”
There has been a tendency in modern action blockbusters to feel the need to patronise the audience by assuming the film can’t retain their attention longer than 15 minutes unless there is a big action scene. The action pieces in RoboCop are surprisingly few in number and the film has confidence in its own storyline and themes to not feel the need to do this. For fans of the original, the action that you want to see is there. Okay, so there’s no scene in which RoboCop shoots a rapist in the balls but he does have an epic fight with ED-209, though this time it’s not stairs that defeats him.