1. RoboCop Begins: By putting an up-and-coming star into the main role, surrounding him with an all-star cast of acclaimed character actors and shooting for an expected PG-13 rating, Padilha apparently hopes to replicate the massive critical and commercial success Nolan earned with his Dark Knight trilogy. While that may win the franchise a wider, more family-friendly audience, a watered-down, less bloody RoboCop runs the risk of alienating the diehards that found the Rated-R original such a guilty pleasure and made it a box office hit. Already, Netizens are slamming the reboot as an uninspired Hollywood retread and it will be up to the Brazilian filmmaker best known for the foreign documentary Bus 174 to prove them wrong.
2. Murphy Lives! In the first film, Peter Weller starred as Detroit police officer Alex Murphy, who in the year 2028 is pronounced dead after being brutally attacked by crime boss Clarence Boddicker and his thugs, only to be resurrected as the robot crime fighter. In this one, Murphy is portrayed by The Killing's Joel Kinnaman, but this time, his character survives a car bombing. Murphy's fate is also a subtle allusion to the current plight of many American servicemen injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
3. It's Got Batman! Furthering the Batman analogy, Padilha casts Michael Keaton in the role of villain Raymond Sellars, the CEO of OmniCorp., the all-powerful corporation that creates our cyborg hero. Of course, Sellars aims to use Murphy to his own nefarious ends by turning him into a weapon he can deploy at his disposal. Fanboys have decried the filmmaker's decision to lose the old school silver metal armor suit in favor of all-black "tactical" look. And who better to give RoboCop that big-screen makeover than the guy who played the original Dark Knight in TimBurton's 1989 Batman?
4. Did We Mention Gary Oldman?! The erstwhile Commissioner Gordon plays the pivotal role of Dr. Dennett Norton, the scientist who puts humpty dumpty Murphy back together again after the latter sustains "4th degree burns over 80 percent of his body," as he notes. Once again, Oldman is seemingly playing a good guy, who we imagine will likely serve as a father figure/mentor for our protagonist's journey (which the 1987 version didn't have). Morgan Freeman, alas, isn't in it, but joining Oldman is Samuel L. Jackson as a media mogul and the ever-creepy Jackie Earle Haley playing Maddox, a military man who trains RoboCop. And based on this teaser, we've a gut feeling the latter's character is going to be doing Sellars' dirty work the way KurtwoodSmith's Clarence did the same for RonnyCox's OCP President Dick Jones in the original.
5. So Long Anne Lewis: The new RoboCop also gets rid of Murphy's female partner, Officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) in favor of a male one in the form of Michael K. Williams. Presumably that's because the film delves into the family drama more with the addition of Abbie Cornish as his wife, Clara, and John Paul Ruttan as his son, David.
Despite these differences, if the 2014 RoboCop has one thing going for it in the vein of its predecessor: there's plenty of action to be had as the robot cop battles a slew of fellow Iron Men in crime-ridden Detroit (which, by the way, just filed for bankruptcy in real life). No word however if the clunky ED-209 will be back (could the below pic be it?).
Whether moviegoers buy the reboot for a dollar—or pony up full price admission for that matter—we'll have to wait and see when RoboCop hits theaters on Feb. 7, 2014