Edited by Solomon on 1/28/2018, 6:31 am
The movie overall is average quality (6.2 on IMDb and 52 on Metacritic).
For me, there are several points of interest. First by a wide margin is the Samuel Jackson portions. The start of the movie is terrific. He plays a tv show host who is a strong proponent of introducing robots as police in America. To do this, he runs a segment showing how this works in Teheran (!), now pacified by the U.S. These terrifying robots inspect everyone before they enter a building and after they leave. We see some suicidal armed resistors, nonetheless, who challenge the machines. What a future! Not "1984" but very oppressive. This is what Jackson is pushing. Take the militarization of police today and you get the idea that perhaps inspired the screenwriters. Take lockdowns. Take the methods used to hunt down the Boston marathon bombers.
Michael Keaton heads the company that makes the machines and America is a $600 billion market. Gary Oldman is the doctor who will handle the reconstruction of Joel Kinnaman. Keaton's role and relation to Oldman are quite interesting. He's responsive to the market. He understands that Americans don't want these machines to have the programmed power to execute people. This rather departs from reality because even now our police already have this power to a large extent and Americans don't seem to care that much. Keaton envisages a man inside the machine who makes the life or death decisions. He sees that this will mollify the public and smooth repeal of the federal law (in 2028) that forbids robot police on the streets of Detroit and every other locality in America.
Oldman is the man who can do this, and he does. But now another interesting thing happens. There are glitches. They occur when the man-machine called RoboCop is overloaded with information. He becomes not exactly a Frankenstein monster but a creation with his own agenda. Oldman is pressured to lower the hormones he feeds Kinnaman, so as to make him more machine than man and make him presentable to the public. He looks humanoid in his face but he's bereft of empathy and his wife can see it. Oldman accedes to Keaton. The doctor's conscience fades away, at least for a time. He could lose his job. He could lose the work that is his life. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and that's Keaton. So, ethics fail at all levels inside this company. Its name is Omnicorp, suggesting an all-encompassing role and the word ominous. However, it's not omniscient.
Another point of interest is that Kinnaman's human part struggles to overcome Oldman's drugs and low hormone levels. And it begins to succeed. "He" overcomes the "machine" programming. The human brain starts to win! Have we seen this kind of idea in other sci-fi films, or its reverse where the monster part starts to take over the human part?