When it comes to his upcoming reboot of RoboCop, Brazilian director Jose Padilha said he’s not interested in repeating what Paul Verhoeven did in the 1987 original. Instead, he wants to focus on other issues, like the deep meaning behind robot existence.
In an interview with a Dutch website, Padilha was asked how his vision of the cybernetic super-cop will differ from Verhoeven’s, and he noted that—while he admires the Verhoeven film—he wants to tackle a different set of social issues, particularly, it seems, just what it means to be RoboCop:
“I love the sharpness and political tone of RoboCop, and I think that such a film is now urgently needed. But I will not repeat what Verhoeven has done so clearly and strongly. Instead I try to make a film that will address topics that Verhoeven untreated. If you are a man changes into a robot, how do you do that? What is the difference between humans and robots developed? What is free will? What does it mean to lose your free will? Those are the issues that I think.”
It’s a bit of a rough translation, but you get the idea. It seems like these are very basic questions to ask when making a movie about a robotic police officer, but Padilha is known for tackling social issues in his films. His latest, Elite Squad 2, which deals with government corruption, has even been selected to represent Brazil in the Best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards this year.
So now Padilha wants to bring that same social awareness to a RoboCop flick, and if Hollywood doesn’t like it, he seems perfectly happy to walk away.
“I try to make movies that I like, that I feel and I deal with social problems involved. I will continue to do where I work. If I can develop in Hollywood, then I make a movie with all the means Hollywood. If that fails, then that movie is not. It is that simple!”
So, do we want a socially aware RoboCop reboot? Can a film that focuses on issues also bring the action? Or do we just need to hope that this reboot falls flat?