Follow TV Tropes


Film / RoboCop (2014)

Go To
RoboCop for a new era.

RoboCop is the 2014 remake of the classic cyberpunk film RoboCop directed by José Padilha of The Elite Squad fame. Joel Kinnaman stars as Alex Murphy, a Detroit Police Officer who is mutilated by a car bomb and resurrected as an unstoppable cyborg police officer by OmniCorp. Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton play supporting roles.

Alex Murphy has Cowboy Cop tendencies that get him in trouble with Da Chief, because he acts on his hunches first. His justification in this case is that since he and his partner were investigating dirty cops, calling for backup would alert the guys they were after. Unfortunately, their attempt to nail the bad guys goes wrong and Murphy's partner Lewis ends up in the hospital.

The crime lord the dirty cops work for wants Murphy out of the picture as well, but with his hands clean, since cop killers get the enmity of the entire police force. The dirty cops do the dirty work for him, and tag his car with a bomb. It goes off, burning Murphy badly and damaging his eyes and ears from the concussion. Enter Omni Corp, who has been looking for a way to get their crime-stopping robots on the streets of an American city. The American people don't feel comfortable with a soulless robot who can't feel, so putting a human face on a robot seems to be the ticket.

Plans for a sequel were not pushed. Instead, Amazon Studios announced on April 2023 that a (another) reboot movie and TV series will be in production.

RoboCop provides examples of:

  • Accentuate the Negative: After Murphy's first test against the EM-208, all anyone wants to talk about (with the possible exception of Dr. Norton) is how his reaction time was slower than the robot — ignoring the fact that his decisions were better choices than the robot's. Indeed, given that an ED-209 gunning down a child was a problem, Murphy's behavior should have been exactly what they wanted.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: There's a fantastic and gut-wrenching scene about a third of the way in where Murphy sees what he's become and nearly has a mental breakdown in front of Dr. Norton as a result.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Sellars insists that they make RoboCop all black, which is funny considering that's what they did with Michael Keaton's Batman.
    • Mattox's Villainous Breakdown upon seeing RoboCop up and running after his vitals went offline. His growling "damn damn damn" sounds particularly familiar. Not to mention that his idea of "what's greater than a hero" is "Dead hero." Consider Rorschach's eventual fate.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The ED-209s are just as heavily armed, but far more intelligent than the original, are ridiculously precise in what they are shooting at, and do so efficiently. Their one "flaw" is that their programming is binary; an armed target (even a kid with a butcher knife) gets blasted to death with More Dakka, while an unarmed target (such as a police officer deliberately obstructing them) is left unharmed.
    • Thanks to modern CGI, this version of Robocop is a much flashier Lightning Bruiser, compared to the original's Golem-like Mighty Glacier.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • OCP, the corporation that created RoboCop in the original film trilogy, is now called OmniCorp in the reboot. The ending reveals that OCP is actually the parent company of OmniCorp, making the latter analogous to the Security Concepts division from the original.
    • Murphy's wife and son are now respectively called Clara and David, instead of Ellen and Jimmy.
    • The man in charge of the RoboCop project is Dennett Norton, instead of Bob Morton.
    • In addition to being changed into an African-American man, (Anne) Lewis's first name is changed to Jack.
    • Sgt. Reed got Gender Flip and renamed Karen Dean, though Dean being made into a Corrupt Cop might've also played a role.
    • Clarence Boddicker had become Antoine Vallon.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • Bob Morton in the original film is an amoral corporate douchebag who deliberately sends people like Alex Murphy to Detroit to get killed so he has the materials for his Robocop project. In this film, Bob Morton's analogous counterpart is Dennett Norton, who had a completely different personality. He started off as a caring Chief Scientist who made unethical decisions only when pressurized by OmniCorp, was never involved in Alex Murphy's attempted murder, and repented towards the end of the film.
    • Dick Jones from the original film is a Corrupt Corporate Executive and Big Bad who doesn't shy away from murder. Dick Jones' analogous counterpart is Raymond Sellars, while just about as amoral he is less overtly so compared to Dick Jones. This makes his character closer to the original film's Bob Morton than Dick Jones.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Sgt. Reed from the original film is a desk sergeant dedicated to his duty and was never seen as corrupt. In this film, Sgt. Reed's analogous counterpart is a gender-flipped Karen Dean who happens to be a Corrupt Cop involved in Alex Murphy's attempted murder.
  • Age Lift: Murphy's son looks about 10 or 11 in the original, but here he looks about 7 or 8.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted. The discussion is not strictly on the quality of the programming, but other factors between a programmed response and intelligent decisions. The ED-209 series has a similar "all-or-nothing" attitude to the ones in the original series, as they make no distinction between suicide bombers with assault rifles and a kid with a butcher knife (versus the original not recognizing when an individual has gone from armed to unarmed). This either/or factor is used later in the film, as Lewis manages to save Murphy and disarm the OmniCorp security knowing they will not attack enemies unless they are armed.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • According to supplementary materials, RoboCop's cyborg body is made from graphene as opposed to titanium laminated with Kevlar. It's also stated that the ED-209s and EM-208s are also made from graphene.
    • According to the toy-line, the silver body is called "RoboCop 1.0" and the black body is "RoboCop 3.0". The proposed version that could transform between a combat and safety mode is likely the missing 2.0. Doubles as a Mythology Gag as the RoboCop 2 from the first movies didn't last long either.
  • Artistic License Linguistics: The OmniCorp plant in China has signs in Traditional Chinese characters. The People's Republic of China mainly uses Simplified Chinese.
  • Artistic License Medicine: After his murder attempt it is stated that Murphy had 80% of his body covered in 4th degree burns. To those not familiar with the burn scales, 4th degree burns are burns that reach the muscles and bones. Having 80% of his body covered in 4th degree burns would mean there would be nothing but charred muscles and bones to recover and Murphy would have died on the spot long before the EMT could reach his body.
  • Ascended Extra: Murphy's family now plays a central part in the plot, whereas they were limited to mere flashbacks and cameos in the original.
  • Beta Outfit: Several designs are shown for the suit before the company settles on the sleek, black design.
  • BFG: It's outright stated that nothing smaller than a .50 cal Beowulf round will harm RoboCop.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Downplayed, but it's still there. There are CCTV cameras all over Detroit, and Murphy can wirelessly access the entire network at will. He also has the backlog for the cameras, allowing him to pin crimes on people months or years after the fact. He can trace cell phones whenever he wants. Finally, all of this is correlated in real time with the police database. When he's first linked up, Murphy racks up nearly 200 pending arrests on the spot. What keeps it from being a completely straight example is that only Murphy is capable of doing this. The police have neither the time nor manpower to correlate all this data, while Murphy has a computer linked to his brain that can.
  • Black Dude Dies First: We're led to believe that Lewis was killed in the first act, complete with Alex grieving over his motionless body, but he was only hospitalized, and he saves Alex's ass twice in the climax.
  • Bloodless Carnage: RoboCop himself, naturally, has no blood. It's zigzagged when he shoots Vallon because you can see blood has definitely pooled around Vallon's body yet he has no visible entry wounds despite Murphy unloading an entire magazine into him. Averted when Murphy guns down Sellars at the end. A spray of blood is visible on the ground behind him.
  • Body Horror:
    • By the time Murphy becomes RoboCop, the only parts of his original body that he still has are his right hand, lungs, heart and his head with his brain exposed. In the original film, these were the areas of the body where Murphy was shot up by Clarence Boddicker. Murphy is so horrified by the sight he asks never to see himself like this again. However we do see him resting comfortably this way at the end of the movie, showing that he's become more comfortable with his nature.
    • Murphy's car bomb injuries are pretty damn horrific. Fourth degree burns to over 80% of his body. Double amputations. Permanent blindness in one eye. Tinnitus. Lower spine was severed from upper spine, leading to a lifetime of paralysis. Loads of internal bleeding. Seeing his mutilated body on life support wasn't pleasant in the slightest.
  • Bottomless Magazines: During his attack on the OmniCorp HQ, Murphy uses both his pistol and M2 Battle Rifle to deliver an incredible amount of lead on the ED-209s. This is telling, considering that Mattox tells Murphy early on that his M2 Battle Rifle holds 30 .50 Beowulf rounds.
  • Broad Strokes: The premise is virtually identical, with comparable characters and similar themes, but the overall story is much different, allowing the movie to address different themes than the original did. In particular, Murphy was not clinically dead and emerges aware of himself as RoboCop with free will slowly peeled away by manipulating his programming and body chemistry, the inverse of what happens in the original. The story itself is basically a complete inversion of the original. The original is basically a resurrection story, with Murphy really being dead (subsumed by RoboCop) for the bulk of the film, only really becoming himself at the end, though there are some plot points about how his behavior is controlled by his programming. In the remake, Murphy is Murphy throughout the film, but the programming controlling his actions becomes more and more strict, forcing him to fight to reclaim his own free will.
  • Car Bomb: Murphy is caught by one.
  • The Cavalry: Lewis leads a SWAT team into OmniCorp to help Alex.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the intro, the overseas press crew is issued red bracelets which mark them as priority assets, to be defended at any cost. In the climax, it's revealed that this doubles as a Restraining Bolt, preventing Murphy from attacking anyone wearing one.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Murphy is only referred to as "RoboCop" a couple of times in the movie; once by Novak as a propaganda catchphrase, and once by Lewis as part of a joke ("Bad Cop, RoboCop"). The rest of the time he's referred to simply as Murphy, because in this version his identity is still Alex Murphy.
  • Composite Character:
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: Alex Murphy in the 1987 film goes from being a cold unemotional robocop to getting his personality back. Alex Murphy in the 2014 film starts from being a human being and gets colder as the film goes along.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The bomb in Alex's car doesn't seem to cause much damage to the house behind it.
  • Corrupt Cop: John Lake and Andre Daniels, the dirty cops responsible for Murphy's car bomb attack as part of the movie's plot at the start. Both men are working with crime boss Antoine Vallon, hiding evidence of his activities and procuring weapons from Detroit Police impound to sell to Vallon. Later it is revealed the Detroit Chief of Police Karen Dean is one as well.
  • Cowboy Cop: Alex Murphy isn't as blatant of an example like Dirty Harry, but his aggressive pursuit of corruption compels Vallon to attempt an assassination. Murphy's chief, Karen Dean is also unhappy with Murphy's methods, and this is actually because she's working along with John and Andre as connections to the underworld.
  • Crapsack World: The world is a little better than the original but is still bad. Certain fish are in danger of extinction due to overfishing by Sushi restaurants, Brazil has legalized all types of drugs, Greenpeace is now a terrorist group, and Tehran is now under occupation by a US droid army who are so effective in fighting that most citizens choose to accept it out of fear. Meanwhile, crime in Detroit has gotten so bad that the city set up video cameras everywhere and yet this still doesn't stop criminals from committing crimes in front of a camera. Also, gangs now have access to military hardware like assault rifles and grenades.
  • Create Your Own Hero: Antonie Vallon ordered a hit on Alex Murphy. With Clara's blessing, Omnicorp turned Murphy into RoboCop.
  • Create Your Own Villain: A two-way street here. The RoboCop project was nothing more than a publicity stunt done by Sellars to help OmniCorp win some political battles and get a domestic robotics drone contract. With Murphy going against their parameters, Sellars starts worrying he may be just as much a liability and once they get the popular vote he plans on having him quietly terminated, revealing his villainous core. Of course, he had created a super cop and Alex reacts to the termination order as an attempt to kill a cop.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Implied to have been the case with the US-Iranian war that occurred some time before the film, resulting in Iran being occupied by the heavily robotic forces of the US military. The vast majority of the population is cowed by the overwhelming firepower of the occupation forces, while what's left of the Iranian Army and Revolutionary Guards is reduced to fighting an ineffectual guerrilla insurgency against the highly advanced droids.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Discussed. Dr. Norton is introduced counseling a patient who is afraid his prosthetic arms would rob him of his ability to play music, assuring him that the music comes not from his arms, but from his mind. After Murphy is converted into a cyborg, he remains the same dedicated police officer and loving family man he was before. Unfortunately, what Sellars essentially wants out of Murphy is to be a machine through-and-through, and when his reaction times lag behind an ED-208 due to taking caution like any good officer would, he coaxes Norton into lowering his dopamine levels, repressing his humanity and turning him into a soulless machine. It isn't until he is confronted with how his newly robotic demeanor is affecting his wife and son that he begins the struggle to reclaim his humanity.
  • Deadly Dodging: Murphy defeats some ED-209s by making them shoot at each other.
  • Dirty Cop: Antoine Vallon is shown to have multiple cops in his pocket. John Lake and Andre Daniels provide him a tip on Murphy's movements and encourage him to sanction a hit on Murphy when Daniels reminds him they'll be silencing any efforts to investigate him. Chief Dean is also on his payroll.
  • Disastrous Demonstration: Inverted, though it looks like it'll be played straight at first. Minutes prior to his public unveiling, Murphy is given an upload of the entire police database and all CCTV footage for the past few years. Murphy suffers a Heroic BSoD when he sees the footage of his own near-death. Ordered to get him on his feet immediately, Dr. Norton tampers with Murphy's neurochemistry to almost completely repress his emotions. Basically running on autopilot, Murphy stomps past his family and ignores the Mayor's outstretched hand, scanning them and everyone else in the crowd for potential threats. Then he spots Thomas King — a man wanted for murder — and wastes no time jumping into the crowd and shooting the guy in the back, scaring the crowd half to death. Novak subsequently is shown spinning the story as an example of Murphy's new amazing robotic abilities and the incompetence of the human police, pointing out the uniform cops that are standing literally steps away from the wanted felon who fail to notice him.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Antoine Vallon, the crime lord responsible for Murphy's murder and resurrection as Robocop, is dispatched about 2/3rds of the way through the film. Sellars, who had absolutely no connection to Vallon or his schemes, ends up becoming the film's ultimate villain after trying to kill Murphy for completely unrelated and relatively petty reasons.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Iranian teenager who gets machine-gunned down by a massive ED-209 because he challenges it with a kitchen knife, which the giant military robot ridiculously considered a serious threat. That knife probably wouldn't even do so much as leave a dent behind in its armor.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The claim that robots are incorruptible is a recurring theme in the movie. No matter whether this could be "true", their makers are still corruptible and can tamper with these robots in their favor. The theme becomes a metaphor of the law and lawmakers who are also lawbreakers; machine glitches are as analogous to loopholes in the law.
    • The subtle satire of how OmniCorp's droid armies in foreign countries are hailed by the media, yet the American public objects being under robotic law enforcers via the Dreyfus Act, with Sen. Dreyfus using children as a main point of argument. By the film's conclusion, the public remained against droid enforcers except the sole humane cyborg as their own crimefighter, all the while other countries' insurgents and their children who are against soulless droids remain gunned down.
  • Dramatic Irony: Early on, Murphy and Lewis accuse a gun runner they're investigating of being a cop, when they themselves are cops. Though it appears to be just a ploy to scare the gun runner into revealing who he's working for.
  • Eagleland: The Novak Element basically has this for the show itself. The last shot of the movie has Novak adamantly declaring that America is the greatest country in the world, whilst a holographic American flag waves in the background.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Vallon's corrupt cops are suggesting to him that he kill Murphy to stop him from pursuing further investigation, Vallon is initially hesitant given the heat that he'll get if the police link him to the crime.
    Vallon: If I kill a cop, I'm gonna be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. Not good for business.
    Daniels: Who do you think's gonna be investigating you?
  • The Evils of Free Will: When paired off against an EM-208 in the simulator, Murphy turns out to be several seconds slower as his reflexes are affected by human decision-making processes. Under pressure from his boss to get results, Dr. Norton writes Murphy's software so that it takes over in combat situations, while signals are sent into Murphy's brain giving him the illusion of controlling events. Although Murphy's decisions are slower than the EM-208s, they're generally better decisions, including using cover and clearing corners instead of just charging in guns blazing and trying to talk down a hostage taker rather than immediately gun him down.
  • Evil Plan: OmniCorp stands to make a lot of money if they can sell their robots in America. They create RoboCop to sway public opinion so they can do this. The rest is keeping their creation under control.
  • Expy:
    • "The Novak Element" can be seen as one for Fox News or CNN with how Novak cuts off Senator Dreyfus in mid-sentence because they are pushing a pro-robotics spin. Similar methods have actually been used on Fox News programs, and some groups refuse to accept invitations because they don't believe they will receive fair air time.
    • OmniCorp Security is based on the Urban Rehabilitators from RoboCop 3, as both groups use grey camouflage.
  • Expanded Universe: The Boom! comics highlights how Sellars has tried to make RoboCops out of mortally wounded soldiers who fought overseas. They all resulted in failures.
  • Flyaway Shot: Near the end of the film, the camera "zooms out" of the rooftop of the final confrontation showing a wounded/damaged Alex (Robocop) Murphy and a dead Raymond Sellars after their final confrontation. The ascending shot seems to suggest that Alex may not have survived the battle, but Alex is fine and has been upgraded with new components to repair his damaged body, before the film ends.
  • For Science!: Averted with Norton. His first scene has him helping a double-amputee learn to play the guitar again. Throughout the process he is every bit as concerned about the human factor, vetoing a potential candidate based on his psych evaluation and only starts skirting a moral line with Murphy (rewriting his biochemistry) when normal emotional support wasn't enough. He also tells Sellers, point-blank, that he refuses to work on combat applications. Played with near the end. It seems as though Norton agrees to Sellers' plan to terminate Murphy because Sellers will give him a blank check for all his future research. Instead, Norton was telling Sellers what he wanted to hear, and immediately goes to revive Murphy and give him a fighting chance.
  • Funny Background Event: Most of the news that scrolls along the bottom explains the general state of the world in 2029. Apparently, many Americans are now illegally entering Mexico, and we've made first contact via SETI. Oddly enough, the aliens had deemed us dumb. There's also the bit where Greenpeace, now a terrorist organization, have been hacked by a Wikileaks hacker.
  • Gone Horribly Right: OmniCorp wants to make Alex Murphy into a hero, someone that people can "rally behind". Murphy becomes such a successful hero that he starts investigating their shady dealings.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Near the start, a bunch of suicide bombers choose to attack the OmniCorp robots in Tehran with the purpose of getting themselves killed on international television. After their attack is repelled, the son of one of them takes a knife and rushes down from his apartment to try to charge an ED-209. The camera cuts from the ED-209's Robo Cam POV shot of the boy to outside, where we only see it blasting away (and the view is very quick since Mattox covers the camera and the camera is quickly rotated back to Novak's reporter).
  • Gun Kata: During the warehouse training scene, a "not in control" Murphy takes on 54 robotic opponents in close quarter combat with firearms. While his movements are not as traditionally fluid, it is unmistakably his own brand of the style.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: The movie makes it seem as though a .50 caliber round is some sort of magical bullet that offers significantly more damage regardless of the medium, as it is specifically this caliber which can penetrate RoboCop's armor. In the big shootout, he gets into trouble when the bad guys pull out .50 AE Desert Eagles. Those actually deliver only slightly more kinetic energy than the standard 5.56 mm NATO rifle round, vs. a .50 BMG rifle round will punch with almost ten times as much energy. 7.62mm NATO rounds would likewise reach the threshold. In reality, if RoboCop can shrug off common rifle rounds, those Desert Eagles shouldn't do much to him.
  • Homage: Kinnaman's grey suit motif is very similar to Weller's 1987 suit down to every intricate detail.
  • Humans Are Morons: As noted under "Funny Background Event", aliens believe this and have asked SETI to stop trying to contact them. Given the actions of some people in this movie alone (not to mention even the whole franchise), no-one can really blame them.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After being OmniCorp's unofficial spokesman for the whole movie, Novak rants about media bias.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: When he realizes his condition, Murphy initially wants to die, and is in no condition to do it himself. Dr. Norton talks him out of it.
  • I Have a Family: When Murphy tries to interrogate Jerry for Vallon's whereabouts, Jerry begs for mercy, stating he has a wife and kids. Unfortunately for the thug, Murphy has access to all information on criminals and a quick search reveals that not only has Jerry's wife left him for domestic abuse, he also has no children.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Clara says it almost word-for-word to Alex while he's emotion-suppressed. This is what makes him start fighting the programming.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • The established-to-be image-conscious OmniCorp deciding to upload the police database into Murphy's head right before the unveiling press event. Murphy freaks out upon witnessing his own murder, forcing them to dial down his emotions to nothing (thus defeating the point) just so they can walk him out. Everything from then on is a result of this blunder, and it's only thanks to him identifying a murderer in the crowd (and the press spinning this into an argument in favor of robots in law enforcement) that they're able to avoid a potential PR disaster. Had they simply waited to perform the upload when they weren't on the clock, they could have eased Murphy through the process, rather than taking such drastic action.
    • Soon after the police database was uploaded to Murphy, it is discovered that a wanted fugitive, Thomas King, felt it wise to attend the unveiling of Robocop and chance being identified, even by regular cops and people who may have studied King's mug shot and remembered what he's wanted for. Murphy's software immediately detects King's bio-metrics as King's vicinity is scanned, and he's arrested and read his rights.
    • One of Vallon's men uses an unencrypted cell phone while at his boss's headquarters despite the fact they can be traced through such. Vallon even earlier insists a pair of Dirty Cops have their cell phones off when they visit. Naturally, Murphy finds Vallon through said phone.
    • John Lake and Andre Daniels get caught by Alex Murphy because one or both didn't wear gloves when smuggling dirty guns out of the evidence lockup, and incriminating finger prints were found on the guns Murphy recovered. They presumably felt untouchable due to their connections with the underworld and didn't anticipate having to deal with a robo-detective but letting finger prints end up on contraband was taking a chance even without Robocop on the force.
    • Sellars threatens Murphy's family for the ego trip. This gives Murphy the motivation to override his Restraining Bolt and kill Sellars.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Citing Murphy's success in drastically reducing the crime rate, Novak says that those who oppose the Dreyfus Act repeal must be "pro-crime".
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Murphy is smooching with his wife in their bedroom when the car alarm is set off to lure him outside, into the blast radius of the bomb planted in the wheel well.
  • It's Personal:
    • Rick Mattox tells Murphy that tasering him might be just a little personal on his part, as Murphy did the same earlier in the movie.
    • Once Murphy overcomes his programming, he gets right back to investigating who blew him up.
  • Karma Houdini: Dr. Norton seems to escape any legal repercussions for his own part in OmniCorp's actions, even though he testifies in front of Congress that it was his research that made it all possible. It's possible that he negotiated for immunity in exchange for his testimony, or that Senator Dreyfus pulled strings on his behalf in return for the support of the Dreyfus Act. In other words, a plea deal.
  • The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Less prominent than in the original 1987 film, but it's still there. Murphy is much more agile and it's shown he does make an effort to dodge incoming fire and utilize cover at least some of the time, but one of his favored tactics is still to walk out into the middle of the room and shoot everything while being shot at from multiple angles.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision: During his fight with the squad of ED-209s, Murphy ends up getting his left, completely robotic, arm trapped underneath one he's disabled. With others bearing down on him, he takes his gun and shreds the arm at the elbow to free himself.
  • Lighter and Softer: PG-13 compared to the very hard R rating of the original. Though the reveal of exactly how much of Alex Murphy is left makes you wonder how it squeaked by with a PG-13.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Murphy is faster and way more agile than the original 1987 version, being able to run at high speeds (doing about 30 mph), leap tall walls in a single bound, and even dodge gunfire and rockets. He's still a super-strong, heavily-armored robot, although perhaps slightly less nigh-invulnerable than the original version owing to his slimmer physique and more biological components. The original 1987 Mighty Glacier design is presented as a "combat mode" Beta Outfit concept design which is ultimately rejected by OmniCorp.
  • Logo Joke: Instead of Leo the Lion roaring in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer symbol, we hear Novak going through his vocal warm-up exercises before his talk show goes to air.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • The Dreyfus Act prevents armed robots being deployed in the US so OmniCorp uses the cyborg RoboCop since he's technically an armed human.
    • Inverted later when Murphy's combat software is programmed to make all his shoot/don't shoot decisions for him, yet give him the illusion of free will. The OmniCorp officials worry that this is illegal, but Sellars gets round this by declaring that Murphy is just a robot that thinks he's human.
  • Mecha-Mook: The ED-208 humanoid robots and the XT-908 flying attack drone. Also ED-209 model returns, but this time it's actually a credible threat.
  • Mega-Corp: Downplayed with OmniCorp, which is primarily a defense contractor with a branch into cybernetic limbs for amputees. They're actually part of the original movie's OCP.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Amusingly done as part of an In-Universe marketing strategy to make RoboCop look cooler. Early set photos showed the black version of the suit, which upset fans until it's revealed the classic silvery blue is still in the movie. At the end he goes back to the blue.
  • Mythology Gag: The entire movie has similar plot and characters to the 1987 original intermingled with elements from its two sequels.
    • RoboCop (1987)
      • The film even begins with a heavily-armed ED-209 opening fire on a knife-wielding child, mirroring Mr. Kinney's death in the boardroom at the start of the first film.
      • Murphy's only remaining biological components are the parts that, in the original movie, are where he gets shot by Clarence Boddicker's gang in a shotgun firing squad execution.
      • The fact that he still has a functional hand also recalls Bob Morton's decision to ditch the original Murphy's good arm even though it could have been saved, since he wanted him to be all robot save the brain.
      • Murphy tasting "peanut butter" in his mouth while Dr. Norton is working on his brain is a possible reference to the "baby food" organic paste which is the only food that Murphy's system can digest.
      • During Murphy's VR training, Rick Mattox inverts the "I'd buy that for a dollar!" catchphrase that Bixby Snyder used in the first film in a banal sitcom. Here, it's an off-handed remark about Murphy's response times being several seconds slower than the EM-208 robot's.
      • The film references the original 1987 RoboCop grey suit as its prototype design. A version dubbed "combat mode" is an exact copy of that design, before it's rejected in favor of the "more tactical" black refit. After the black suit redesign and the plot reached its climax, they revert Murphy back to the first design in true Book Ends form.
      • The term "Red Asset", identified by a electronic bracelet as VIPs, refers to the secret, classified Fourth Directive within RoboCop's programming which prevents him from harming OCP officers.
      • The RoboCop Catch Phrases "Thank you for your cooperation" and "Dead or alive, you're coming with me" are used in a more ironic context. He also threatens an arrested criminal with "You have two seconds to comply."
      • Murphy's assaults on John Biggs' drug laboratory and Vallon's warehouse are a reprise of the raid on Boddicker's cocaine factory. Likewise, his assault on the ED-209s at OmniCorp recalls his showdown with Dick Jones' ED-209 at OCP Headquarters.
      • Like before, Murphy's footsteps are loud. Joel Kinnaman went as far as to model his version of RoboCop movements off of Peter Weller, with a little bit more fluidity.
      • Murphy takes out an ED-209 by making it fall down from one floor to another, much like the original was defeated by falling down stairs.
      • Sellars mockingly offers his arms out for handcuffs, knowing that he is protected thanks to Murphy's Restraining Bolt, just as Dick Jones did in the first movie.
    • RoboCop 2
      • Twofold: Dr. Norton disassembling Murphy and showing him what remains of his body is a nod to 1) RoboCop being dismantled by Cain's Nuke Gang and 2) the scene where Cain's preserved brain, spine, and eyes watch Dr. Faxx's harvesting procedure.
      • Vallon's got snitches in the Detroit police force, just like Cain's Nuke team.
      • Hob destroys Murphy's gun hand. This time around, Murphy had to shoot his own (robot) arm to break free from an ED-209's wreckage.
      • Tom Pope suggests crippled cops with muscular builds for the RoboCop project. Dr. Norton objects because of the subjects' mental and emotional instability, making Dr. Norton the complete antithesis of Dr. Juliette Faxx.
      • RoboCop now rides his own motorcycle and his black armor glows bright blue under fluorescent lights.
      • Murphy is overwhelmed by the police crime database uploaded into his brain, similar to the hundreds of politically-correct directives given to him by OCP in the second film to satisfy the focus groups.
      • Once again, Lewis uses an armored troop transport to slow down and harm a larger robot, in this case, using a Oshkosh Sandcat to ram into an ED-209. In the original, Anne Lewis used an APC to pin RoboCain against the wall.
      • Pope's proposed design for RoboCop, being able to transform into a "Safety Mode" with police lights, is similar to the design of one of the failed RoboCop 2 prototypes that just commit suicide upon being released.
    • RoboCop 3
      • Murphy being able to handle various weapons rather than a single sidearm.
      • OmniCorp's robot army in other countries is very similar to the Rehab project that will pave the way for Delta City, prompting rebels to fight back much like the Iranians.
    • Nikko deleted Directive 4.
    • Leans into Unexpected Character with RoboCop's new bike, a pretty faithful recreation of the toy-only Robocycle released for RoboCop and the Ultra Police.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: In-Universe example.
    • When OmniCorp learns that Chief Karen Dean was working with crime boss Antoine Vallon thanks to Murphy, they at first fear a backlash from the public over the scandal. However, CEO Sellars uses the news to their advantage with Pat Novak's help by praising RoboCop stopping corruption in the police which they use as proof that robots are superior to corruptible human law enforcement.
    • Murphy's emotions have been so repressed he ignores his family and all the VIPs at his press conference because he's too busy scanning everyone for potential threats. Then he leaps into the crowd and tasers a man wanted for murder. The fact that a wanted killer was undetected in a crowd containing some of the city's top law enforcement officials is again used to showcase RoboCop's superior abilities.
    • Even the Iranian suicide bombers wait until they're on television before attacking. Likewise the attack is also given a positive spin on Novak's show, emphasizing the US troops who didn't die through the use of robots, as opposed to the Iranians who did, or whether the robot occupation is achieving anything.
  • Not Helping Your Case: The group that attacked the Robots at the beginning of the film. In the end all that happened was they got killed for their trouble and proved to the world that the robots did what they were designed to do: defeat terrorist without the lost of a human life.
  • Offhand Backhand: Daniels tries to shoot Murphy the moment he turns his head away, but Murphy does a Quick Draw and shoots Daniels without even looking at him. Justified as Murphy's target software would have already plotted Daniel's position.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Dr. Norton. Besides some lab assistants he seems to be the only person in charge of the science and tech to build RoboCop, which means he has to be a genius-level expert in fields like robotics, cybernetics, software engineering, brain surgery, neurology, biochemistry, psychology, etc.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: In contrast to the original, this version gives OmniCorp and the government some redeeming features, society is pretty much the same but with better technology, and the good aspects of robotics are emphasized rather than the bad.
  • Quick Draw: Murphy walks into the police station and confronts a fellow officer with evidence of him being a Dirty Cop. Despite the evidence playing on the computer screens for the entire department to see (or perhaps because of this) he decides to draw his weapon to kill RoboCop, who is sitting right in front of him with his armored visor up, suffering visible gunshot damage from an earlier battle. Unfortunately for him, Murphy's enhanced cyborg reflexes are working just fine and his software accurately predicts that the soon-to-be victim is about to shoot him.
  • Relative Button: His wife and son leads to Alex overriding his protocols.
  • Restraining Bolt: Just like in the original, RoboCop is hit with one. The red bracelets prevent him from attacking anyone wearing one. When Raymond Sellars makes the mistake of pointing a gun at his wife and son, however, Alex overpowers the command and shoots him.
  • Saying Too Much: After Norton wakes up Alex Murphy as Robocop, Murphy wonders why he can "feel" his robotic limbs. Norton's assistant lets slip a comment about amputees feeling phantom limbs which causes Murphy to panic and demand to know what they have done to him. This provokes Murphy to try and get away which Norton allows to happen to an extent before shutting him down for retrieval.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The OmniCorp guards have this attitude in plenty near the ending after seeing one of their own being tazed by Murphy.
  • Sequel Hook: OmniCorp turns out to be part of OCP, which plans to review its droid program.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The 1987 RoboCop's design has encumbered speed due to his heavy armor, but the 2014 RoboCop implements superhuman speed, jumping and reflexes akin to the obscure Japanese police-cyborg 8th Man. The new Alex Murphy is also a detective rather than a police officer, much like Detective Yokoda before he became 8-Man.
    • RoboCop's NI-408 sidearm resembles the modified Lawgiver Mark II more than the 1987 Auto-9.
    • The ED-209s making animal noises not only reminds one of the original ED-209s, but calls to mind the Gekkos from Metal Gear Solid 4 and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Also, Murphy jumps onto a ED-209 to disable it at close range, like Raiden does with some of his aerial attacks. Mind you, he's not as successful as Raiden is.
    • The noises that Murphy's combat software and non-combat software makes when it's analyzing and running scenarios and all of that fun stuff, is the same sound effects used for the Terminators in Terminator Salvation.
    • In running through modular design variations, one is showed able to switch to a slimmer version with police lights on his shoulders. "It transforms. Kids love it."
    • The man with the prosthetic hand plays "Concerto de Aranjuez" which is the basis for "Follow Me", a song appearing prominently in Ghost in the Shell Innocence (the 2004 movie), a film that shares many similar themes with RoboCop.
    • When Robocop is interrogating two dirty cops at the police station, he concludes by coldly quipping "Thank you for your cooperation, you can cuff him now Jack." This is a call back to RoboCop (1987) when Robocop thanks the liquor store owners for their support when Murphy confronts the robber. However, some viewers did read this as Robocop thanking the now-unconscious robber so this may even be a shout-out to that idea.
  • Show Within a Show: Pat Novak's The Novak Element, a satire of right-wing talking head programmes.
  • Storming the Castle: The final battle has Murphy storm the OmniCorp building to take down Sellars while fighting off an army of ED-209s and Mattox.
  • Suicide Attack: A group of suicide bombers go after OmniCorp's drones in the opening, managing to take out an ED-209 and one of the humanoid EM-208 drones. The intent was to get themselves caught on camera doing it as a statement against the drone use in their country. They specifically make it a point to avoid getting anyone other than themselves killed, as that would send the wrong message.
  • SWAT Team: Jack manages to round up a SWAT element to bust into OmniCorp. Unfortunately, they are cornered by the ED-209s (accompanied by armed guards) and are forced to be disarmed. However, they gives Murphy enough time to reach the helipad.
  • Take That!: A scrolling news ticker reads that Americans are becoming illegal immigrants in Mexico, a potshot against citizens who malign foreign immigrants coming the other way.
  • Take That, Critics!: Novak's last line, "quit whining", can be interpreted as either a What the Hell, Hero? against In-Universe bioconservatives trying to uphold the Dreyfus Act or a You Bastard! against out-of-universe luddites.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • There's the son of the suicide bomber at the beginning, who rushes at a 12-foot-tall military mech with a knife. Those things are hard to destroy with explosives and high caliber ammo, a knife isn't going to do anything. On the other hand, the bombers' objective was solely to die live on international television, so if that was the son's goal as well, it did everything he needed it to. Alternatively, the ED-209 thought the boy was going to use the knife to harm other people.
    • During the climax, Sellars has disabled Murphy with the Red Asset bracelet. Clara and David are terrified and might believe Sellar's story about Murphy going psychotic. He's won. Then, he just has to borrow a gun, threaten to shoot Murphy in the head, and threaten to shoot Murphy's wife and son, too. That's all the motivation Murphy needs to overcome his programming and kill Sellars. Norton even warned Sellars that the human element would always be present.
  • Villain Ball: Raymond Sellars held the villain ball ever since he succeeded raising public support for repealing Dreyfus Act.
    • Despite being skilled at shifting anything into his or the company's favor earlier in the movie Sellars catches this and runs home with it. Sellars could have simply kept Murphy at bay with the Restraining Bolt and stuck to the story that Murphy was going rogue. Murphy's family may have even believed it at this point after seeing him storm the roof and attempt to attack Sellars. Instead Sellars picks up a pistol and brags about how Murphy is just a machine and how he could kill his family, which gives Murphy the resolve he needs to break programming and shoot Sellars.
    • Even before the finale, Sellars could have acted a lot more conservatively without getting into trouble with the law - not much more effort required. Namely, that very moment he ordered Mattox to secretly kill Murphy. Sellars could have just pulled strings to cite some plausible excuse and effectively fire Murphy from OmniCorp, and either placate him and his family with compensation, or failing that, dismiss them as ungrateful kooks if they tried to go on the press about their suspicions. The only real reason Sellars seek to destroy Robocop is for the purpose of a climatic third act.
  • Weapon Wields You: When paired off against an ED-208 in the simulator, the cyborg protagonist Murphy turns out to be several seconds slower as his reflexes are affected by human decision-making processes. Under pressure from his boss to get results, Dr Norton writes Murphy's software so that it takes over in combat situations, while signals are sent into Murphy's brain giving him the illusion of controlling events.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dr. Norton engages into increasingly more extreme action regarding Alex's build and programming, but it's always to help Alex avoid the scrap heap and in any case he clearly doesn't like doing it. The "combat mode" for instance, was made because if Murphy doesn't perform as well as the pure-robots than he will never go home and see his family again.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once the US Senate repeals the Dreyfus Act, OmniCorp prepares to eliminate Murphy by making it look like he died from his injuries, especially since Murphy has proven he can override his priorities at will. However, Dr. Norton warns Murphy before this can happen.
  • Zero-G Spot: The news ticker on The Novak Element at one point mentions that the President has approved astronauts bringing hookers into space.


Video Example(s):



Officer Murphy is horrified to see what is left of his original body underneath the Robocop armor.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / BodyHorror

Media sources: