The icon of cinematic cyborgs, RoboCop, returns in this flashy remake
From DoBlu’s theatrical review for RoboCop (2014):
“Despite being a calmer film in terms of its action ratio, RoboCop of 2014 is undeniably louder and screaming to fit in. To some extent, it does as we salivate for and simultaneously fear technological breakthroughs while media talking heads guide our thinking. But, that’s current, not timeless. RoboCop makes the choice to punch up Murphy’s inner mind in a wisely plotted decision, something to appreciate whether time forgets these dense metaphors or not.”
Fox puts forth their best effort AVC encode to produce this outstanding visual powerhouse. Crisp cinematography highlights this digital production, fueled by cinematic energy and sharpness. Facial definition is a keeper whether in medium shots or in close. Dazzling contrast keeps a consistent lighting scheme in the frame, pouncing on faces to blast them with texture-giving density. While heavy, those light sources avoid white washing the screen, keeping shots intact.
Likewise, the counteracting black levels are deep, especially in the special effects driven set on Samuel L. Jackson’s character set. This backdrop seamlessly transitions from a reflective floor into a pure back surrounding environment without any seams. A shoot-out taking place in a strobe light-like set-up jumps between brightness and pure dark with no loss of thickness.
RoboCop is also appealing for its avoidance on color timing quirks. While slightly warmed, this feature is commonly held to pure, untouched flesh tones. Action scenes are allowed the full richness of their hues without being dimmed by restrictive palette choices. Suit details – especially the awesome red visor – pop from the screen, and bringing back around to black levels, nothing is lost in the shadows of Kinnaman’s new body.
Lula Carvalho’s cinematography is as fantastic as it is clean. Even when processing green screen and CG robots, noise is kept as bay to maintain purity. Nothing appears intrusive, this outside of minor aliasing during an aerial of OCP-run Detroit. The shot is too brief to be considered much of a nuisance.
From it’s outset, RoboCop is a sonic winner. ED-209 units march down streets with thundering footsteps in unison, followed by frantic action and explosions which rip thought the LFE. The swell of low-end activity carries into action scenes no matter their placement in the film, and when Kinnaman is blown back by a car bomb, the force is significant – enough to place listeners near the blast.
This is not a DTS-HD mix of restraint, nor should it be. Shoot-outs are spectacular, especially a training session in a warehouse which needs to track as much as it does fill the open space. It does so well. Positioning of missed shots is substantial. A restaurant gun clash offers shattering glass and bullet pings in the rears with total force. By the third act, RoboCop is transferring helicopter sweeps around the sound field and prepping a demo worthy scuffled with four (!) ED-209s.
Five deleted scenes are offered, with only one of interest explaining why the decision was made to keep one of Murphy’s actual hands. A series of product announcements for OmniCorp were used during the promotional hype, revealing various designs in parts. Engineered for the 21st Century is a three-part making of, fairly routine until the information is given on suit design. That material is fantastic, and most of it was practical.
Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.