Verhoeven On What The “Robocop” Reboot Got Wrong

In the 1980s and 1990s, Dutch film director Paul Verhoeven crafted some of the most iconic sci-fi films ever made in the still beloved “Total Recall” and “Robocop”. Both films scored remakes in recent years, neither of which was either critically or commercially successful.

So why did these remakes underwhelm? Verhoeven himself has spoken about the issue in a recent interview with Collider saying that it comes down to a question of style and tone, specifically they took themselves far too seriously. Here’s what he said:

“Somehow they seem to think that the lightness of say Total Recall and Robocop is a hindrance. So they take these somewhat absurd stories and make them much too serious. I think that is a mistake. Especially in Robocop when he awakens they gave him the same brain.

He’s a horribly injured and amputated victim, which is horrifying and tragic from the very beginning. So we didn’t do that in Robocop. His brain is gone and he has only flashes of memory and needs to go to a computer to find out who he even is.

I think by not having a robot brain, you make the movie much heavier and I don’t think that helps the movie in anyway. It becomes more silly or absurd, but in the wrong way. Both those movies needed the distance of satire or comedy to situate it for audiences. Playing it straight without any humour is a problem and not an improvement.”

Sony has yet to announce any plans for a sequel to the “Robocop” remake.