To cleanse the palate, via Hit & Run, the story of a man transformed by misfortune into a ruthless, emotionless law-enforcer charged with brutally neutralizing a landscape of violent degenerates. Greatest parable about Obama’s foreign policy evah.
No, this is, per the director, actually an allegory about mechanized warfare replete with an opening scene about an invasion of Iran. Which sounds … interesting, but makes me think how much less enjoyable Romero’s zombie movies got as his moralizing became more heavy-handed. “Night of the Living Dead” touched on race relations but was an otherwise straightforward (and phenomenal) scare flick. “Dawn of the Dead” laid it on slightly thicker vis-a-vis consumerism but otherwise stayed focused on comic-book grossouts. Things started to bog down with “Day of the Dead,” which is sort of “Lord of the Flies” with zombies plus a crazed military guy who’s naturally drunk on power and violence, and finally “Land of the Dead” ended up being a snooze about the haves and have-nots. Seems like there’s less risk of that here — even for a reboot, it looks a lot like the original — but when the director says that Samuel L. Jackson’s character is “this kind of like hardcore conservative media guy,” you know the eyeroll quotient is bound to tick upward. Hopefully not much, but it’s a fait accompli.
Anyhow. Is Robocop really the best figure to illustrate the evils of drones? The director notes that what makes RC compelling is that he’s not a typical superhero. Everyone wants to be Spider-Man; no one wants to be Robocop. Which is true, but ignores the fact that Robocop is not only a tremendously sympathetic character but also the only authority figure you trust by the end of the movie. The fully mechanized drone, the ED-209, is monstrous, but so are the sinister OCP execs who manipulate RC and of course so are the various rapists and gangsters Robocop has to take on out in dystopian Detroit. The city really is dangerous; the people really do need something extraordinary out there to help them. Only RC ends up being trustworthy because he combines elements of human judgment with an implacable, technologically precise adherence to law. That ain’t how the U.S. drone program works, needless to say, but if this movie popularizes the idea that the remotely piloted Predators zapping jihadis in Pakistan are our own version of Robocop, Obama can live with that.