Posted February 12, 2014 by Yuri Mangahas in Movies/TV

HEAD TO HEAD: RoboCop (1987) vs RoboCop (2014)

Let’s face it: Every time a reboot is made, there’s always a division between purists and other moviegoers.  It always happens. A few days back, we saw the release of the anticipated reboot to the original RoboCop movie by Paul Verhoeven. Many viewers found the movie satisfying and great, while others gave a lukewarm response. Some praised the use of CG and practical effects in this movie, while there are some who complained about how different it is from the original version.

But let’s be fair, shall we? This reboot is a different take on the character, and each version of the original story brings a different ‘what-if’ interpretation to the plate.

Which is why, here in Flipgeeks, we decided to debunk Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop and Jose Padilha’s iteration of the character. We examined both of them, and enumerated their strengths and flaws. Having said that, welcome to FG’s first edition of: HEAD TO HEAD!

Let’s start the ride, shall we? Time for a faceoff.


 Director: Paul Verhoeven

Starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen

Shown: July 17, 1987

Set in a crime-ridden Detroit in the not-so-distant future, the movie centers on Alex Murphy, an honest cop who was brutally murdered by gang for interfering in their affairs. The malevolent OCP however, saw this as an opportunity and used Alex as their subject for one of their projects, turning him into the superhuman cyborg known and feared as RoboCop.


  • It explored a lof of themes: corruption, mass poverty, identity crisis, dystopia, robotics, and human nature. It also depicted a Jesus-like figure encased in a metal suit, who attempts to bring justice in his crime-infested city.
  • Pacing is dead solid, and no holes were left open story-wise.
  • Its use of satire in relation to the themes the movie tackled is superb. In fact, it is relative to reality.
  • The use of prostetics and makeup feels so real it will creep down your lungs.
  • The suit may be quite simple, but it stands out.
  • It’s a thriller hidden in an sci-fi action flick. Some of its moments will catch the viewer off-guard.
  • Peter Weller’s performance is just so brilliant. He draws sympathy despite RoboCop’s characterization.
  • The story got solid villains.
  • Its violence and gore might not sit well with anyone.
  • In par with today’s standards, its effects aren’t that good. But truth be told, it is forgivable considering the era the flick it was made. 

Alex’s death and how it was compared to Jesus. Don’t tell me it didn’t scare the shit out of you back in the day.



Director: Jose Padilha

Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Abby Cornish, Michael Keaton, Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson

Shown: February 5, 2014

 Like the original movie it was based from, this reboot is also set in Detroit in a not-so-distant future, but portrayed drastically than the first one. It centers on Alex Murphy as he becomes the subject of OmniCorp’s RoboCop project after a rigged car explosion that almost claimed his life. Devoid of emotion, he begins to sweep crime across the city. However, he discovers the corruption within OmniCorp and embraces a fight to reclaim his identity and return to his family.


  • The use of CG and practical effects is downright superb, particularly the UD and interface designs.
  • The suit. Sleeker, more practical, better.
  • The fact that this reboot focused on Alex’s conflict between settling with his newfound persona, or reclaiming his humanity.
  • Joel Kinnaman and Gary Oldman’s performances are worthy of praise. They deliver justice to their characters so well.
  • The music is also good. It complements every scene nicely.
  • The fight sequences. They’re just so awesome.
  • It lacks the elements which made the original version the classic that it is today. Like for example, the apparent lack/amount of satire in this flick and the gore’s visibly lessened.
  • The setting. This reboot’s Detroit does not seem crime infested. It looks safer to live in actually unlike what the exposition implies. Take note: Detroit today is downright similar to the original movie’s setting: Bankcrupt and crime-ridden.
  • They seem to have overplayed mass media satire with this one via the use of The Novak Element sequences, which more often than not, does not feel complementary to the plot.
  • Its villains aren’t really solid to begin with. They lack depth and likeability.
And oh, have I mentioned that the new RoboCop suit design looks familiar?

Oh, right. Hello Scott.

 Now that we have debunked both of them, we leave it up to you to judge on which is better or otherwise. Either way, let this article not stop you from watching the reboot. It was a good film. Trust us.
(Check out our comprehensive review of RoboCop(2014) HERE! Special thanks to Columbia Philippines for our passes.)

Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.