It seems a foregone conclusion that a remake of Robocop would fall short of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 original. And yet, watching the result, it seems that the movie’s greatest sin is not being the original. No, it’s not perfect, and maybe not even quite as good as Verhoeven’s, but José Padilha serves up a perfectly good action thriller with just as much to say as its predecessor.

The story beats are largely the same, but with a few key shifts. The company offering to save crime-ravaged Detroit is not Omni Consumer Products, but OmniCorp — led by Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) — which makes the bulk of its money selling robotic soldiers to the U.S. military, which is currently using them to lay down the law in Tehran, among possibly other foreign endeavors. Immediately, we’re not talking so much about all-consuming corporate power as about the military-industrial complex.

We’re also…

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