With Neill Blomkamp’s Alien sequel off the table, the director has instead been tapped by MGM to helm a new RoboCop film titled RoboCop Returns! Cue the “I’d buy that for a dollar!” comments.
Deadline broke the news that the film will be a direct sequel to Paul Verhoeven’s original 1987 classic. Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner are credited as producer and exec producer, and Justin Rhodes will be rewritting the script Neumeier and Miner penned years ago. Rhodes, who also co-wrote the upcoming Tim Miller Terminator reboot, has been quite busy course-correcting sci-fi franchises lately.
Here is the (pretty vague) plot description for the sequel:
Anarchy reigns and the fate of Detroit hangs in the balance as RoboCop makes his triumphant return to fight crime and corruption.
The recent RoboCop (2014) reboot was met with a lukewarm reception. The movie attempted to appeal to wider audiences with watered-down PG-13 action that didn’t bode well with fans who craved the original’s hard R grittiness.
Blomkamp’s previous sci-fi/action features like District 9, Elysium, and Chappie definitely don’t shy away from violence and gore. The past few years, Blomkamp returned to creating intense short films like the sci-fi/horror short Zygote under his own production company Oats Studios.
After 2014’s failed attempt to make the franchise more accessible to general audiences, it wouldn’t be surprising if Blomkamp put the hard “R” back in RoboCop. But can he capture the human element under the metal?
Here is what he had to say to Deadline about the upcoming sequel:
“The original definitely had a massive effect on me as a kid,” Blomkamp told Deadline. “I loved it then and it remains a classic in the end of 20th Century sci-fi catalog, with real meaning under the surface. Hopefully that is something we can get closer to in making of a sequel. That is my goal here. What I connected to as a kid has evolved over time. At first, the consumerism, materialism and Reaganomics, that ’80s theme of America on steroids, came through most strongly. But As I’ve gotten older, the part that really resonated with me is identity, and the search for identity.”
Blomkamp continues,“As long as the human component is there, a good story can work in any time period, it’s not locked into a specific place in history. What’s so cool about RoboCop is that like good Westerns, sci-fi films and dramas, the human connection is really important to a story well told. What draws me now is someone searching for their lost identity, taken away at the hands of people who are benefiting from it, and seeing his memory jogged by events. That is most captivating. The other thing I am excited by is the chance to work again with Justin Rhodes. He has added elements that are pretty awesome, to a sequel that was set in the world of Verhoeven. This is a movie I would love to watch.”
It sounds like Blomkamp is passionate about this project, so let’s hope he does the original film justice. After all, RoboCop is all about justice.
Are you excited for Blomkamp’s RoboCop Returns?