7 Directors Who Should Take Over the RoboCop Sequel
Due to scheduling issues, Neill Blomkamp no longer plans to direct the new RoboCop movie, planned as a legacy sequel to the original film. Similar to the recent Halloween, the new film is set to ignore every part of the franchise except the first film. And it’s even based on a story by original RoboCop writers Ed Neumeier and Michael Miner. The good news is that if you want to see Blomkamp’s RoboCop, Chappie already exists and it’s pretty close. The better news could be if one of our choices below would step in to replace Blomkamp and make the faithful RoboCop sequel we need.
7. Jon Favreau.
Yes, yes, obviously he displays a talent for directing actors in nigh-indestructible metal suits. But in Iron Man 2, the most un-Disney of the MCU movies, he got close to darker territory. The Tony Stark in that film is an alcoholic narcissist who brings everything upon himself by alienating everyone. Other heroes are around to help him check his behavior, but what if they weren’t? In movies like Swingers and Made, Favreau has shown an interest in more uncomfortable subject matter. Maybe after his recent run of Disney photo-realistic remakes, he’d be game for something a but more R-rated again.
6. Brad Bird.
The Iron Giant took a sentient, metal weapon of war and had him decide not be one any more. The Incredibles, as much as kid’s movie could, examined the inherent fascism of a superhero-based meritocracy. Put those two concepts together and add in a heaping helping of corporate greed, and you’ve basically got RoboCop. Considering the fat stack of cash Incredibles 2 made, it’s time to forgive Bird for Tomorrowland and let him out of live-action director jail.
5. Boots Riley.
Sorry to Bother You was rough around the edges in the way that many first-time features tend to be, but Riley’s anti-capitalist satire was crazily ambitious. Taking on racial coding, dehumanizing sales work, and throwing in a bizarre sci-fi twist at the end, Riley proved he could do a lot for a little. It would be great to see him unleashed on a larger budget. It would also be pointed for a movie that satirizes police privatization to engage with racial discrimination issues a bit more. All while making audiences both laugh and squirm for the right reasons. Spike Lee will never be given a movie like RoboCop, but Riley just might.
4. Kathryn Bigelow.
Some have argued that Bigelow already is an OCP-style propagandist. Was Zero Dark Thirty too pro-government, or Detroit excessively insensitive? We’ll argue that The Hurt Locker — without which Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie might never have become Avengers — does exactly what a RoboCop movie should. Mainly, it gets us to root for a guy on the battlefield who’s actually not entirely sympathetic, and his war extremely morally unclear.
She also managed to divide our sympathies between Bodhi AND Johnny Utah back in the day. So that too.
3. Michael Haneke.
Haneke would never agree to do a big studio movie, of course. His body of work is brutal, uncompromising, and indicts the audience for wanting tidy resolutions. Funny Games (both versions) hates its own audience so much that it actively punishes them for caring about the characters. But at one time we might have said that about the director of Soldier of Orange and Flesh + Blood too. And we got RoboCop.
If Haneke would ever deign to accept studio notes, his RoboCop would probably be a massive middle finger to corporate Hollywood, and gross about $1,000 total. But we’d still like to see it.
2. Chris Morris.
Who? The director of Four Lions, that’s who. The movie that put Riz Ahmed on the map is a take-no-prisoners satire of Islamic terror. In it, a group of incompetent Jihadists plan to suicide bomb the London marathon, but keep falling victim to their own foolish mistakes. It’s tough stuff to get right, but Morris keeps the dark humor on point without ever diminishing or belittling real world threats, ethnicities, or faiths. That’s the sort of edge a RoboCop movie depends upon. Just as the original took on consumerism and Cold War consumption, terrorism and poverty are the hot-button issues a sequel needs to immerse in. Morris sees the funny side of horrific violence and its social root causes, and is the closest to a Paul Verhoeven heir we have.
1. Paul Verhoeven.
We presume and hope he was asked first, because the original movie is 100% his sensibility. We’d love to see all the others on the list give their take on Alex Murphy’s further cybernetic adventures, but that’s what they would be: a take. Verhoeven’s RoboCop 2 would be definitive. The problem for a studio is that even with an entire career body of work demonstrating that he’s satirizing violence rather than glorifying it, people still don’t get it. How many people do you know who think Starship Troopers should be taken seriously, at face value?
As seen in his most recent film Elle, Verhoeven still knows how to push the envelope. He just might not want to push it in this direction. But if he does, he should get to.