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American Women's Club of Hamburg

RoboCop

star4x3 ½

USA 2014
Starts February 6, 2014

Directed by: José Padilha
Writing credits: Joshua Zetumer screenplay, Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner 1987 screenplay
Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Douglas Urbanski, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman
Length: 117 minutes

roboCopDon’t go see this movie for the plot. But you could have a lot of fun if you happen to have a hormonal brain like mine (not that kind of hormonal) and also have been reading about euthanasia recently. Before you deem me nuts, let me explain. But I will give you the plot first. It is kind of predictable: Cop Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) loses 95% of his body, is inserted into a machine and, voilà, Robocop is born. Throw in a few big business interests with a “gotta keep our people safe” theme and you could be watching, say…Elysium. But how is that: Your husband loses 95% of his body and you, his wife (Cornish), have to make the decision whether you want to save your husband’s life. So what is your husband going to think when he wakes up in the body of a robot? Might sound random to you, but since I read the book “Me before You” by Jojo Moyes recently, I’ve been thinking about that kind of stuff. It is about a paraplegic asking for euthanasia. In Robocop, the question about the importance of an intact physical body will have to be reconsidered in the light of technological advances. And the movie does a decent job dealing with it, considering that it is just supposed to be a movie about a hunky guy in a metal costume.

Now, let’s come to the other fun part. When Robocop is all ready, geared up and showing what he’s got, the doctor who created him (Oldman) says: “Alex  believes he is in control”, because when in battle, the machine inserts data into his brain giving him the “illusion of a free will”. Yea, I know. Old dilemma. Make intelligent machines, then the intelligent machines take over, yada, yada, yada. I mean, we have all watched The Matrix, right? So what if I tell you that we won’t have to wait until that Armageddon if we use science that is already at our disposal today? In this case, I am talking about chemistry. So what makes people into good little tin soldiers? Obedience! Just imagine: Robocop learns about his own “murder” after getting the complete police database downloaded into his system. Since he still has emotions, he gets overwhelmed, then angry and starts having a seizure.

Thank goodness, there is a way to override the natural stress response: tune down the neurotransmitter dopamine, rev up the neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline and you’ve got an emotionally dull (dopamine) but very alert and focused killing machine (adrenaline and noradrenaline). If you think this is science fiction, think again. Desoxyn, an FDA- approved drug, has been used for patients with ADHD and obesity. But, in a larger scale, it has also been given to soldiers since WW II. It turns up dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline, but lowers serotonin. In larger doses, it basically suppresses your natural feelings in favor of a violent and amped up mood. If you still can’t picture what I am talking about, think crystal meth, Desoxyn’s illegal and identical twin (I totally love the fact that Robocop’s first big blow is to take down a crystal meth lab). So who is the perfect slave: man or machine? In Robocop, a “robophobic” senator wisely states that “since a machine does not feel what it is like to be human, it should not be permitted to take human life”. Good, but missed point, I would say. ()

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