One of the most common criticisms of the Stallone Judge Dredd movie is that the filmmakers had Dredd remove his helmet and show off his face for a very sizeable portion of the film. This symbol, this armoured man, an icon of fascist attitudes was now, in some way, weakened.
In theory, the unmasked appearance could have been applied to interesting ends, perhaps even subversively. But… yeah, as far as I can tell, it was just about getting the movie star's face in the picture.
I don't know if it's the same thinking behind the new Robocop's redesign, but I doubt it. For one thing, Joel Kinnaman is hardly a famous face, as yet. For another, a masked Robocop is proven to be a working part of this whole cinematic set-up, acceptable to movie goers, if not indeed expected.
Kinnaman has been speaking to MTV about the film, and sharing some of what he knows about director Jose Padilha's plans for reinventing Robo:
There's a lot of neuroscience now raising the question, 'Is all the intelligence in the human body in the brain?' and they're finding out that, no, it's not like that. The body has intelligence itself, and we're much more of an organic creature in that way. It's not a control tower that does everything
Robocop is going to be a lot more human… this version is a much better acting piece, for Alex Murphy and especially when he is Robocop… It's not going to be [just] jaw action. They're still working on the suit and how it's going to look, but the visor is going to be see-through. You're going to see his eyes.
I honestly hadn't stopped to ponder what a new Robocop design could do for the character but, now, chewing this over, I can't wait to see what they come up with.
It's absolutely true that the design of the suit and headpiece in Verhoeven's film are integral parts of that film's character and thematic ideas, and so it will be with Padilha's remake, of course. New look, new ideas.
How nice that he's not just attempting a rehash.