Comic-Con: 'Robocop' Director Talks Drone Warfare

Director Jose Padilha explained the relevance of the franchise during the current political climate: "First we are going to use machines abroad, then we are going to use machines at home."

Sony and MGM gave the world the first real look at the new Robocop, the remake of the beloved sci-fi classic that sees The Killing star Joel Kinnaman stepping into the police armor.

The panel opened up with a segment of a political TV show hosted by Pat Novak, played by Samuel L. Jackson, setting up the world in which robots and drones are in Tehran on peacekeeping duties while a debate rages in Washington, D.C., about whether robots should be used domestically. It ends with a robot targeting a little boy wielding a knife, as the machine cannot discern the finer points of what constitutes a real threat.

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Also shown was a trailer that shows Kinnaman becoming Robocop. It ends with the movie’s classic line, “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.” The original film was a social and political satire on 1980s life and corporate greed. The remake seems to ditch the humor jabs, but it is no less political.

The reboot footage was warmly received. It updates the concepts while not looking like a retread. But in talking to some audience members, some felt it was perhaps almost too topical. "It hits close to home with the drones," said one young man who saw the footage. 

That's what director Jose Padilha wanted.

"We are more and more in a country where Robocop is relevant. You will see robots in wars," he said. "The first film saw it way back then. Now we have more knowledge and we know it's coming true. First we are going to use machines abroad, then we are going to use machines at home."

Padilha is known for making the politically charged Elite Squad crime movies in his home country of Brazil.

The director posited that when a police officer makes a mistake and shoots a child, you can put that officer on trial. If a robot shoots a child, who do you put on trial? The company that created it? 

"These issues will be more and more present, and the movie deals with that," he said.