“RoboCop” (PG-13): Teens into action movies, computer technology and/or video games can revel in this visually stunning, but slow-footed update of the original (“RoboCop,” R, 1987). While its narrative often plods, the new film features strong acting, sharp satire and amazing visual effects they’ll like.
It is the year 2028, and a company called OmniCorp, headed by Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton), builds robotic law enforcement droids to maintain order around the world. Samuel L. Jackson, as a loud TV pundit, bellows that they should be used in the U.S. The greedy Sellars would love that, but Congress has banned it, citing potential civil rights violations. Sellars goes to his chief scientist, Dr. Norton (Gary Oldman), for ideas.
They decide to recruit a gravely injured soldier or policeman, keep his brain and whatever parts of his body not destroyed, encase him in robotic, weaponized armor and introduce him as a RoboCop with human ethics. Police detective Alex Murphy (brooding Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman), gravely injured when gun runners blow up his car, becomes the prime candidate. Alex’s wife (Abbie Cornish) and young son (John Paul Ruttan) watch as the man they love is transformed. As Dr. Norton tinkers with Alex’s emotions, the emerging RoboCop becomes less and less human – until he finds a way to rebel.
In a prologue, you see crime-fighting droids keeping the peace in Tehran, until suicide bombers attack. Injuries are not graphic, but the scene is disturbing. Later, mayhem shows RoboCop firing at nonhuman droids, hurling them hither and yon and destroying property. We see little blood or human injury amid the firefights until the end of the film, when bad guys get their just deserts, and even then, it is not graphic. The sight of RoboCop with his armor removed, exposing his upper spine, his lungs and his brain is a look-away moment. Characters use midrange profanity. There is an understated marital sexual situation.
“Endless Love” (PG-13): While the story features newly graduated high schoolers, “Endless Love” will appeal more to younger teens, with its uncynical, music-montage view of love. (It’s based on a novel by Scott Spencer.)
David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer), the handsome son of an auto mechanic (Robert Patrick), has long had a silent crush on classmate Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde). The Butterfields are rich, and Jade’s surgeon father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) wants her to become a surgeon, too. Jade’s family, especially Hugh, still grieves over the death of the son who was the apple of Hugh’s eye. Hugh withholds affection from his other son (Rhys Wakefield) and his wife Anne (Joely Richardson), focusing solely on Jade and her future.
When Jade and David finally talk for the first time, he’s working as a valet parker at a restaurant where her family has come. The attraction is immediate and the manipulative Hugh is not happy. When he throws Jade a party and sees David and her emerge from a closet after a kissing session, he starts plotting furiously to keep them apart. But the romance heats up. Jade and David (at Jade’s urging) start having sex. David and Hugh face off, each revealing his own anger issues.
The film shows sexual situations, but they are not at all graphic. We see outerwear flung off and much choreographed making-out, but nothing explicit. Teen characters joke about getting high on pot, but we don’t see them do it. The script features occasional midrange profanity.