Dutch filmmaker Paul Verhoeven’s Hollywood works are known for their graphic violence and sexuality along with political and societal satire told with a quirky sense of humor.
Verhoeven has also been out of Hollywood since 2000’s “Hollow Man,” with the films he’s made since like “Black Book,” “Elle” and “Benedetta” all being European fare.
Sony Pictures took a shot at redoing two of his most famous sci-fi works with Len Wiseman having a go at “Total Recall” in 2012 and Jose Padilha trying out “RoboCop” in 2014.
The former, which starred Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale, received negative reviews. The latter, starring Joel Kinnaman, had a more mixed reaction.
“The problem there, I felt, was that he was really aware that he lost all his legs and arms. He knows it from the very beginning.
The beautiful thing about the original RoboCop, what makes it not just pure tragedy or whatever, is that he really does not know anymore. He gets a couple of vague flashes of memory when he goes to his old house, but RoboCop is not a tragic figure.
Yes, he’s killed in the most horrible way in the beginning. But when we see him again as a robot, he doesn’t feel that. In the new one, because he remembers everything, he’s much more tragic.
We wanted you to accept him at the beginning as a robotic cop. That’s what they did to him. In my opinion, I thought it was a problem to make him more tragic.”
As for “Total Recall,” his issue was the film’s lack of ambiguity and mystery, something the original had plenty of:
“I felt it had a lot of special effects, but this mystery – is it true or is it not true? – I just didn’t feel that anymore. The interesting thing about the original movie is that at the end, when Rachel Ticotin says, ‘Well, kiss me quick before you wake up,’ you still don’t really know if it’s real.”
85-year-old Verhoeven is looking to return to filmmaking with “Young Sinner” his next project and first American feature production in the 21st century.