RED STATE – This is not a horror, and not really a thriller… Drama or action, maybe. There’s a potential early on for it to become something like HOSTEL with real horror elements, but that path disappears pretty quickly.
The way I see this, it is really the story of ATF agent Joseph Keenan (John Goodman), but only just barely. Keenan is about the most complete character in the film. The local police are caricatures and the believers are empty, and the boys from the local high school are little more than a trio of horny Macguffins.
It’s better than I thought it would be, based on the reviews that I’ve seen, though Smith can’t help but include some amount of frat boy humour, it’s relatively low key. Two I noticed were “PORK PRODUCTS NOT DUDES” on one of the signs in the religious compound, and phrases like “COKE CAN DICKS” used by the ATF agents.
ROBOCOP – Peter Murphy’s lifeless head and torso are wrapped in metal, and his brain is interfaced to a CPU that ensures the original Murphy won’t be a problem. Of course, Robocop has different ideas, and parts of Murphy come back – flashes, glitches, ghosts in the machine. It’s a relatively cheesy film nearly 25 years later, but the central core remains, and like BLADE RUNNER or even MAX HEADROOM, it asks “What exactly makes us human?”