If we must have a remake of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 RoboCop—and it appears that we must—Brazilian director José Padilha has found a smart way to do one, writes Kurt Loder. First, hire actors who can enliven the proceedings beyond the call of genre. Then, dial down the bloody mayhem just a bit and expand the story's original focus—on municipal and corporate corruption—to also take in the alarming contemporary phenomenon of militarized police forces. The philosophical themes that made Verhoeven's film so unexpectedly touching—what is free will? what does it mean to be human?—naturally remain in place.