RoboCop 3 Reviews
The Pros: Looks good. Natural evolution of the story. Has that social commentary I adore.
The Cons: Disappointing departure from the brutal mature tone of the first two. New actor plays Robocop and it's really really noticeable. Poor filmmaking choices (franchise killed by "Hollywooditis").
Judged as a movie and not compared to its predecessors, it's an above average piece of action-adventure cinema. Judged as the 2nd sequel to Robocop, it is way too Hollywood (overblown and watered down)
Everything from the absence of Peter Weller, to the retreading of plot points covered in the first two movies already. The film has horrible one liners, average action sequences that lack the bloody, gritty punch of the original, and humor that has no satirical bite.
The film also introduces a little kid who's incredibly good at hacking for some reason, and has Robocop form an emotional bond to him with no context as to why. My guess is to make the film seem more family friendly, which was an incredibly stupid choice.
The film does still have some good looking practical effects. Robocops armor still looks great, and the ED 209's still look pretty good. The film is also mostly fun to watch because of how hilariously bad most of it is.
The first Robocop had dark humor, good performances, and bloody, well made action sequences. Robocop two was lacked a lot of the humor, but still had good action sequences, and Weller reprising his role.
Robocop three has none of that. The actor standing in for Weller does a horrible job delivering his lines and has no charisma. The action scenes are bland and lazy, and the humor and more family friendly aspect they were going for hurts the film horribly. Watch the first two and forget this one exists.
Certainly, there are other issues here. There is much less humour and much more (daftly executed) sentimentality, awful performances (save some decent work from Rip Thorn who's doing what he always does), and did we really need an obnoxious kid hacker who does considerably more than the titular character?
It's surprising that nobody thought to stop after RoboCop 2. Given that the story deviated so far from the titular character and the box office returns for the film were so lacklustre, it's ridiculous to consider that anyone could see another story taking place. Given that Peter Weller didn't have the faith to come back for the third entry, it's sensible to think that nobody else should either. Unfortunately somebody decided to keep going and sink the series even further with RoboCop 3. I'll admit that I thought it was a mild improvement on its predecessor, but it's nevertheless a widely recognized failure.
In the spirit of deviating from the entire idea of RoboCop, the titular character himself doesn't even make an actual appearance in RoboCop 3 until 19 minutes in. It hardly matters in the end because the film scatters its focus throughout an abundance of pointless stock characters who are all arbitrary but are somehow required to build up the story. The premise seems very heavily influenced by the plot of John Carpenter's cult classic masterpiece They Live (1988) in that both films depict a totalitarian government where the underclass end up in a civil war with their oppressive government with science fiction undertones. While the story has a lot more ambition than RoboCop 2 and uses more creative themes, it is nevertheless a derivative and unfocused narrative which once again neglects any notions of actual character development.
RoboCop himself could frankly not have less relevance to the film. He is a generic stock character meant to be the face of the underclass but no longer has to face the struggles of his identity. He once again becomes a supporting player in a film where he is the title character, being overshadowed by a huge civil war around him. He has little screen time and nothing interesting to do or say when he is present, yet he is even worse in the action scenes. Fred Dekker's lack of sensibility regarding what makes RoboCop so cool means that we get to see nothing of the character's awesome capabilities as the ultimate police officer. He is always too slow to respond when violence happens around him meaning that he is not intimidating in any sense. The only time we see any cool use of his gadgets comes from the end of the film where he suddenly pulls a jetpack out of nowhere and glides across the sky against a blue screen effect. This moment compensates for nothing in the film because if RoboCop himself was written out of the film, it wouldn't actually make any difference due to his sheer irrelevance. Yet it's more frustrating how poorly the supporting characters are presented, mainly Anne Lewis. Though she is more key to the story in RoboCop 3 than she was in RoboCop 2, she still only gets two scenes before being killed off. Rather than putting her into the action scenes that made her such a badass in the first place, she gets a moment to be criticized for her gender and a moment to get killed like a sheep. This strands Nancy Allen in a part which betrays everything that made the character strong before tossing her aside as a woman in the fridge trope. The film attempts to compensate for this by adding in the character Bertha who gains mild support from the performance of CCH Pounder which does have a certain sense of edge to it, but it is nevertheless a one-dimensional stock character with none of the charisma that Anne Lewis provided. Among the other characters are the Otomo ninja androids who would have been far more intimidating if they were played by Bolo Yeung, and a child hacker named Nikko who is obviously a cheap Mary Sue.
It's difficult enough to forgive poor treatment of two characters that were so great in the original film, but after RoboCop 2 it was to be expected. Unfortunately, what's less forgivable is the decreased standard for action scenes in the third entry. While RoboCop 2 had relentlessly overblown shootouts with no focus or genuine direction to them, RoboCop 3 manages to make things even worse. While the first two RoboCop films were shameless with their glamourization of violence, RoboCop 3 opts instead for a PG-13 rating. Through cutting out almost all the blood and minimizing the number of bullets that actually make any contact with other humans, RoboCop 3's style of action scenes cannot help but feel reminiscent of the television series The A-Team (1983-1987) without having the same scale or cartoonish fun. RoboCop 3 takes itself too seriously to carry the same satirical edge as its predecessors, but is also too ridiculous to be a believable feature which the action scenes epitomize. They don't rely excessively on visual effects even though the CGI proves good in the few moments it is used, but there is nothing special about the practicality of the film either. RoboCop 3 was clearly toned down in its violence to try and appeal to a more family-friendly audience, but since this completely betrays what RoboCop is all about it is a massive insult to the fans who made the series a success in the first place. And since there is already so much dialogue in the film that the wait between action scenes seems to go on forever, the younger and more impatient viewers will have to sit through a 100 minute film which feels twice as long. So the family-friendly ambitions of the film are null when the quality and quantity of action is such a prominent issue.
And to top it off, the music isn't that impressive. Rather than the gloriously large-scale effect emitted by the first RoboCop, Basil Poledouris' work in RoboCop 3 is too distinctively 80's in its cheesy nature to give any serious feeling to the film. This is apparent as early on as the first chase scene which uses a theme that is excessively repetitive and not atmospheric in the slightest, rather just a distraction from the already unremarkable film itself.
Incidentally, the cast do nothing to liven up the film, starting with Robert John Burke as a lacklustre replacement for Peter Weller. Recasting RoboCop shouldn't be too much of a problem because the character is made iconic entirely through the distinctive design of his badass costume, but Fred Dekker manages to mess that up through giving the role to Robert John Burke. Only the biggest fans of the character are likely to determine the issue, but its those viewers who have stuck with the series enough to actually see a third RoboCop film. The central issue is that Robert John Burke's tone of voice isn't as deep and commanding as Peter Weller's, making him seem less intimidating and more like a subservient soldier than a leader of the resistance against OmniCorp. The one minor difference that comes from recasting RoboCop can make such a difference to the character for fans, but either way it's just poor form.
But I will give points to some of the supporting players, even though they are arbitrary in the overall film. Daniel von Bargen takes the story so seriously that he never drops out of character, Rip Torn is consistently charismatic and Bradley Whitford is convincingly egotistical.
RoboCop 3 has a more interesting story than its predecessor, but the absence of the violent content, humour and Peter Weller leaves a generic action film that repeats many mistakes from RoboCop 2 but fails to seek innovation elsewhere.
Omni Consumer Products hope to build a commercial city to replace Detroit and they begin forcing people out of their homes and towards their new city. A group of revolutionaries form to stop the corporate takeover attempt. The local police force are caught in the middle of the two sides and must take a stance, including Robocop, on which side of the battle they'll take.
"How my I help you, officer?"
"By resisting arrest."
Fred Dekker, director of Night of the Creeps, The Monster Squad, and an episode of Tales from the Crypt, delivers Robocop 3. The storyline for this picture was very average with some great action scenes, funny one-liners, and random use of our characters. The acting is on par with the two previous pictures.
"Chicken shit! I'd eat a bullet, myself. Less showy."
I came across this on HBOGO and decided to watch it again for the first time in a long time. I always enjoyed this movie, probably more than the second film by a hair, but in a "so bad it's good" kind of way. Overall, this is an okay addition to the science fiction genre that is worth watching once for fans of the genre and/or series.
"All right, if you gotta "RoboCop," you got an AlienCop? Huh? You gotta GhostCop?"