- Directed by Fred Dekker
- April 18, 1993 (Japan) / November 5, 1993 (US) / June 24, 1994 (UK)
OCP has been bought out by the Japanese Kanemitsu Corporation and is beginning the demolition of Old Detroit in favor of the new Delta City.
I am not sure what they were thinking when they made this movie. I am not even sure they were thinking TBH. RoboCop 3 looks and plays like a TV movie. Director Fred Dekker and Frank Miller crafted a lackluster story that is on par with the substandard RoboCop 2. This film though is a guilty pleasure of mine though.
With the loss of Officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) and the addition of the genius cute kid factor of Nikko Halloran (Remy Ryan) plus heavy comic book elements, it is just a bit of a mess and comes off as unfocused and silly. I admit to this being a guilty pleasure, but I am really bothered they did not try harder. I have watched this too many times to genuinely hate it. I am just upset it was not better than it was.
The character of Anne Lewis is killed off in the first 20 minutes or so. She starts off the movie strong and if you are a first-time viewer, you are expecting the character to be more like she was in the first film than she was in the second, but her presence is basically to give RoboCop (this time around Robert John Burke) motivation and to keep her out of future sequels. The character of RoboCop does not need motivation to do the right thing. That is kind of his schtick.
Peter Weller did not return to the role and given what we see at the end that made it to the screen I say he dodged a bullet. Officially he was doing the film Naked Lunch, but I would imagine coming up with any excuse to not get in this. Seriously though there are conflicting reports or his feelings about returning and by the time this went into production he was available but Burke was contracted.
Felton Perry returns as Johnson and is the only familiar OCP face to show in the movie. He is joined by Bradley Whitford as executive Jeffrey Fleck who is mostly a more comical Bob Morton. Rip Torn is the new CEO of OCP and helming the corporation during a takeover by the Kanemitsu Corporation with the legendary Mako as, well, Kanemitsu. Torn is not a competent corporate executive like the old man was but more of a bumbling character. Mako was clearly looking for a paycheck by taking this part. Jill Hennessy makes an early career appearance as Dr. Marie Lazarus who is the OCP employee charged with maintaining RoboCop. As far as the good guys go, Robert DoQui as Sgt. Warren Reed is the only other one aside from Allen to show up that I can think of.
The chief villain though is an individual known as Paul McDaggett (John Castle) who heads up a group of mercenaries hired by OCP called Urban Rehabilitators (or “Rehabs”) to clear out the citizens of Cadillac Heights and make way for construction of Delta City. McDaggett just likes doing bad things and is your usual well-spoken British baddie. That’s fine but if he felt dangerous like Clarence Boddicker he might be an actually good villain. Instead he is just some actor with a nice speaking voice.
Aside from Nikko, CCH Pounder as Bertha and Stephen Root as Coontz are the only other significant citizens of the area in the film. Being that this is not a really sophisticated film, you know Coontz is a turncoat within seconds of his introduction because his character is just the type. And that is the problem. This film is simplistic. Orion Pictures decided that the core fans were kids and made this a much more kid friendly film than its predecessors
Frank Miller wrote the story along with Fred Decker and it feels like a really bad comic book. Worse it feels like a really bad comic book written by a fan with no actual writing experience. Miller it appears did not understand what could work on screen as opposed to what could work in the comic book medium. RoboCop got a jet pack and attachable gun. He is fighting some super androids.
There are some moments here that feel more like the original film than the second film did though. Perhaps that is because the original RoboCop composer Basil Poledouris returned for number three here and his music helps put you in the correct state of mind. In the story RoboCop acts more like RoboCop did towards the end of the first film than he did in the second film.
RoboCop 3 is a clunky movie, but it is also a guilty pleasure of mine. It is not something I would recommend to people. It is the film equivalent of the frozen burrito you microwave after coming back from the bar. It sounds like a good idea at the time, and you enjoy it in the moment but regret it later yet you will do it again.
In fact while I enjoy RoboCop 3 and will revisit it in the future the rest of you can skip it. For me it works because of nostalgia but that is not something everyone can count on to get them through.