INTRO: There’s a scene, roughly half way through the much maligned Robocop 3, in which the eponymous law enforcer is malfunctioning, battered and bruised, which is almost the perfect metaphor for the franchise at this point. Robocop 3 had its share of problems, as we discussed in the previous video. However, despite the annoying characters and a frustratingly dulled down hero it is actually a decent movie. It was nowhere near as good as a sequel that it could have been. Part three is a bit of a mystery. Where do we begin? In the wonderful world of films in which we often reside, part 3’s and later sequels to popular series have a tendency to look like they should. But for the most part, that familiarity leads to…something so very, very…Wrong. Jaws IV: The Revenge ruined the reputation of the franchise, while Beverley Hill Cop 3 lost all the edge and humor from parts one and 2. Get ready to strap your jetpack and face off against ninja robotics in what has been dubbed as one of the worst movie sequels ever. Is it really that bad? Find out in this episode! SETUP: Robocop-was one of those rare movies where all the elements of making a classic movie came together perfectly. The resulting incendiary film blew people’s mind, and OCP junior executives, apart. The sequel was not as successful and neither was part three. Frank Miller, the legendary comic author who co-wrote 20
Robocop, returned to write a screenplay. Miller wanted to make a mark in Hollywood and hoped that some of the ideas he didn’t use in Robocop would be used in Part Three. Miller was disillusioned when he discovered that his screenplay had been altered. He left Hollywood, but returned in 2005 for the adaptation of his graphic novels, Sin City. Miller was quoted as saying, “After my experience with the Robocop series, I learned the lesson that you don’t want to be the writer.” The director has the power. The director’s got the power. Dekker had previously worked as both a writer and director on the 1986 film Night Of The Creepsand 1987’s-The Monster Squad so the production was fortunate to have a talented person involved. Peter Weller’s departure was devastating. He brought such gravitas and pathos to his role in both the first and second movie, despite some of the script’s barmy directions. While he avoided a bullet in not reprising the role of Robocop, his replacement Robert John Burke is a fine actor. He is best known for his roles in Hal Hartley movies as well as Tombstone and Thinner, both post Robocop 3. His replacement, Robert John Burke is a fine actor, best known for his roles in Hal Hartley movies as well as Tombstone and Thinner
, both post Robocop 3. The suit he had to wear was designed for Robocop 2. The actor is also let down by the script, which has Robocop go from shooting rapists in the dick to babysitting an 11-year-old girl who knows how to reprogramme the once terrifying ED-209 into what she calls “loyal as a puppy”. The script also lets the actor down badly with the character of Robocop going from shooting rapists in the dick, to babysitting an eleven year old girl who somehow knows how to reprogramme the once terrifying ED-209 into what she calls “loyal as a puppy”.Thinking back to what must have been some pretty fraught and frenzied production meetings between the execs at Orion Pictures and the production team, it makes you wonder if they had no option, in their minds at least, other than to significantly water down the Robo threequel. Orion was in a bad financial state, having sold the domestic rights to The Adams Family movie to stay afloat. They needed to raise some cash…and fast! The 1987 Robocop by Paul Verhoeven had already been forced to release an edited version in the US and UK. The violent and drug-centered sequel would be a higher certification. The ten-year-old film, the gun-toting baddies and the hardcore violence sealed its fate. Orion needed to make its sequel more appealing in light of the two ultra-violent films. In doing so, the franchise’s credibility was completely destroyed. The production was put in danger by not only this change in tone, but also the need to make it look plausible, and not ridiculous, that an hulking robot law enforcer can fly using a Jet-pack. They were under pressure not to make Robocop appear stupid, due to Orion’s financial problems. And, if you’ve seen the movie, they failed…Miserably.Not only did
Robocop 3 suffer greatly from Orion’s decision to neuter the franchise by making it kid friendly, but it was also perhaps ahead of its time as far as the studios were concerned. 20th Century Fox decided to cut several of their key franchise movies to reach a younger and broader audience in the early 2010s, before Mickey Mouse snagged the reins. Films like A Good Day to Die Hard, Taken 2, and-3 were trimmed in the UK to get a 12A rating from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC). They were left uncut for other territories. The UK saw the movies do well in their opening weekend and over the lifetime of the film. However, they did not perform as well in other territories. These films weren’t exactly franchise highlights, so it’s safe to say the studios didn’t view it as a big gamble. It worked. Unfortunately for Robocop 3, the decision to water down a once beloved and hardcore franchise was about as smart as pitting a jet-pack toting hero against robot ninjas.REVIEW: In his 2021 book, critic Nathan Rabin sums up the main issue with Robocop 3
with this on-the-money observation, “Who needs Peter Weller when you’ve got a jet-pack?”. If you’re looking to watch a movie that is similar to a direct-to-TV style film in terms of production value and quality, but only to be mildly amused for a few hours, then Robocop3 might just be worth your time. If you were expecting a worthy follow-up to a once great series with a first part that was immeasurably excellent and a second that was serviceable, you will be bitterly disappointed with what happened with Robocop 3 3. The plot was based on Frank Miller’s Robocop 2, script. In the end, Robocop is attempting to save Detroit from chaos by avenging his partner Anne Lewis’ death. The Japanese Kanemitsu Corporation is financing the Delta City project by demolishing homes of Delta City residents. This evil conglomerate, OCP, is going full speed ahead with their Delta City plan. Robocop joins forces with Nikko, a young hacker of inexplicable genius who can reprogram anything, even the once awesome “loyal puppy” ED-209, as they make their way through the city. Lewis is fatally wounded while defending civilians against the rehabs in a lame and early death scene. Robocop is badly injured and is rescued from the rehabs by a group resistance fighters. Nikko, a young genius who lost her parents during the relocation attacks, joins them. To be honest, the events that follow are more than a little embarrassing for everyone involved. Robocop does not appear in the first 20 minutes of the film and when he finally does, it is through a ridiculously over-the-top stunt that is both nonsensical as well as absurd. He drives to the top of the parking lot, then crashes into it and shoots his way out. I guess the writers thought it would be cool for their new prepubescent audience. It wasn’t. The antagonists are another problem with the film. Clarence Boddicker, the villain of the first film, was creepy and menacing. Cane in
Robocop 2, was an effective but not memorable bad buy. Robocop 3, is disappointingly tame. The head of Kanemitsu Corporation, played by Conan, the Barbarian’s Mako, is also underwritten. We also get to see the character of Paul McDagget played by Man Of La Mancha’s Paul Castle. He comes across as a bargain bin Bond villain and yes, the wonderful ninja robotics. We all love ninjas. Especially kids. Bruce Locke, the actor, looked the part with his impressive physique. Unfortunately, the android enforcer named Otomo after Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo is generic and disposable. The idea of pitting a statuesque robot against nimble, agile ninjas could have been great fun, but the fight scenes are uncoordinated. Otomo’s crooked teeth and disfigured face are probably what most people remember about him. Robo is unable to defeat the bad guys on his own without the help of, yep you guessed it, Nikko, the child genius. The franchise never recovered from the third part and not even returning cast members or Jill Hennesey as Dr Lazarus and her witty line, could save it. The final verdict is that Robocop 30 is a mess. The film has some merits. The score is enhanced by the return of Basil Poledouris, and some of its cinematography is decent. But Orion, in a desperate financial situation, gambled too much on this kid-friendly movie. The Canadian-made television series that followed was far worse. LEGACY/NOW:
RoboCop 3, which opened in Japan at number one, grossed 147,695,744 Japanese yen ($1.3 million at the moment) in its first week on 17 screens. It also opened as the number one film in France, grossing 9.6 million French Francs ($1.7 million) on 317 screens. It earned $4.3 million from 1,796 screens in its first weekend, ranking third. The film ended its run in the United States with $10.6 millions. The film received a negative reception from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie a score of 6.4% with an average of 3.20 out 10 and the website’s biting criticism reads: “This asinine second sequel should be arrested.” Chicago Sun Times film critic Roger Ebert awarded the film one and half stars, with the longevity and durability of the characters being a point of contention. “Why do they keep making these retreads?” Because RoboCop has a brand name and this is the new model. It’s a Detroit tradition to take an older design and add some new chrome.” Others, however, were more positive. Reel Film Reviews gave the sequel a two and a quarter star rating, saying that: “The best one can hope for is a film that’s not a chore to sit through. And on that level RoboCop 3 excels.” The film does not hold up when compared to the original. But, at the very least, RoboCop 3 works as a popcorn movie–something part two couldn’t even manage.”Robocop 3, just like its predecessors, also spawned a side-scrolling video game shoot-em-up for DOS systems as well as the Amiga and Atari ST platforms, created by Digital Image Design. There were side-scrolling platforms games for the movie released on the Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum as well as the NES, Super NES Game Gear, Master System and Sega Genesis. What do YOU think of the movie, despite all the criticism this video has directed at Robocop? What do you think of the movie? Please let us know what you think in the comments section below. We’re also sticking around the Robocop-
dystopian world for a little while longer, as with all popular series, you know what’s around the corner. It’s a reboot, that’s right! That’s a story to be told next time on REVISITED. But don’t think they’ve learned from their mistakes.