RoboCop 3

Directed By: Fred Dekker

Starring: Robert John Burke, Nancy Allen, Rip Torn, John Castle, Jill Hennessy, Mako, and C. C. H. Pounder

If I thought RoboCop 2 was outdated when it arrived in theaters, you can probably guess what I think about Murphy's third outing in Detroit.  By the time RoboCop 3 arrived in theaters, the science fiction genre had changed forever.  All I need to make my case is that the Tyrannosaurus Rex had already roared on the big screen and elevated our expectations for where a sci-fi film could take us.  RoboCop 3 arrived after Jurassic Park had changed things for good.  Cheap graphics reminiscent of the 80s were no longer acceptable.  Cartoonish storylines did not have a home in the genre.  Clunky figures who move like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz had past their expiration date.  To the utmost extent, RoboCop 3 was an outdated film.

Old Detroit has gone to hell.  Flirting with bankruptcy, Omni Consumer Products (OCP) is more determined than ever to realize the Old Man's dream of launching Delta City, and they will build it upon the ruins of Detroit if they must.  The OCP President (Rip Torn) has hired mercenaries to form an armed force known as the Urban Rehabilitators (Rehabs).  They've been publicly charged with augmenting the Detroit PD and helping to reduce the runaway crime rate in the city.  Under the command of Paul McDaggett (John Castle), however, the Rehabs are actually tearing residents away from their homes by any means necessary and clearing the neighborhoods for Delta City.  As a result, a rebel militia has risen up to fight back against the Rehabs.  With a gang known as the Splatter Punks bringing down a reign of terror and the cops sitting on the sidelines, the oppressive capitalist pigs at OCP are ripping the Motor City apart.

The police are mostly staying out of the turmoil.  Nonetheless, there are two cops who are willing to get in the mix, Officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) and Officer Alex Murphy (Robert John Burke), who's better known by his moniker RoboCop.  When the Rehabs launch an attack on some rebels hiding in a local church, RoboCop and Lewis step in to save the day.  They just don't realize how much firepower McDaggett and his Rehabs are carrying.  The Rehabs fatally wound Lewis and blow RoboCop halfway to hell.  As fate would have it, the very rebels whom RoboCop intended to protect end up giving him shelter.  OCP brands him a fugitive, and they send ninja androids called "Otomo" (Bruce Locke) after Murphy.  The fate of Detroit rests in this ailing cyborg's hands, and his fate rests in the rebels' hands.

RoboCop 3 might just be the most unrealistic sci-fi film I've ever seen.  We've got a lovesick Murphy who obsesses over one woman after another.  His attachment to females is pretty baffling considering his machinery is missing a few necessary parts.  I'm equally baffled by how the orphaned Nikko Halloran (Remy Ryan) manages to take control of OCP machinery like the ED-209 with the click of a button.  It's never been that turnkey to hack electronics, even back in those days.  Lastly, we have the Otomo, OCP's ninja androids.  Aside from being in poor taste, I doubt anyone took these guys seriously for a second.  The inclusion of these silly robots is exactly the kind of cartoonish filmmaking that was no longer acceptable at this point.

The cast isn't exactly stellar either.  Like Michael Keaton who chose not to suit up again as the Caped Crusader after Batman Returns, Weller opted not to portray Officer Murphy one more time in this third outing.  He could see the franchise's declining quality for what it was.  In Weller's absence, what we are left with in RoboCop 3 is a rather stiff performance from Robert John Burke.  It doesn't help that they cut their biggest asset loose early in the film in Nancy Allen.  Otherwise, we're left with an assortment of poor actors who add nothing to the movie whatsoever.

RoboCop 3 is an example of a blockbuster where everything goes wrong.  Don't break out the popcorn for this one.  Break out the shot glasses.  I have no earthly idea of what will get the job done for you so that you can endure the worst of the RoboCop trilogy.  With this in mind, I'm going to recommend the only thing I can, mystery shots!  RoboCop 3 gets a wasted rating.