Welcome to the final film of the original Robocop trilogy of films! We’re only a few days away from the release of the Robocop reboot film. And it’s something I’m kind of dreading. After watching the first two films of the original film series, I have to say they still hold up to today’s standards. Maybe I’m just blinded by nostalgia but I still say they’re really good movies. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the third film, the aptly named Robocop 3.
Unlike my reviews of Robocop 1 and 2, this review will have some SPOILERS. Why? Because, well, I have a decent number of issues I have with the plot and how they don’t really fit in the established “feel” of the other two films.
Oh, and because they pretty much give you the entire film in the goddamn trailer!
Robocop 3 takes place a couple of years after the events of Robocop 2. Omni Consumer Products, or OCP, is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the company’s inability to construct Delta City, which has been in the works since the first film. OCP has been bought out by the Kanemitsu Corporation, a Japanese conglomerate to augment their finances. In order to get rid of the last remaining residents of Cadillac Heights, the last remaining holdout area for the construction of Delta City, OCP sends Urban Rehabilitator units, Rehabs, to “relocate” them.
During one of the fights, Robocop comes across a group of Rehabs are about to take out some of the “rebels.” Citing the first two of his Prime Directives (Server the public trust and Protect the innocent), Robocop rebels from the police force and sides with the residents of Cadillac Heights.
Now, right there, I already have an issue with the overall plot. The previous two films portrayed OCP as an untouchable company. A company with an incredibly good PR firm that can spin any disaster to their favor. OCP didn’t seem like they were in financial trouble before but, now they’re bankrupt? This is a company that purchased the entire city of Detroit and its police force a few years back!
The acting also doesn’t fare well this time. Peter Weller did not return to portray Alex Murphy in Robocop 3. The Old Man isn’t anywhere to be found (explained by him being “fired” by the Kanemitsu Corp. after the takeover). These were two of the reasons why the first two films were a success but they aren’t here! The guy that put on the Robocop suit is okay, I guess. But he lacked the subtle “human” element that Weller gave the character. The new CEO of OCP is played by Rip Torn. He’s definitely not as charismatic as The Old Man. He comes off more like a shyster or used car dealer than a CEO of a huge conglomerate.
The new characters are pretty lousy throughout. Nikko, the genius whiz kid, looks out of place. Dr. Lazarus, the scientist lead that maintains Robocop is just… too nice. The rebels of Cadillac Heights act like bumbling idiots, which made me wonder why the Rehabs are having so much trouble taking them down! I guess the only new characters I liked was the new VP of Security Concepts, played by Bradley Whitford… too bad he commits suicide off camera, and CCH Pounder as the rebel leader. But I liked her because of how much she overacted!
But the worst thing about the movie is how they toned down every thing! This was the first Robocop to be rated as PG-13. As such, a lot of the adult themes had to be excised from the film. Besides one commercial for an action figure, the humorous commercials are gone. The outrageous levels of violence have been toned down to make it more “child friendly.”
Is Robocop 3 a bad movie? Yes, it is. It’s currently rated at 3% “fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes. But it’s a bad movie that doesn’t deserve such a low rating. It’s a bad movie that’s almost enjoyable because of how bad it is.
It’s an excellent example of how movie companies think they can crank out any film with a popular franchise name on it it’ll make money. I hope the reboot will not fall prey to this trap.
Have you watched Robocop 3? What’s your take on the film? Please put your thoughts on it in the comments section below!