Robocop 3

Year: 1993

Production: Orion

Director: Fred Dekker

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

Screenwriter: Frank Miller, Fred Dekker

From a story by Frank Miller, based on the characters created by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner

105 minutes; Color

This is an advance on the expensive, disappointing mess of Robocop 2 (1990) only insofar as it is a cheap, disappointing mess. Residual goodwill from the original Robocop (1987) has been stripped by sequels, comic books, an animated series, and a tv spin-off.

In a devolution of the surprisingly sophisticated comic book politics of the first film, the Evil American Corporation has been taken over by an Evil Japanese Corporation and mercenaries led by another well-spoken Brit (Castle) are massacring the homeless in downtown Detroit. The script, co-written by comics guru Miller, busily introduces a host of new characters, from feisty homeless terrorists to creey corporate types, then, as an afterthought, squeezes in Robocop himself (Burke) for a silly and not-very-well-done finale in which he sprouts a flying pack and zooms through the air. The hero's partner (Allen) is killed off early to make room for younger, less talented, less interesting femme interest, bimbo scientist Hennessy and cute computer whiz Ryan.

Dekker holds back the violence to get a PG-13 rating, though this means major plot points like the murders of Ryan's parents are almost completely lost, and misinterprets Paul Verhoeven's satire by having all the supporting cast overact like sit-com geeks. Though Burke is as skilled as Peter Weller in acting with only his grim mouth, he is less comfortable with hardware. Weller's Robocop was a living monolith but Burke's is a lumbering action figure; it's obvious from the tricky way Dekker films Robo getting into cars or climbing through manholes that it is actually impossible for anyone in that suit to perform simple human tasks like sitting down much less take on dozens of heavily-armed bad guys.

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction

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