February 9, 2016
Redux: RoboCop 3.
Redux Review #006: RoboCop 3.
Robert John Burke (RoboCop / Alex J. Murphy), Nancy Allen (Anne Lewis), Remy Ryan (Nikko Halloran), Rip Torn (OCP President), John Castle (Commander Paul McDaggett), Jill Hennessy (Dr. Marie Lazarus), Mako (Kanemitsu), C. C. H. Pounder (Bertha), Felton Perry (OCP Vice President Donald Johnson), Robert DoQui (Sgt. Warren Reed), Bruce Locke (Otomo), Bradley Whitford (Jeffrey Fleck), and Mario Machado (Casey Wong) Directed by Fred Dekker.
Welcome to a Redux Review of the original RoboCop 3 film, which is a revised review meant to say more about the movie as a whole. The rating will stay the same, but I feel that this Redux is necessary (which I could say for a good deal the original batch of reviews). Not to worry, there will be new reviews on the way, but I feel that the upcoming Redux Reviews are necessary to help better the evolution of Movie Night, and to help alleviate the unintentional month long hiatus. Enjoy.
Yes, RoboCop 3. If you've seen the other two Redux Reviews, I went into a good amount of words to express a variety of opinions for a movie that was really good...and the one that was a disappointment. With this, it's not hard to say why this movie isn't good, or even passable, though the younger me kinda thought it was okay (still, I gave it a 5, but even a mediocre movie can be enjoyable at times). With the third movie, the expectations are extremely low, and the fact that the movie was actually shelved (according to the 1992 copyright) due to the bankruptcy of Orion Pictures. In fact, the movie was filmed in buildings slated to be torn down for the 1996 Olympics (if there's an irony, I hope you find it) in Atlanta. Peter Weller did not want any part of this movie (deciding to do Naked Lunch and not have to deal with the bulky suit once again), and Nancy Allen did the movie only on the condition that she would be killed off (and probably some money too, but hey, I can't imagine why). There is also no more Dan O'Herlihy as the head of OCP, instead being replaced by Rip Torn. The makers decided to make the movie PG-13 oriented (because of the belief that kids were part of the fanbase - which I believe in the sense that kids watched because of their parents) instead of R, which meant lowering the amount of violence (in a sense). Once again, Frank Miller returned to write the story and screenplay (along with Dekker), but it doesn't matter all too much. Despite all of this...I can't say I hate this movie.
Don't get me wrong, it is a movie dead on arrival, with no chance at being anything but a lackluster movie made to try and make money (and failing)...but still. This is a movie where RoboCop not only fights robot ninjas, but also flies in a jet pack for the climax of the movie. I can't even be angry at the nondescript villain (easily the worst villain in the trilogy), because this is a movie that has nothing going for it. Burke is not exactly miscast as RoboCop, but after two movies with Peter Weller that were probably one of the best aspects for both movies, Burke comes off as less memorable and more robotic sounding. and he doesn't have much time to develop any chemistry with any of the characters. Rip Torn doesn't get much to do, but he is at least amusing in a thankless role. C. C. H. Pounder is mildly enjoyable, and Felton Perry does a reasonable (if not brief) performance once again. Of all the actors that had been in the other movies, Robert DoQui is my favorite, and I guess its probably because he just seems more at ease with being in these movies, whether good or bad. Mako is indeed in the movie...for maybe 5-10 minutes. Seriously, he says a few lines about how he will send his robot ninja (Otomo) to deal with the Resistance problem, and he bows to RoboCop at the end of the movie. I had forgotten about Remy Ryan and her computer whiz kid character...at the age of 8. Clearly, it was a preparation for Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, and I can't figure out which is worse. Naturally there's a character named Lazarus, because either a 9th grader thought of the name after learning it in English class, or because it sounded cool (you decide). Hennessey is okay, but no good (or great) performance can save a movie that looks destined for TV-movie status.
And yet, I can't help but laugh at the ridiculous aspects. For example, the jet pack scene. There had been foreshadowing (or outright hints) of it throughout the movie, and though it is first used as a way for RoboCop to charge himself (not as a phone, mind you), you just know it is coming. When it does happen (in the midst of a battle between OCP and the Resistance/cops), RoboCop takes his sweet time in getting to the crux of the fight (which already had punk mercenaries and a granny packing an Uzi)...and he promptly fires a rocket into an OCP tank that blows it up (and fires a few shots at some mercenaries), which apparently wins the battle. But my particular favorite is his confrontation with not one, but two ninja robots (because one's not enough, and I guess Kanemitsu sent 3 robots and not one as it implied)...and the kid programmer and Lazerus program two robots with swords to chop each other off in a matter of seconds. Remember how I said logic is dead? RoboCop 3 resurrects it, then it kills it all over again, complete with 90's cheese. Afterwards, RoboCop has to escape the self-destruct that activated when the two robots destroyed each other (okay), and the villain is stopped...by the flame discharge by the jetpack, which means he can't stop the self-destruct. The fact that this villain is such a non-threat that never comes off as having any sort of personality or brutality in him means you can barely enjoy his defeat.
Basil Poledouris does at least return to score the music, and while a good chunk of it is from the first film, it is refreshing to hear that main theme once again (after RoboCop shoots up his roof with his gun - yes I'm serious), even if the movie has no sense of emotional depth. At least it doesn't reset RoboCop to having to find his human side again, but I'm amazed at the ineptness of OCP still having to get Delta City off the ground, but the idea of a Resistance fighting off against corporate bad guys is exactly what you think it is. I can understand someone really hating the movie, but for me personally, it's a stupid (but silly) movie.
And so ends my Redux Recap Trilogy on the three RoboCop movies. I hoped you enjoyed the reviews, and I promise you there will be more material (including Redux Reviews on another famous trilogy covered once before), but especially new reviews, coming soon. Stay tuned.
Overall, I give it 5 out of 10 stars.