Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fred Dekker|
|Produced by||Patrick Crowley|
|Screenplay by||Frank Miller
|Story by||Frank Miller|
|Based on||Characters by
|Starring||Robert John Burke
C. C. H. Pounder
|Music by||Basil Poledouris|
|Cinematography||Gary B. Kibbe|
|Edited by||Bert Lovitt|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures (1993, film) MGM (DVD, 2004)|
|Running time||104 minutes|
RoboCop 3 is a 1993 American science fiction action film directed by Fred Dekker and written by Frank Miller and Dekker. Set in the near future in a dystopian metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, RoboCop 3 follows RoboCop (Robert John Burke) as he vows to avenge the death of his partner Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) and tries to save Detroit from falling into chaos. It was filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. Most of the buildings seen in the film were slated for demolition to make way for facilities for the 1996 Olympics. Nancy Allen, Robert DoQui, Felton Perry, Mario Machado, and Angie Bolling are the only cast members to appear in all three films.
In 2035, years after the Robocop 2 scandal, Omni Consumer Products (OCP) is on the verge of bankruptcy after a series of failed business plans, and are now struggling with their plans to create the new Delta City. To speed up the process, OCP creates an armed force called the Urban Rehabilitators ("Rehabs" for short), under the command of Paul McDaggett (John Castle). Ostensibly its purpose is to combat rising crime in Old Detroit, augmenting the ranks of the Detroit Police Department in apprehending violent criminals. In reality, it has been set up to forcibly relocate the residents of Cadillac Heights, killing some of them (including the parents of Nikko, a Japanese-American computer whiz kid) in the process.
The police force is gradually superseded by the Rehabs, and violent crime begins to spiral out of control. The Delta City dream of the former OCP CEO, "Old Man", lives on with the help of the Japanese zaibatsu Kanemitsu Corporation, which has bought a controlling stake in OCP and is trying to finance the plan. Kanemitsu (Mako), CEO of the Kanemitsu Corporation sees the potential in the citywide redevelopment, and moves forward with the plans to remove the current citizens. The company develops and uses its own ninja androids (called "Otomo") to help McDaggett and the OCP president (Rip Torn) overcome the resistance of anti-OCP militia forces.
RoboCop (Burke) and partner Anne Lewis (Allen) try to defend civilians from the Rehabs one night, but Lewis is mortally wounded by McDaggett and eventually dies. Unable to fight back because of his "Fourth Directive" programming, RoboCop is saved by members of a resistance movement composed of residents from Cadillac Heights (of which Nikko has also become a part) and eventually joins them. Due to severe damage sustained in the shoot-out, RoboCop's systems efficiency plummets, and he asks the resistance to summon Dr. Lazarus, one of the scientists who created him. Upon arrival she begins to treat him, deleting the Fourth Directive in the process. During an earlier raid on an armory, the resistance picked up a jet-pack prototype, originally intended for RoboCop's use, which Lazarus modifies and upgrades to hold RoboCop.
After recovering from his injuries, RoboCop conducts a one-man campaign against the Rehabs, and now wages a war against OCP. He finds McDaggett and attempts to subdue him, but McDaggett is able to escape. McDaggett then obtains information from a disgruntled resistance member (Stephen Root) regarding the location of the resistance fighters' base. The Rehabs attack and most of the resistance members are either killed or taken prisoner. Nikko escapes with Lazarus before the doctor is captured and taken to OCP headquarters.
RoboCop returns to the rebel base to find it abandoned. One of the Otomo ninjabots then arrives and attacks him. RoboCop experiences another power drain and his left arm is destroyed, but eventually he is able to overcome his opponent with his arm-mounted gun. Meanwhile Nikko infiltrates the OCP building and assists Lazarus in broadcasting an improvised video, revealing OCP's responsibility for the criminality in the city and implicating them in the removal and killing of the Cadillac Heights residents. The broadcast causes OCP's stock to plunge, driving the company into financial ruin and bankruptcy.
Meanwhile, McDaggett decides to execute an all-out strike against Cadillac Heights with the help of the Detroit police, but the police officers, enraged at the company's sadistic ways, refuse to comply and instead defect to the resistance in order to get revenge for Anne and their salaries and pensions, escalating the rebellion against OCP into a full-scale war with the Detroit's residents and police force versus OCP and the Kanemitsu Corporation. As a result, McDaggett turns to hiring street gangs and hooligans to assist with his plans.
Having heard Lazarus' broadcast, RoboCop takes to the air using the jet-pack. As the combined forces of the Rehabs and street gangs are about to wipe out the rebels and Detroit police, RoboCop mounts an aerial assault on the attackers, leading to their defeat. He then proceeds to the OCP building and confronts the waiting McDaggett. RoboCop is then attacked, and nearly defeated, by two Otomo robots. Nikko and Lazarus succeed in reprogramming them using a wireless link from a laptop computer, however, forcing them to attack each other. This triggers a self-destruct sequence, forcing RoboCop to flee with Nikko and Lazarus. The flaming discharge from the jetpack immobilizes McDaggett, leaving him to perish in the blast.
As Old Detroit is being cleaned up, Kanemitsu arrives and finally comes face to face RoboCop along with his group, while his translator (Doug Yasuda) tells the OCP president on Kanemitsu's behalf that he is fired. as the corporation shuts down OCP for good and plans to leave Detroit. Kanemitsu then bows to RoboCop and the group in respect. The now unemployed OCP president turns to RoboCop and, trying to be friendly, says, "Well, I gotta hand it to you. What do they call you? Murphy, is it?" RoboCop replies to the CEO, "My friends call me Murphy. You call me RoboCop."
- Robert John Burke – RoboCop / Alex J. Murphy
- Nancy Allen – Anne Lewis
- Remy Ryan – Nikko Halloran
- Mario Machado – Casey Wong
- Bruce Locke – Otomo
- Jodi Long – Keiko Halloran, Nikko's Mom
- John Posey – David Halloran, Nikko's Dad
- Rip Torn – OCP President
- Mako – Kanemitsu
- Felton Perry – OCP Vice President Donald Johnson
- John Castle – Commander Paul McDaggett
- Jill Hennessy – Dr. Marie Lazarus
- S.D. Nemeth – Bixby Snyder
- Robert DoQui – Sgt. Warren Reed
- Bradley Whitford – Jeffrey Fleck
- C. C. H. Pounder – Bertha
- Daniel von Bargen – Moreno
- Stanley Anderson – Zack
- Stephen Root – Coontz
- Eva LaRue Callahan – Debbie Dix
- Jeff Garlin – Donut Jerk
- Lee Arenberg – Hold-Up Man
The film was directed by Fred Dekker, a director primarily known for cult horror films (Night of the Creeps, The Monster Squad). Popular graphic novelist Frank Miller returned to write the screenplay for the film. Still optimistic that he could make an impression in Hollywood, Miller accepted the job of writing RoboCop 3, hoping that some of his excised ideas would make it into the second sequel. Major themes of the plot were taken from Miller's original (rejected) draft of RoboCop 2. Disillusioned after finding that his work was even more drastically altered than before, Miller left Hollywood until the 2005 adaptation of his work Sin City. “[Working on RoboCop 2 and 3] I learned the same lesson,” Miller said in 2005. “Don’t be the writer. The director’s got the power. The screenplay is a fire hydrant, and there’s a row of dogs around the block waiting for it.” Miller's original screenplay for RoboCop 2, and source for major ideas in Robocop 3, was later turned into a nine-part comic book series called Frank Miller's RoboCop.
The star of the previous films, Peter Weller, did not reprise the role, as he was starring in Naked Lunch. Robert John Burke was signed to play the cyborg character instead. The RoboCop suit Burke wore in the movie was originally built for RoboCop 2 (1990). Since Burke was taller than Weller, he complained that wearing it was painful after a short time. Other important casting changes had to be made for the third film. The actor who played the OCP CEO from the previous two films, Dan O'Herlihy, was absent from this film. The cast changes meant that Nancy Allen, Robert DoQui, Felton Perry, Mario Machado and Angie Bolling are the only supporting cast actors to appear in all three films.
RoboCop 3 went into production soon after RoboCop 2 was complete. Initially scheduled for release in the summer of 1992, RoboCop 3 would languish on the shelf until the following year as Orion Pictures went through bankruptcy and was bought out. RoboCop 3 earned $4.3 million on its opening weekend, ending its run with $10.6 million domestically, far short of recouping its estimated $22 million production budget.
After RoboCop 2's score which was composed by Leonard Rosenman, the RoboCop original composer Basil Poledouris returned to do the soundtrack score and brought back many of the RoboCop themes that were missing from RoboCop 2.
RoboCop 3 was panned by critics for its plot and several cinematic glitches. Rotten Tomatoes gives RoboCop 3 a score of 3% based on 30 reviews, with an average score of 3.1 out of 10.
Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert gives the film 1½ stars, disputing the characters's longevity and comparing the series to the Detroit car manufacturing industry, "Why do they persist in making these retreads? Because 'RoboCop' is a brand name, I guess, and this is this year's new model. It's an old tradition in Detroit to take an old design and slap on some fresh chrome."
David Nusair from Reel Film Reviews rates the film as 2½ stars, stating, "The best one could hope for is a movie that's not an ordeal to sit through, and on that level, RoboCop 3 certainly excels. When placed side-by-side with the original, the film doesn't quite hold up. But, at the very least, RoboCop 3 works as a popcorn movie—something part two couldn't even manage."
Other points of criticism in this movie include curtailing the graphic violence of the first two films (deliberately done in order to be more family friendly material), less humor and the absence of Peter Weller in the title role (replaced by Robert John Burke).
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