Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fred Dekker|
|Produced by||Patrick Crowley|
|Screenplay by||Frank Miller
|Story by||Frank Miller|
by Edward Neumeier
|Music by||Basil Poledouris|
|Cinematography||Gary B. Kibbe|
|Edited by||Bert Lovitt|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Box office||$10.6 million|
RoboCop 3 is a 1993 American cyberpunk action film directed by Fred Dekker and written by Frank Miller and Dekker. The film is the third and final installment of the original RoboCop trilogy. 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.
After the failure of the Robocop program, OCP is on the verge of bankruptcy after a series of failed business plans and drop of stocks, 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, nicknamed "Rehabs," 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. Nikko, a Japanese-American computer whiz kid, loses her parents 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The police force is gradually superseded by the Rehabs, and violent crime begins to spiral out of control.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 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 in order to create Delta City. The company develops and uses its own ninja androids called "Otomo" to help McDaggett and the new 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 Nikko and residents from Cadillac Heights 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 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. RoboCop returns to the rebel base to find it abandoned. One Otomo unit arrives and attacks him. RoboCop experiences another power drain and his left arm and auto gun is destroyed, but eventually he is able to overcome his opponent with his arm-mounted gun. Nikko infiltrates the OCP building and assists a captured 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 Lewis and their salaries and pensions, escalating the rebellion against OCP into a full-scale city war. As a result, McDaggett turns to hiring street gangs and hooligans to assist with his plans.
Having heard Lazarus' broadcast, RoboCop provides aerial support for the entrenched resistance forces. 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 forcing them to attack each other. The Otomos' self-destruct system activates, forcing RoboCop to flee with Nikko and Lazarus. The flaming discharge from the jet-pack immobilizes McDaggett, leaving him to perish in the blast.
As Old Detroit is being cleaned up, Kanemitsu arrives and finally comes face to face with RoboCop and 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.
- Robert Burke as RoboCop
- Nancy Allen as Anne Lewis
- Rip Torn as The CEO
- John Castle as McDaggett
- Jill Hennessy as Dr. Marie Lazarus
- C. C. H. Pounder as Bertha
- Mako as Kanemitsu
- Robert DoQui as Sergeant Reed
- Remy Ryan as Nikko
- Bruce Locke as Otomo
- Stanley Anderson as Zack
- Stephen Root as Coontz
- Daniel von Bargen as Moreno
- Felton Perry as Donald Johnson
- Bradley Whitford as Fleck
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, a source for ideas used 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 malfunctions. The film was also a box office bomb only earning $10 million on a $22 million budget.[clarification needed] 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' 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).
In retrospect, the director, Fred Dekker said: "There’s a misconception about this movie that the studio steamrolled me into doing something I wasn’t comfortable with. The truth is, anything wrong with it is entirely my fault. I had a great cast, a great crew, the support of my producers and the studio, and some of the greatest special effects wizards of all time. I think it really comes down to the script. It was a story by the brilliant Frank Miller, who wrote the first draft—but in the final analysis, it was the wrong story and the wrong script for what an audience wanted from that character. The PG-13 rating didn’t help, since the character’s first two outings were extremely violent and satirical, and that’s really the arena that character belongs in—not a “family” movie." He also said: "Nonetheless, RoboCop 3 was the most enjoyable movie-making experience I've had and, for me, the most accomplished work I've done as a director. In other words, if the movie blows, there's nobody to blame but me."
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