Robocop 3 (1993) – Fred Dekker

Whatever good will was left after the less than stellar Robocop 2 was absolutely lost with the final instalment in the series, and my latest stop on my way through the Sci-Fi Chronicles book.

Sacrificing their R-rating to appeal to a broader audience was their first mistake (the fact that there was an animated series aimed at kids meant the studio had to tone down everything for the theatre-goers), add to the fact that Peter Weller didn’t return to don the suit for the third time, and you’ve got a film that was destined to be less than dynamic.

Robert John Burke dons the suit this time, and while he is an adequate actor, he didn’t bring to it the movement and style that Weller brought. Even Nancy Allen wanted little to do with it, and I’m sure she was delighted with the fate of her character.

It does have a recognisable cadre of actors who are doing their best with the material given them, Cch Pounder, Rip Torn, Bradley Whitford, Jill Hennessey, Stephen Root and Daniel von Bargen.

Then when you throw a little kid into the mix, a young hacker, Nikko (Remy Ryan) you are just asking for the younger viewing audience, and alienating the older fans of the series.

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Gone is the heavy satire and cynicism that was so embedded in the original film that it plays like a family friendly TV movie that is but the palest shadow of the original.

Dekker has made two films I did enjoy, House, and the perfect 80s family monster movie, The Monster Squad, but this one feels like a swing and a miss. Of course, there really isn’t much they could do with the Robocop character after the first film, his emotional arc had already been resolved, there was nowhere else for him to go. So without an emotional journey to take the viewers on, Dekker was left with a script that catered to less than wowing action sequences and no real themes or ideas.

The story, such at is, sees Robocop rebelling against his corporate overlords at OCP, once again, as he sides with the people he’s been programmed to protect. These same people are being evicted by OCP and their new parent company, and it’s up to Robocop and the police to fight for what is right, even if it means taking on robotic ninjas.

What started out as a dark, violent,satiric series that took shots at the media, yuppie consumerism, and violent America, has, by its end, become the very thing it was created against, it plays to consumerism (it’s trying to promote its brand by broadening its audience reach by making it more family friendly) and it glorifies in its PG-13 violence.

Sigh.

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