RoboCop 3 is a 1993 American cyberpunk action film directed by Fred Dekker and written by Dekker and Frank Miller. It stars Robert John Burke, Nancy Allen and Rip Torn. Set in the near future in a dystopian metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, the plot centers around RoboCop (Burke) as he vows to avenge the death of his partner Anne Lewis (Allen) and save Detroit from falling into chaos, while evil conglomerate OCP, run by its villainous CEO (Torn), advances its tyrannical program to have the city default on its debts. 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 Summer Olympics that were held in the city.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fred Dekker|
|Produced by||Patrick Crowley|
|Story by||Frank Miller|
|Based on||Characters by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner|
|Music by||Basil Poledouris|
|Cinematography||Gary B. Kibbe|
|Edited by||Bert Lovitt|
|Distributed by||Orion Pictures|
|Box office||$10.6 million|
RoboCop 3 is the first film to use digital morphing in more than one scene. The film was a critical and commercial failure, only grossing $10 million worldwide against its $22 million budget, making it the least profitable film of the RoboCop franchise.
The city of Detroit 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. Conglomerate Omni Consumer Products (OCP) are set to have the city default on their debt before purchasing the entire city. To speed up the process, OCP creates an armed force called the Urban Rehabilitators, nicknamed "Rehabs," under the command of Paul McDaggett. 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The police force is gradually superseded by the Rehabs, and violent crime begins to spiral out of control.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 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, 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 overcome the resistance of anti-OCP militia forces.
RoboCop and partner Anne Lewis 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 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 Anne and their salaries and pensions, escalating the rebellion against OCP into a full-scale 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, however, forcing them to attack each other. The Otomos' self-destruct system activate, 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 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 CEO compliments RoboCop and asks for his name, to which he responds with, "My friends call me Murphy. You call me RoboCop."
- Robert John Burke as Alex Murphy/RoboCop
- Remy Ryan as Nikko Halloran
- Bruce Locke as Otomo
- Nancy Allen as Anne Lewis
- Jodi Long as Keiko Halloran
- John Posey as David Halloran
- Rip Torn as The CEO
- Mako as Kanemitsu
- Felton Perry as Donald Johnson
- John Castle as Paul McDaggett
- Jill Hennessy as Dr. Marie Lazarus
- Robert DoQui as Sgt. Warren Reed
- Bradley Whitford as Jeffrey Fleck
- CCH Pounder as Bertha
- Daniel von Bargen as Moreno
- Stanley Anderson as Zack
- Stephen Root as Coontz
- Eva LaRue Callahan as Debbie Dix
- S.D. Nemeth as Bixby Snyder
- Mario Machado as Casey Wong
Development and writing
The film was directed by Fred Dekker, a director primarily known for cult horror films (Night of the Creeps, The Monster Squad). Comic author Frank Miller, who co-wrote RoboCop 2, returned to write the screenplay for the film. Still optimistic that he could make an impression in Hollywood, Miller hoped that some of his ideas excised from RoboCop 2 would make it into RoboCop 3. 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, 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 of RoboCop, 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.
Recognizing that RoboCop's fan base consisted primarily of children, Orion Pictures cut down on the graphic violence that was seen as the defining characteristic of the first two 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.
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 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.
RoboCop 3 was near universally panned by critics. The film was also a bomb at the box office only earning $10 million on a $22 million budget. Rotten Tomatoes gives RoboCop 3 a score of 3% based on 30 reviews, with an average score of 3.1/10. Metacritic rates it 40 out of 100 based on 15 critic reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Richard Harrington from the Washington Post says the movie is "hardly riveting and often it's downright silly. The sets and effects betray their downsized budget."
Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert gave the film one and a half stars, disputing the characters' longevity. "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 gave the film two and a half 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), less humor, and the absence of Peter Weller in the title role.
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