I knew it was a bad sign when Peter Weller passed on the role of RoboCop in the third film. Having finally watched this train wreck for the first time, I don’t blame him. It’s almost hard to believe how many bad ideas and cliches are woven into this turd. Beyond all of that is the more troubling realization that, as far as protagonists go, RoboCop is a dead end with no room to grow. Although he is capable of making decisions based on emotions, he is basically a zombie with no personality – not exactly someone you want to spend a whole lot of time with.
OCP (the fascist corporation that has been trying to take over Detroit) still hasn’t gotten anywhere. You’d think by the third film OCP would be in the midst of building their dystopian Delta City. It certainly would have made for a more interesting setting than boring old downtown Detroit. They’ve formed a Nazi-like regime (led by a snooty Englishman) to forcibly evict people.
We’re soon introduced to Nico, one of the film’s more annoying characters. Of course, she’s a kid genius who can hack into robots and computers using her laptop computer. After being separated from her parents, she befriends a group of libertarian revolutionaries that are trying to resist OCP by hiding in the sewers. When RoboCop sees the plight of the people he decides to join their cause. The audience, on the other hand, will find it hard to identify with the rebels. Why are they willing to give up their lives for such deplorable living conditions?
In a lame reference to Detroit’s failing auto industry, OCP has been taken over by a Japanese rival. To make matters even more stupid, the Japanese company sends over a Terminator-like ninja robot to fight RoboCop, even though RoboCop and the police force are owned and operated by OCP. Don’t get excited; the inevitable duel between RoboCop and the ninja is (and I say this without hyperbole) one of the worst fight scenes ever put on film.
The story is also painfully predictable. In one scene, a nameless officer approaches Murphy’s old partner and asks, “Hey, want this body armor?” which she declines because she’s “off-duty”. You guessed it, she gets shot and killed in the next scene. When the rebels steal a futuristic jetpack from the police armory, you know that somewhere down the line RoboCop’s going to be flying around like a jackass, which he does in the “grand” finale. The visual effects are even more embarrassing when you consider that Jurassic Park was in theaters that same year.
The RoboCop series started out ok, but it quickly degenerated into a creatively-bankrupt mess once director Paul Verhoeven left and Frank Miller started writing them. While RoboCop 2 was pretty awful, the third film is almost unwatchable. The characters are annoying, the action is boring, the special effects are terrible, and the plot makes no sense. It’s a prime example of how not to make a sequel, and I implore you not to waste your time watching it. I decided to review it and it was on Netflix instant stream, so that’s my excuse. I shudder to think that this franchise is slated for a reboot.
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