Robocop 3 (1993) review

Robocop 3 posterDirector: Fred Dekker

Starring: Robert Burke, Remy Ryan, Rip Torn, Nancy Allen, Mako, Stephen Root, CCH Pounder

MCDAGGETT – “In twenty seconds, everything within 30 metres of where we’re standing will be atomised. We’re dead, you stupid slag!”
ROBOCOP – “Don’t count on it, chum.”

The general consensus is that Robocop 3 is a bucket of pish. Oddly, I don’t agree with this.

Maybe it’s because I appreciate the way this one tries to do something different, even if it isn’t always successful. Maybe it’s because I like the Frank Miller script.

Or maybe it’s because I have my own website dedicated to shit films.

Set a while after the events of Robocop 2, Detroit finds itself in another dilemma and once again it’s down to the immensely annoying OCP company.

"If you kids don't stop throwing bags of shit at my house I'm going to rip your lungs out"
“If you kids don’t stop throwing bags of shit at my house I’m going to rip your lungs out”

OCP is determined to build its new Delta City project, a massive collection of skyscrapers and futuristic buildings that it promises will result in a utopian future where Detroit is finally free of crime.

The problem is, a lot of families are living right in the middle of the proposed site for Delta City and, understandably, they aren’t keen on moving (not least because OCP are a collection of thundercocks).

Not too chuffed with this defiance, OCP hires its own ‘rehab’ army (really just a bunch of former mercenaries) and tasks them with forcefully evicting the residents, separating the parents from their children and taking everyone to ‘rehabilitation’ camps. It’s essentially one step away from being filmed in black and white and renamed Robocop’s List.

"Look, I'm called Robocop, not Robomalemodel. Back the fuck off"
“Look, I’m called Robocop, not Robomalemodel. Back the fuck off”

A young girl called Nikko (who thankfully isn’t wearing a red coat) gets caught up in the shitstorm but manages to escape, finding solace with a group of rebels intent on starting an underground resistance.

You may have noticed this is a tad Robo-free so far. Fear not: Robocop’s on his way to fuck these rebels up. Well, he is until he gets a call from his long-time police partner Lewis who tells him she’s in trouble.

Feeling compassion for his friend, Robo ditches his order and rushes across the city to help out Lewis. Naturally, OCP isn’t too chuffed with this and orders Robo’s memories to finally be wiped for good so his conscience doesn’t get in the way of his orders ever again.

Look! ED-209's back! It's not really explained how or why, but shut up
Look! ED-209’s back! It’s not really explained how or why, but shut up

Shortly after this, Robo and Lewis discover a church full of homeless citizens, recently evicted by OCP’s ‘rehab’ mercs. When said mercs turn up to decorate them with bullets, Robocop remembers his first directive – Protect the innocent – and tells them to do one.

The problem is, Robocop still has that pesky fourth directive, the one that says he can’t hurt anyone from OCP, so when the mercs decide to kill Lewis and pin the blame on him he’s unable to do anything about it.

Enraged at the death of his partner, Robocop screams “Fuck this noise” (actually, he doesn’t) and decides to join the resistance in an attempt to bring down OCP and its evil force of mercenaries.

Christ, eh? And the crazy thing is, I haven’t even started listing the numerous ridiculous sights you’ll see before Robocop 3 reaches its conclusion. Allow me to furnish you with a shopping list of sorts.

"I don't know about you, but this is certainly the oddest wedding I've been involved in"
“I don’t know about you, but this is certainly the oddest wedding I’ve been involved in”

One scene sees Robo driving his car off the top of a massive building so he can land on the street below and deal with the criminals there (complete with the brilliantly clichéd line “nice of you to drop in”).

In another, Robo fights a pair of ninja robots, sent to OCP by a Japanese company planning to buy it over and complete the Delta City project.

Then there’s the scene in which Robo, eager to catch up with an enemy truck, steals a pimp’s car and chases after his enemies in said bright pink vehicle, complete with flashing red lights around the dashboard.

Similarly ridiculous is when his foes proceed to fire numerous explosives at said pimpmobile, gradually destroying it until it ends up looking like an elaborate go-kart.

The winners of Detroit's Most Diverse Pop Band 1993 pose for their album cover
The winners of Detroit’s Most Diverse Pop Band 1993 pose for their album cover

Oh, and let’s not forget the bit where he enters the enemy HQ with a flamethrower and, after hearing one of the mercs asking another for a light, responds “allow me, scum” before torching the place.

And don’t even get me started on the flight suit, which is essentially a jetpack which is teased throughout the entire movie and finally used in a glorious conclusion.

With all this in mind, I’m genuinely dumbfounded as to why Robocop 3 is so roundly hated. Sure, the little girl playing Nikko is about as believable as a Max Clifford ‘not guilty’ plea, and the new chap playing Robocop obviously didn’t get the memo that states Robo shouldn’t sound like he smokes 80 Regal a day.

But perhaps you didn’t hear me the first time. Robocop drives a pimpmobile and uses a jetpack. End of discussion.

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HOW CAN I SEE IT?
The standalone version of Robocop 3 is currently out of print in the UK, meaning the only way to get hold of it is by buying the thankfully cheap Robocop trilogy box set on either DVD or Blu-ray. Same deal in Americaland: here’s the DVD and here’s the Blu-ray.

If you’re a Netflix subscriber, it’s also (at the time of writing) available on the UK version of Netflix, but not the US one.

SHOW ME THE TRAILER:

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