Machiavellian megacorporation OCP have plans to flatten the rundown areas of Detroit to make way for luxurious Delta City. But these plans don't include rehousing the existing population who are being aggressively forced out by a group of armed mercenaries on the company's payroll. Caught in the middle of this violent confrontation is Robocop, who must choose once and for all whose side he's on.
This is the one in which everyone's favourite metallic law enforcer flies around on a jetpack, which pretty much sums up Robocop 3. Gone are the biting satire, the deliciously wanton violence and black humour of the original – all hallmarks of Robocop director Paul Verhoven's films. In its place we have a formulaic family friendly superhero movie in which Robocop becomes a defender of the people against the evil OCP and along the way gathers some Inspector Gadget style accessories. On hand to help is the obligatory cute kid, a young girl who also happens to be a computer whiz, a far cry from the gun toting prepubescent psychopath of Robocop 2. In many ways the whole film is a reaction against the ultra violence of its predecessors, watering down the darker adult elements for a younger audience.
Rushed into production after the successful sequel this final big screen outing for the crime fighting tin man had its release delayed for 2 years which certainly didn't help matters, but the movie is flawed from the outset. Robert John Burke, a familiar face to fans of American indie filmmaker Hal Hartley, replaces Peter Weller in the iconic lead role but is given little to do. Bizarrely Robocop takes a backseat with too much screen time given to the formulaic resistance fighters. When he does turn up it's simply a rehash of what's gone before with monotonous scenes about his humanity adding nothing to the character offset by underwhelming cartoonish action set pieces. Even the prospect of a final battle between our hero and a sleek Japanese samurai cyborg is a total letdown.
So is there anything positive to say about Robocop 3? Well after being absent from Robocop 2 Basil Poledouris returns to composing duties and it's good to hear his bombastic macho score, even if it isn't matched by the visuals. Nancy Allen also returns as Robocop's confidant Officer Lewis but has the good sense to get killed early on, a fate viewers may wish for themselves.
One of the themes of Robocop is that of Officer Murphy losing his humanity and becoming nothing more than a product of a soulless profit obsessed corporation, a pretty accurate description of what happened to the Robocop concept. Because believe it or not Robocop 3 is not as bad as it got, in the intervening years a cartoon show and short-lived live action TV series surfaced which should also be avoided.