RoboCop 3: Collector’s Edition, 1993.
Directed by Fred Dekker.
Starring Robert John Burke, Nancy Allen, Rip Torn, John Castle, Jill Hennessy, C.C.H. Pounder, Mako Iwamatsu, Robert DoQui, and Bruce Locke.
Shout! Factory has released a Collector’s Edition of RoboCop 2, so it’s not a surprise that they did the same for the third installment, which ended the series with a whimper, rather than a bang. Fans, though, will appreciate the nice audio-visual presentation, as well as the included bonus features.
Sometimes a movie, no matter how successful it is, doesn’t really need a sequel. Or the filmmakers may end up exploring all their premise has to offer after two installments. Of course, such considerations bear just about zero weight in Hollywood, where every studio needs as many franchises as it can handle. And sometimes those movie franchise ends up like the fast food franchises that sell the same bland stuff to everyone.
In the case of RoboCop, its sequel, which was also released in a Collector’s Edition by Shout! Factory (and also reviewed at Flickering Myth), could have provided a nice conclusion to the story, had it not been so clunky. However, rather than end on a “This could have been really good, but we’re settling for barely adequate here” note, now-defunct Orion Pictures went with “Let’s hammer this thing into the ground and leave everyone with a bad taste in their mouths.”
The story brings back corporate bad guys Omni Consumer Products (OCP), who hatched plans in the second film to push Detroit into bankruptcy and create the independent Delta City. RoboCop 3 sees OCP continuing with that scheme, using armed security to forcibly relocate residents so they can create Delta City with help from an investment by a Japanese firm, which is, unsurprisingly, creating robot ninjas.
That setup sounds like the recipe for some delicious fun, with RoboCop battling not just run-of-the-mill bad guys but robot ninjas too. However, the studio wanted to deliver a PG-13 film, so the graphic violence went out the window, taking the satirical humor from the first two installments with it. In addition, Peter Weller was busy making Naked Lunch, so Robert Burke stepped into the title role, with mixed results. The end result was a movie that didn’t really appeal to many people, as evidenced by its incredibly poor box office numbers.
Like the RoboCop 2: Collector’s Edition, this film features a pair of commentaries, with the folks behind Robodoc: The Creation of RoboCop returning to talk about the movie (they’re a little too forgiving of it, almost as if they don’t want to harm the success of their documentary). Director Fred Dekker also turns in a commentary, discussing not only his memories of making it but also how and why the film failed. He’s been quoted publicly as saying that the blame falls squarely on him, which is nice to see in an era when many people want to put the fault for their fumbles on others.
The other main bonus piece is a 38-minute making-of featurette that has interviews with Dekker, star Nancy Allen, and others. It’s not all doom-and-gloom, though: they relate some funny tales from the making of the film. A pair of featurettes that talk about the special effects are also included, as well as interviews with actors Felton Perry (OCP executive director Donald Johnson in all three films) and Bruce Locke, who played the ninja robots. Martial arts trainer Bill Ryusaki joins Locke to talk about the training needed to play robot assassins.
Finally, there are a stills gallery and the theatrical trailer.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★