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Fred Dekker
Robert John Burke, Mario Machado, Remy Ryan, Jodi Long, John Posey, Rip Torn, Mako, John Castle, S.D. Nemeth
Writing Credits:
Edward Neumeier (characters), Michael Miner (characters), Frank Miller, Fred Dekker

Back on line. Back on duty.

When the ruthless corporation that runs Motor City begins kicking families out of their homes to clear space for a profitable new real estate project, Robocop (Robert John Burke) joins forces with a renegade band of freedom fighters to save them. But Robocop must face some deadly foes, including a lethally efficient android and a dangerous gang of thugs. Robocop's latest arsenal of high-tech weaponry only somewhat evens the battlefield, as this lone superhero takes on the entire army of a corporate militia in an all-out war to control Detroit!

Box Office:
$22 million.
Opening Weekend
$4.300 million on (unknown) screens.
Domestic Gross
$10.696 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $14.95
Release Date: 6/8/2004

• Trailer
• Booklet


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Robocop 3: The Robocop Trilogy (1993)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 10, 2004)

While 1987ís Robocop offered something new and innovative and also turned into a surprise hit, 1990ís Robocop 2 fell short of its predecessor. Its box office gross wasnít too far below that of the original, but it didnít inspire many positive reactions from fans or critics, and itís come to be seen as a bomb.

Since Robocop 2 generally flopped, I didnít expect to see another entry in the series. I was wrong, as 1993 brought Robocop 3. However, it didnít resuscitate the series. It did much worse than 2 with a gross of only $10 million. With its ďPG-13Ē rating, it also lost the grittiness of the first two and tried to make the bloody world of Robocop more family friendly.

As with the first two flicks, 3 starts with another Media Break. Through it we learn that Omni Consumer Products (OCP) - the group that runs trhe Detroit police force - still pushes for a new development called Delta City. This requires the eviction of current residents, so OCP sends a brutish military force called ďRehabsĒ to drive out those folks.

Rebels fight against this, and we initially see Bertha (CCH Pounder) strike back with bombs to stop OCPís takeover. She rescues young Nikko (Remy Ryan) when the child gets separated from her parents. The techno-savvy Nikko helps the rebels subdue ED-209 when they invade the police armory, and the cops chase them after they steal weapons. Robocop (Robert Burke) needs to chase the rebels, but he abandons that hunt when Splatter Punks terrorize his partner Lewis (Nancy Allen) and other cops.

In addition to the rebels, other problems plague OCP. A Japanese corporation buys the company, and OCP CEO (Rip Torn) gets pressure from their chief Kanemitsu (Mako) because Delta City falls behind schedule. The CEO wants Robo to battle the resistance, and he gives Rehab team leader McDaggett (John Castle) four days to clear out Cadillac City, the future location of development. In addition, Kanemitsu sends warrior Otomo (Bruce Locke) to deal with the problem.

OCP Dr. Marie Lazarus (Jill Hennessy) nurses Robo back to help. She resists when OCP exec Fleck (Bradley Whitford) orders her to remove his emotional functioning after Robo disobeys an order to help Lewis. She says sheíll insert a bypass chip but doesnít do it. Robo and Lewis go to the church hideout of the rebels, and the Rehabs converge on it right after that to remove the squatters. Robo stands up to the Rehabs to protect them, but Lewis gets shot in the melee and dies. She implores him to solve the problem, and Nikko recruits Robo for the rebels. The rest of the film follows the battles between the two sides.

A more talented director might pull off this nonsense, but Fred Dekker? No offense to him, but he fits the definition of a no-name. The first flick boasted Paul Verhoeven, who achieved success with subsequent flicks such as Basic Instinct and Total Recall, while 2 utilized Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back. What else does Dekker have to his credit? Not much, and heís not directed anything since 1993.

Granted, I donít think David Lean could have done anything with the silly mush that is Robocop 3. I knew I was in for trouble when I saw an in-movie display that misspelled ďAnneĒ for Lewis as ďAnnĒ. Thatís badly sloppy and sets the stage for a far below average movie.

In this flick, we see Robo become the surrogate father to an orphaned cutie. I should stop my review there, as I donít think thereís much else you need to know about the way this movie will go. Or maybe you do need to know more. In 3, we also see a) Robo drive a pimpmoble; b) ninja robots, and c) a flying Robocop. Yikes!

Really, 3 goes for more of a wacky comedic vibe than the prior flicks, and it loses the originalís deliciously dark and cynical wit. It shoots for goofier and more obvious laughs and lacks the first movieís bite. None of the gags connect.

Do any of the action sequences redeem this? Not in the least. The movie uses chases and explosions in attempts to bring out life, but they fail. Frankly, none of them will stay with you, as they all seem totally forgettable.

Unfortunately, you wonít be able to put out of your mind all the cheesy elements. Whereas the original presented some real human drama and emotion, 3 just goes for cheap sentiment. Lewis dies for no reason other than an attempt to create some feeling. It doesnít happen, and her demise works as nothing other than a seedy gimmick. Allenís presence comes across as more of a contractual obligation than a real role; I get the impression she agreed to appear in this dud only if they made it difficult for her to be stuck in a Robocop 4 unless they turned her into a cyborg.

Of course, her death then gives the movie an excuse to go on a revenge theme similar to that of the first film. Unfortunately, since the whole thing feels tacked on, we donít care. We should be moved and upset by the death of Lewis, but that doesnít happen, and the movie just plods on its irrelevant storyline.

With each film, we lose more and more members of the original cast and crew. As noted, Allen makes a gratuitous appearance, and Peter Weller finally finds a way out of the continuing nightmare. Robert Burke makes for an able doppelganger and looks a lot like Weller, but he doesnít bring the same gravity to the role. He seems to be in the role just for the physical resemblance, as it isnít much of an actor.

Not that it would matter, since Robocop 3 isnít much of a movie. Is it a big drop-off from Robocop 2? No, for that flick stunk as well. Neither of them merits consideration as part of the same series as the original. 3 is silly, moronic and boring.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D-

Robocop 3 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The most attractive picture of the three flicks, Robocop 3 showed a few issues but not too many.

Sharpness consistently looked good. A few small examples of softness popped up at times, but these remained infrequent. For the most part, the film seemed nicely detailed and well defined. I saw no concerns with jagged edges or moirť effects, and only some light edge enhancement cropped up at times. Print flaws remained minor. A few specks cropped up, but that was about it, as the movie mostly looked clean.

While the world of Robocop didnít present a terribly varied palette, the movieís colors looked fine. The hues were nicely clean and distinctive, and they consistently remained accurate and tight. Black levels also were deep and firm, while low-light shots appeared clear and well rendered. Overall, the image looked solid.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 also worked pretty well, but it displayed some inconsistencies. The soundfield demonstrated a fairly heavy orientation toward the front channels. They presented nice stereo imaging for the music as well as the effects, which showed good delineation and movement. The surrounds added a generally positive level of interaction, particularly during the movieís many action scenes. Those demonstrated a lot of material from the surrounds, though the forward domain still dominated.

Where the mix lost some points came from the balance and the quality. At times it seemed tough to hear dialogue because it became buried under the effects. For example, during the relocation scene, Bertha spoke but I could barely hear her. That issue popped up a few times and it often was a little too tough to comprehend speech.

Quality also varied. Speech remained intelligible - when I could hear it - but the lines occasionally sounded somewhat feeble and lifeless. Music mostly was reasonably clear, but some distortion affected the score at times. Effects usually sounded clean and accurate, but the track lacked great punch. Much of the time the audio came across as a bit bland and flat, and it didnít present much oomph for the most part. The soundtrack seemed decent but not much better than that.

While Robocop includes some nice supplements, donít expect much from the sequels. All we find is the filmís trailer. The ďRobocop TrilogyĒ package also presents an eight-page booklet with information about all three movies, though. It offers some production notes plus trivia and cast listings for the three flicks.

Hopefully Robocop 3 marks the last flick in the series, as both sequels failed to even remotely approach the highs of the original. 3 shows a decline from the crummy 2, which I didnít think was possible. The DVD presents very good picture plus generally decent but erratic audio and no real supplements. As a film, Robocop 3 is a mess, and I canít recommend this terrible flick.

Note that the version I reviewed appears as part of the ďRobocop TrilogyĒ 3-DVD set. However, it also can be purchased individually.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.8888 Stars Number of Votes: 9
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