RoboCop 3 is the 1993 third film in the RoboCop series and is a sequel to the 1987 and 1990 films RoboCop and RoboCop 2. This film does not feature Peter Weller, like the first two RoboCop movies in the title role and instead, casts Robert John Burke as the cyborg cop. The main storyline features a group of rebels fighting against Omni Consumer Products and the Kanemitsu Zaibatsu who hire mercenaries called "rehabs," led by Cmdr. Paul McDaggett and send out a robot ninja to drive the people out of their homes and eliminate RoboCop, once and for all.
The plot involves RoboCop forming a bond with an orphaned little Japanese-American computer whiz girl named Nikko Halloran, as well as coming into contact with an underground paramilitary resistance. The resistance, built up of underprivileged urban families, formed after Omni Consumer Products (OCP) began relocating them in order to build Delta City on the land encompassing Detroit's Cadillac Heights area. RoboCop also finds one of the original scientists from the first two films, Dr. Marie Lazarus, who built and operated on him, and has left the organization after becoming disillusioned with it.
Meanwhile, OCP is on the verge of bankruptcy and creates an armed force called the Urban Rehabilitators ("Rehabs" for short), under the command of Paul McDaggett, to combat rising crime in Old Detroit and augment the ranks of Detroit Police in apprehending violent criminals, while in reality forcibly relocating the residents of Cadillac Heights, killing some of them (including Nikko's parents) in the process. The Police force is gradually superseded by the Rehab forces, and violent crime begins to spiral out of control once more. The Delta City dream of the former CEO and "Old Man" lives on through the help of a Japanese zaibatsu, the Kanemitsu Corporation, who bought a controlling stake in OCP. Kanemitsu sees the potential in the citywide redevelopment, and moves forward with its own plans to remove the current citizens. The company develops and uses its own ninja robots called Otomo to help McDaggett and the OCP President overcome the resistance of the anti-OCP militia forces.
When RoboCop and Lewis try to defend unarmed civilians from the Rehabs one night, Lewis is killed by McDaggett. Unable to fight back because of the Fourth Directive, RoboCop is saved by members of the resistance and eventually joins their cause. Due to severe damage sustained in the shootout, RoboCop's systems efficiency plummets, and he asks the resistance to summon Dr. Lazarus, who promptly arrives and begins to treat him, deleting the Fourth Directive in the process. During an earlier raid on an armory, the resistance has picked up a flight pack prototype originally intended for RoboCop's use, which Lazarus modifies and upgrades.
After recovering from his injuries, RoboCop conducts a one-man campaign against the Rehabs. He finds McDaggett and attempts to subdue him, but McDaggett is able to escape, and accepts information from a disgruntled resistance member (Stephen Root) to find the base. The base is invaded by the Rehabs, and most of the resistance members are either killed or taken prisoner. Nikko escapes with the help of Lazarus, who is taken back into the OCP building as a prisoner.
RoboCop returns to the rebel base, only to find it abandoned. One of the Otomo ninjabots shows up and attacks him. RoboCop experiences another power drain and his arm and Auto-9 pistol sliced, but is able to destroy his opponent with his machine gun. Meanwhile, Nikko infiltrates the OCP building and manages to have Lazarus broadcast an improvised televisation of OCP being behind the entire criminal outbreaks and implicating them for the removal and termination of the Cadillac Heights residents. RoboCop hears this broadcast and latches the jetpack onto himself. The broadcast also causes OCP's stock to plunge dramatically, driving the company into total ruin.
McDaggett decides to execute an all-out strike against Cadillac Heights with the help of the Detroit City police department, but all of the police officers defect to the resistance in outrage, as moving people out of their homes is not part of a cop's job; as a result, McDaggett hires street gangs and punks as additional muscle. Just when the combined forces of the Rehabs and gangs are about to wipe out the rebels and Detroit Police, RoboCop flies into the scene with his jetpack and defeats the attackers before he proceeds to the OCP building, where McDaggett is waiting for him. Two other Otomo robots confront RoboCop and nearly manage to defeat him when Nikko and Lazarus succeed in reprogramming them, forcing them to destroy each other. This, however, triggers a self-destruct in both units. RoboCop reignites his jet pack, the discharge of flame hitting McDaggett's leg and rendering him immobile, and escapes with Nikko and Lazarus, while McDaggett perishes in the blast.
As Old Detroit is being cleaned up, Kanemitsu arrives and bows to RoboCop. When the now ex-OCP President calls RoboCop by his former name Murphy, RoboCop tells him, "My friends call me Murphy. You call me RoboCop." and the movie ends.
- Robert John Burke - RoboCop/Alex Murphy
- Nancy Allen - Officer Anne Lewis
- Mario Machado - Casey Wong
- Bruce Locke - Otomo
- Remy Ryan - Nikko Halloran
- Jodi Long - Keiko Halloran, Nikko's Mom
- John Posey - David Halloran, Nikko's Dad
- Elmore "Rip" Torn - CEO
- Mako - Kanemitsu
- Felton Perry - OCP Vice President Donald Johnson
- John Castle - Commander Paul McDaggett
- Jill Hennessy - Dr. Marie Lazarus
- Stanley Anderson - Zack
- S.D. Nemeth - Bixby Snyder
- Robert DoQui - Sgt. Warren Reed
- Bradley Whitford - Jeff Fleck
- C. C. H. Pounder - Bertha Washington
- Daniel von Bargen - Moreno
- Stephen Root - Coontz
- Eva LaRue Callahan - Debbie Dix
The film was directed by Fred Dekker, a director primarily known for cult horror films. Popular graphic novelist Frank Miller returned to write the screenplay for the film. Still optimistic that he could make an impression in Tinseltown, Miller accepted the job of writing RoboCop 3, hoping that some of his excised ideas would make it into the second sequel. Major themes of the plot were taken from Miller's original (rejected) draft of RoboCop 2. Disillusioned after finding that his work was even more drastically altered than before, Miller left Hollywood until the 2007 adaptation of his work 300. “[Working on RoboCop 2 and 3] I learned the same lesson,” Miller said in 2005. “Don’t be the writer. The director’s got the power. The screenplay is a fire hydrant, and there’s a row of dogs around the block waiting for it.” (It’s worth noting that Miller’s time in Los Angeles inspired him to create Sin City and his urge to maintain creative control in film eventually led to the Sin City motion picture.) Miller's original screenplay for RoboCop 2, and source for major ideas in RoboCop 3, was later turned into a nine-part comic book series called Frank Miller's RoboCop. Critical reaction to the comic adaptation of Miller's own script were mixed to negative. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly gave the comic a "D" score, criticizing the "tired story" and lack of "interesting action." A recap written for the pop culture humor website I-Mockery said, "Having spent quite a lot of time with these comics over the past several days researching and writing this article, I can honestly say that it makes me want to watch the movie version of RoboCop 2 again just so I can get the bad taste out of my mouth. Or prove to myself that the movie couldn't be worse than this."
The star of the previous films, Peter Weller, did not reprise the role, as he was starring in Naked Lunch. Robert John Burke was signed to play the cyborg character instead. The RoboCop suit Burke wore in the movie was originally built for RoboCop 2 (1990). Since Burke was taller than Weller, he complained that wearing it was painful after a short time. Other important casting changes had to be made for the third film. The actor who played the OCP CEO from the previous two films, Dan O'Herlihy, and his successor are both absent from this film. The cast changes meant that Nancy Allen, Robert DoQui, and Felton Perry are the only three actors to appear in all three films.
Pre-production problems continued, with the film aiming for a PG-13 rating; even after the success of the first two films which had been rated R. The profanity, graphic violence, and references to illicit drugs and prostitution were all reduced, or taken out altogether, causing the gritty and darkly gothic environment of the first two films to be severely diluted.
RoboCop 3 went into production soon after RoboCop 2 was complete. Initially scheduled for release in the summer of 1992, RoboCop 3 would languish on the shelf until the following year as Orion Pictures went through bankruptcy and was bought out. RoboCop 3 earned $4.3 million on its opening weekend, ending its run with $10.6 million domestically, far short of recouping its estimated $22 million production budget.
RoboCop 3 received mostly negative reviews by critics and fans of the previous two films, and is widely considered to be the poorest of the series. Rotten Tomatoes lists RoboCop 3 at a 4% rating (Rotten) across 28 reviews. Richard Harrington from the Washington Post says, "...it's hardly riveting and often it's downright silly. The sets and effects betray their downsized budget."
Chicago Sun Times critic Roger Ebert gives the film 1 1/2 stars, disputing the characters's longevity and comparing the series to the Detroit car manufacturing industry, "Why do they persist in making these retreads? Because 'RoboCop' is a brand name, I guess, and this is this year's new model. It's an old tradition in Detroit to take an old design and slap on some fresh chrome."
David Nusair from Reel Film Reviews, however, rates the film as 2 1/2 stars, stating, "The best one could hope for is a movie that's not an ordeal to sit through, and on that level, RoboCop 3 certainly excels. When placed side-by-side with the original, the film doesn't quite hold up. But, at the very least, RoboCop 3 works as a popcorn movie--something part two couldn't even manage."
Other points of criticism in this movie include curtailing the graphic violence of the first two films, less humor and the absence of Peter Weller in the title role (replaced by Robert John Burke).
RoboCop has an average score on Rotten Tomatoes: 3.1/10 Internet Movie Database (3.3/10)
After RoboCop 2's score which was composed by Leonard Rosenman, the RoboCop original composer Basil Poledouris returned to do the soundtrack score and brought back many of the RoboCop themes that were missing from RoboCop 2.
- Was filmed in 1991, but was not released until end of 1993 due to production company Orion going bankrupt.
- Filmed in Atlanta, most of the abandoned buildings seen in the film were slated for demolition to make way for facilities for the 1996 Olympics.
- The first RoboCop film to be rated PG-13 (the previous two films were rated R).
- At least two of the characters in RoboCop 3 (1993) are based on Frank Miller's own comic-book creations. Otomo, the cyborg samurai, is a nod to his 'Ronin' comic about a masterless samurai whose spirit is reanimated with futuristic biotechnology. Bertha Washington (CCH Pounder), a freedom fighter in the film, is a reference to Martha Washington, the freedom fighter from Miller's "Give Me Liberty".
- Look for RoboCop action figures in Nikko's bedroom
- It was originally planned that RoboCop was going to receive extensive facial reconstruction after being set on fire at the start of the movie. This was going to be used as a means of explaining why he no longer resembled Peter Weller, however, it was not used in the movie.