RoboCop remains one of the great violent satires of all time, a movie almost everyone who isn’t super boring or snooty is willing to acknowledge as a classic. Its first sequel, RoboCop 2 failed to live up to the original’s status in pretty much any way imaginable, but it sure gave it a valiant try. That attempt becomes even more visible and worthwhile when we compare it to the truly abysmal RoboCop 3.
Starting at the top of where things went wrong, RoboCop 3 is a PG-13-rated movie in which RoboCop falls for a cute poor kid and fights to save her merry band of cute poor people from the evils of OCP. Alex Murphy is now played by a different actor, Robert John Burke. Officer Lewis doesn’t even make it through the whole film. RoboCop gets a stupid jetpack. He fights a stupid ninja. He and his movie generally stink up the place and deliver an entertainment for kids when violence was primarily what we associated with the character.
There were a couple different RoboCop TV shows that followed RoboCop 3, but in many ways, RoboCop 3 is actually the first RoboCop TV show. It takes the shell of what we supposedly like about the character and fills it with a cheap, lame imitation that fails to offer any of what got us excited in the first place. It should come as no surprise that it killed the franchise until last year’s remake, which did okay but may have been a franchise killer as well.
Not only did RoboCop 3 end the RoboCop franchise, it also ruined Fred Dekker’s career as a director. Despite directing movies like The Monster Squad and Night of the Creeps, this was the last film he got to make (his remarks on this, which you can read in this big-ass RoboCop book, are especially sad).
So in short, this film did some real damage and may still have the power to destroy. If someone were to play it in the same room as a Marvel movie, it would almost guarantee a shitty Phase 3. Please do not test this experiment.