Film (1992, but released late 1993). Orion. Directed by Fred Dekker. Written Frank Miller and Dekker based on a story by Miller based on characters created by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner. Cast includes Nancy Allen, Robert Burke, John Castle, Jill Hennessy, Remy Ryan and Rip Torn. 104 minutes. Colour.
With each sequel, life has been leached from the original RoboCop (1987) scenario, remembered for its witty and satirical sadism, first by RoboCop 2 (1990) and then by RoboCop 3. (The only place for the concept to go was now television, and indeed RoboCop: The Series was launched on television in 1994 with an optimistic plan for a two-hour pilot and 21 episodes; a Canadian production, made in Toronto for syndication, it stars Richard Eden as RoboCop and Yvette Napier in the Nancy Allen role, and is scripted by Neumeier and Miner who wrote the original movie; aimed at the youth market, it was not very well received, and was cancelled in its first season.)
RoboCop 3 began with two problems. After the comparative failure of RoboCop 2, it had to work on a much smaller budget; and with RoboCop marketing franchises now aimed mainly at quite young children, the film too had to be aimed at the kids, and hence pruned of much of the previous violence, which is to remove much of the raison d'etre. This time the politically correct RoboCop (now played by Burke rather than Peter Weller) takes the side of disenfranchised slum dwellers being evicted from Cadillac Heights, Detroit, by the Japanese corporation Kanemitsu, new owners of OCP, who plan to build the lavish "Delta City" in the area. Bonding with a cute computer-whiz girl child orphan (Ryan) and a pretty lady scientist (Hennessy), RoboCop with the help of his new family – police officer Anne Lewis, played by Nancy Allen, having been early and conveniently eliminated – defeats the evil Japanese, their samurai androids, and their commando cohorts, the British "rehabs" led by Commander McDaggett (Castle). The casual xenophobia displayed by the film against the Japanese and British is breathtaking. Poor matte work disfigures the climax (RoboCop flies!), but a perhaps surprising residue of entertainment remains. [PN]
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