RoboCop 3 Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Fred Dekker
Screenwriter: Fred Dekker, Frank Miller
Cast: Robert John Burke, Nancy Allen, Rip Torn, John Castle, Jill Hennessy, C. C. H. Pounder, Robert DoQui, Shane Black, Jeff Garlin, Stephen Root, Daniel von Bargen
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated PG-13 | 105 Minutes
Release Date: March 21, 2017
“My friends call me Murphy. You call me… RoboCop.”
Co-written and directed by Fred Dekker (Night of the Creeps, The Monster Squad), 1993’s RoboCop 3 is the final installment in the RoboCop trilogy, with Robert John Burke (Dust Devil) as RoboCop, replacing Peter Weller, who left the series to star in David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch.
Detroit’s Omni Consumer Products (OCP) is struggling with their plans to develop Delta City after a series of failed business dealings. On the verge of bankruptcy, the mega-corporation creates a paramilitary force called the Urban Rehabilitators, led by Commander Paul McDaggett (John Castle), to forcibly relocate residents of crime-infested neighborhoods so development can begin.
One such neighborhood is Cadillac Heights, home to Nikko (Remy Ryan), a computer whiz kid who feels like a mix of Terminator 2: Judgment Day‘s John Connor and Newt from Aliens. After her parents are killed by McDaggett’s stormtroopers, Nikko falls in with a renegade band of freedom fighters that includes grizzled Detroiters Bertha (C.C.H. Pounder), Zack (Stanley Anderson), Coontz (Stephen Root), and Moreno (Daniel von Bargen).
Meanwhile, OCP has merged with the Japanese Kanemitsu Corporation, which has bought a controlling stake in OCP and is trying to finance the development of Delta City. Kanemitsu has developed an android ninja called “Otomo” (Bruce Locke) to assist McDaggett and the new OCP president (Rip Torn) in eradicating the anti-OCP militia forces. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that RoboCop 3 starts both Stephen Root and Rip Torn. There’s only one other movie in cinema history that can claim that feat, and that’s DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. I bet they reminisced about RoboCop 3 on the set of that movie, in-between hurling balls (and wrenches) at Justin Long. Also, let’s take a quick sec to recognize that this movie has robot ninjas in it. Frank Miller, you crazy for this one!
You may have noticed that OCP chairman, The Old Man (Daniel O’Herlihy), who starred in the first two films, is missing in action. His absence is described in an exchange between series regular Donald Johnson (Felton Perry) and this film’s Bob Morton stand-in, Fleck (Bradley Whitford), that implies the former president is in prison for his involvement in the RoboCop 2 scandal. I realize as I type this that I’ve barely mentioned RoboCop; time to fix that.
After McDaggett mortally wounds his partner, officer Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen), RoboCop teams up with the resistance movement, but there’s a problem. Murphy is unable to fight back against OCP officers because of his programming’s fourth prime directive. Nikko and the freedom fighters (which sounds like a kick-ass punk band) enlist Dr. Lazarus (Jill Hennessy), one of the OCP scientists who created Robo, to repair the battle-damaged cyborg and remove that pesky directive. In the process, he gets a few upgrades, including a machine gun arm and a sweet jet-pack.
Now RoboCop, Detroit’s depleted police department, and the resistance join forces against OCP’s soldiers in an all-out war for Detroit that’s reminiscent of The Dark Knight Rises. Soldiers march on foot while RoboCop flies over the city, blasting tanks with his new high-tech weaponry. It feels exactly like that moment where Batman swoops in with The Bat and takes out a Tumbler so Gotham’s police can take on Bane’s army of criminals. Well, if The Dark Knight Rises had robot ninjas and C.C.H Pounder, that is.
RoboCop 3 gets a bad rap – it isn’t nearly as terrible as people would have you believe. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t good, but it’s satisfying schlock, even if it’s the watered down, kid-friendly, PG-13 version of Verhoeven’s 1987 film. Imagine the kind of RoboCop movie Canon Films would’ve made in the early ’90s, and that’s what Dekker’s cyberpunk action flick feels like: a misguided, low-budget knock-off of something that was once extremely popular. It’s basically this franchise’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
Scream Factory’s RoboCop 3 (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray boasts a 1080p high-definition widescreen (1.85:1) presentation thanks to a brand new 2K scan of the interpositive. In terms of audio, there’s a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and two new audio commentary tracks: one with director Fred Dekker and another with Gary Smart, Chris Griffiths, and Eastwood Allen, the makers of the documentary RoboDoc: The Creation Of RoboCop.
Like most Scream Factory releases, this Collector’s Edition comes with an impressive amount of newly produced bonus materials, including Delta City Shuffle: The Making Of RoboCop 3 – featuring Dekker, producer Patrick Crowley, cinematographer Gary Kibbe and production designer Hilda Stark – and Robo-Vision: The FX Of RoboCop 3, including interviews with Phil Tippett, Peter Kuran, Craig Hayes, and other FX artists.
Also included, The Corporate Ladder, an interview with actor Felton Perry, Training Otomo with actor Bruce Locke and martial arts trainer Bill Ryusaki, and War Machine, a behind-the-scenes look at RoboCop’s gun with fabricator James Belohovek.
While RoboCop 3 isn’t the greatest movie, Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray is without question the greatest release of Dekker’s 1993 film that exists anywhere, in any format. If you’re a fan of the film, and you’ve been underwhelmed by previous high-definition releases, then you should pick up Scream Factory’s definitive RoboCop 3 (Collector’s Edition), now available at Amazon.