RoboCop 3

Dom Robinson reviews

RoboCop 3Chaos. Corruption. Civil War
He’s back to lay down the law.
Distributed by

  • Cat.no: CDR 92813
  • Cert: 15
  • Running time: 100 minutes
  • Year: 1993
  • Pressing: 1999
  • Region(s): 2, PAL
  • Chapters: 28 plus extras
  • Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 (Dolby Surround)
  • Languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Subtitles: None
  • Widescreen: 1.85:1
  • 16:9-Enhanced: Yes
  • Macrovision: Yes
  • Disc Format: DVD 5
  • Price: £19.99
  • Extras : Scene index, Trailer

    Director:

      Fred Dekker

Producer:

    Patrick Crowley

Screenplay:

    Frank Miller and Fred Dekker

Music:

    Basil Poledouris

Cast:

    RoboCop: Robert John Burke (Fled, Simple Men, Stephen King’s Thinner, Tombstone, The Unbelievable Truth)
    The CEO: Rip Torn (Airplane II: The Sequel, The Beastmaster, Canadian Bacon, The Cincinnati Kid, City Heat, Coma, Defending Your Life, Down Periscope, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Men in Black)
    Anne Lewis: Nancy Allen (DC7, The Pass, RoboCop 1 & 2)

RoboCop 3is, as the title would hint, the third in the popular RoboCop series. What you’llalso notice is that the certificate is a “15” and not the “18” the previousfilms received. If you’ll note that the TV series videos tended to attracta “12”-rating, in which RoboCop didn’t quite *shoot* thebad guys, but rather shoot other things which then fell on the bad guys, thenyou’ll see the direction in which this sequel is heading.

An example: Nearly 40 minutes in, when faced with a horde of baddies toting weapons,the violence is toned down when he first tries to shoot the chief perpetrator, but ashe is the rogue OCP officer turned very-rogue and is trying to overplay his hand (yes,that’s the plot, folks! One of OCP’s operatives is only in it for himselfand instead of trying to protect the future of Delta City, he goes against thewishes of his CEO (Rip Torn) and turns the place into a warzone), Robo can’t kill him. He shoots the truck behind him, theyturn their heads to watch the fireworks, then turn back – unimpressed – and blow Robointo next week.

What does Officer Lewis (Nancy Allen) do? She exits stage left sharpish after taking some bullets,resulting in what looks like gel suddenly oozing out of her breast-area (Don’t worry,the trailer points out that she doesn’t go the distance.) She looks glad to escape thisnonsense too.

In a car-chase scene, the baddies give Robo the slip by throwing loads of moneyout of their van so some local kids run into the road and try to pick it up. The realRobo would’ve swerved to avoid them but carry on pursuing. This one just stops, getsout of his car and probably mentally curses, “If it hadn’t been for thosemeddling kids”.

The observant among you will notice that Peter Weller, who played theoriginal metal man, is not in the suit this time. That honour, such that itis, goes to Hal Hartley favourite Robert Burke (credited herewith his middle name for the first time I’ve ever seen). On the plus side,his motionless face perfectly mimics the expressions trademarked by hispredecessor. On the minus side, Weller obvious read the script first beforesigning on the dotted line which proves why he wasn’t in it.

About the only consistency between this and its previous incarnations isthe appearance of Mario Machado as newscaster Casey Wong.

So does this film have any redeeming qualities? Well, Robo has a nifty jetpackthat he uses to fly around and assist in his criminal-catching duties and thefilm also spawned a fairly decent, but difficult in places, computer game forthe Atari ST and Amiga.


The picture is okay, but not outstanding. It’s presented in a matted 1.85:1ratio and is anamorphic with an average bitrate of 5.48Mb/s, occasionally peakingover 9Mb/s. As the whole film looks like a straight-to-video production, anyextra resolution gained by DVD doesn’t have much of an effect on the transfer.

The sound is also fine, but nothing to shout about. Explosions are loud enoughand dialogue is clear, but that don’t impress me much.


Extras : Chapters :Only 21 chapters this time round, instead of the usual 28 that typicallyadorns a Columbia release, but it still fits in with my one-chapter-per-five-minutesstandard. The US trailer is also included. Languages/Subtitles :While 1992’s Batman Returns became the first Dolby Digital 5.1 filmto be made, Dekker was still living in surround-sound land. Someone else whosehead was in the clouds was the person who put the details on the back cover.It states the disc contains dialogue in five languages, but it only has English,plus 19 subtitled languages. It doesn’t. It has none.

Considering that another Columbia title, Stepmom, was delayed formonths because the front cover dared proclaim that it contained bothwidescreen and fullscreen versions of the film, whereas it only wiselycontained the former, was recalled and similarly, Universal’s (nee Polygram)A Life Less Ordinary was rappedfor completely missing the BBFC’s ’15’ certificate off the front cover, I canonly assume the VPRC were having an off-day when this title happened by.

Menu :An static and silent menu with options to select a scene, start the film or watch thetrailer.


Overall, “Carry On RoboCop” sums up this film entirely and no scene shows itup more than the one where a little girl disables an ultra-powerful ED-209 with alaptop. Instead of a challenging, “You have 20 seconds to comply”, itsuddenly loses its appetite for destruction and tells them it will be “asloyal as a puppy”. Purlease!

I know Columbia will have to bring out some back-catalogue stuff as well as new titles,but this one won’t exactly sell by the bucketload when priced at twenty notes asLaser Disc Distribution probably found out when their 12″ platter offering wasput on the market for £34.99, especially when the video must have been in budgetcountry for some time now.FILM : ½PICTURE QUALITY: ***SOUND QUALITY: ***EXTRAS: *——————————-OVERALL: **

Review copyright © Dominic Robinson, 2000.


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