I don’t typically buy into the idea that any movie exists for no reason, but RoboCop 3 comes close. PG-13 when its two predecessors are notoriously R, the 1993 sequel can at least serve the purpose of being “RoboCop for kids.” Despite the hard-R of the 1987 original and its 1990 follow-up, the character and franchise had developed a strong adolescent fan base, with toys and cartoons marketed at much younger audiences than its “restricted” one.
With RoboCop 3, the gore is taken out entirely, along with the esoteric satire. This time around, our titular protagonist partners up with a 9-year-old, wields a jetpack, and fights ninja robots. Welcome to the ’90s!
The details of the evil corporation OCP and their headscratchingly-difficult attempt to take the city of Detroit become buried in minutiae. Apparently, they’re going bankrupt, along with the city itself, and seek the financial support of Japanese investors who hire a heavily armed militia called “Rehabs” to forcibly remove people from their homes in order to speed up the clock on building OCP’s utopian metropolis, Delta City (plans that they literally started two movies ago). Honestly, the grounds for why they’re racing against a ticking clock is almost impossible to understand given how it’s presented.
RoboCop, aka Murphy, this time played by Robert Burke, is assisting an underground resistance group of civilians following the murder of his longtime partner Lewis (Nancy Allen). Murphy forms a bond with a young child genius, Nikko (Remy Ryan), who has just recently been separated from her parents. This all leads to a bunch of fighting and resisting, which the film never quite clarifies why it’s happening, and culminates in an anticlimactic final duel between RoboCop and two robot ninjas, which feels like it’s directed by someone with no experience in action filmmaking whatsoever. In earlier shootouts, things like reverse-shot continuity and bullet trajectory are nonexistent, with unarmed characters standing next to the action with zero repercussions.