Robocop started in 1987 and went downhill from there with its sequel in 1990 and third release in 1993 starring Peter Weller as police officer Alexander Murphy and Robocop at least for the first two films.
Film making 16/25
Bonus Features 2/25
Robocop started the three film series in 1987 with the following films released a couple of years apart starring Peter Weller as Robocop for Robocop and Robocop 2. The third film stars Robert John Burke but with a change in actors we do not get a better film but a much worse one.
They also get several returning stars in each film with Murphy’s partner returning for all three, Anne, played by Nancy Allen. Other stars are numerous but many probably were just too busy for repeat performances, I believe several saw the writing on the wall and stayed as far as they could from the sequels.
In a Detroit of the not so distant future the police force is in bad shape and a private company, Omni Consumer Products has privatized the police and taken over. The company is trying to curb the crime while they are working toward building a utopian metropolis called Delta City without the least hint of crime.
The actual police are busy fighting crime in between picketing for their union and fighting the police force take over by the global company. One program the company is working on in two separate projects is a robotic police force, one cyborg and the other completely robotic.
At a meeting with the Old Man, CEO of Omni, the head of one project reveals his Ed-209 and during the demonstration one of the volunteers is gunned down by the malfunctioning robot. During the confusion with the body still dripping blood, they show all the gruesome details, the head of the cyborg project tells the CEO that his project is almost ready.
The cyborg project is given the go ahead and all they need is a volunteer who has been pretty much killed but with a brain that is intact. Enter Officer Alexander Murphy, police cowboy complete with gun slinging twirl and new transfer to the Detroit police department who is eager to fight crime.
Murphy and Anne are investigating a small group of criminals in an abandoned warehouse when they get separated and Murphy is gunned down by the criminal gang. Murphy has lost a hand and plenty of blood as well as being shot in the head but he is actually a good candidate for the Robocop cyborg program.
Once his limbs have been removed and he has been encased in armor and machine parts then left with no memory or knowledge of who he was or what he is the cyborg is ready for unveiling. The company has removed all his memory and given him programs to follow, actual DOS code on the computer screens if you can believe that.
During the intervening chapters of the first movie Robocop is trying to stop the crime spree only to find out that the former hopeful Ed-209 project leader is actually behind a criminal conspiracy. Dick Jones played by Ronnie Cox is the senior president of Omni and was pushing the Ed-209 project that was cancelled when the robot killed an executive.
Dick Jones is behind the push for criminal enterprise that the Omni’s city building project is going to bring when all those construction workers arrive for the project. Dick is working with the criminal who “killed” Murphy and in the end Robocop takes care of his gang and Dick.
The film is pretty good and has its moments but it also is not that great, just too many scenes where they tried too hard to either be funny, gruesome or dramatic. Robocop is the best of the three films and it is only an average film so you can guess where we go from here.
I just love the scene at the end where Robocop blows the ED-209 away and the two legs alone take a few steps, teeter and fall over. The little toe chattering away signifies not only the death of that robot but the end of a good thing for the series.
Robocop 2, and three for that matter, has a disjointed feel and the storyline is very jumpy and hard to watch, but easy enough to understand. In the second film criminals are running rampant, the drug Nuke is the hit of the drug scene and OCP, Omni Consumer Products, is close to bankruptcy.
OCP is pushing its newest Robocop program, Robocop 2(how original)but Robocop gets reprogrammed into a more peaceful and public friendly cyborg. The criminal mastermind, Cain behind the drug Nuke is caught but is severely injured and lying in a hospital, near death.
The psychologist in the new Robocop program thinks a criminal mastermind would make the best candidate for the new Robocop and Cain is chosen for the job, but first they need him dead. Robocop gets back into shape and fights the now evil Robocop 2 when the brain that was master criminal and drug lord Cain starts running amuck and killing everyone he meets.
Robocop 2 was not as bad as the third film and probably went downhill because of the many problems with rewriting the original screenplay by Frank Miller. The first screenplay was too violent and deemed not appropriate for audiences so they rewrote a lot of it, too much.
Robocop 3 has one scene that is typical of the film and the poor choice of dramatic effect that typifies the entire film from beginning to end. The camera pans around an old factory where people have taken refuge while a dramatic sound score plays music appropriate to a majestic scene like watching the sun setting on distant mountains.
All we see are homeless people dealing with their situation but with music typical of dramatic highs and emotionally monumental moments, we have Robocop 3. The film just uses too many clichés and stereotypical film moments to try and make itself rise to be a better than average sequel and falls flat.
Robocop 3 has the city of Detroit falling apart with people being evicted by a proxy company hired by OCP to make way for Delta City. Robocop hides in an abandoned church with some others because OCP is tossing everyone into camps while they rebuild Detroit into Delta City.
A Japanese company has taken over at OCP because the company was almost bankrupt and their idea of a new improved version of Robocop is a Japanese sword slinging robot. Robocop has to defeat a couple of these new sword wielding robots before the final champion move uncovering the evil OCP plot.
All three movies had a dark satirical comedy, or at least tried to with the first one doing a decent job and the satire tapering off by the last one. Robocop was decent and garnered an 88% critic score and a 71% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes while Robocop 2 had a 35% critic and 38% audience rating.
Robocop 3 had a sparse 4% rating by critics and a 21% score by audience ratings which shows just how downhill the three films travelled. The Robocop trilogy is a mash of three movies that go downhill from the first one but is a somewhat decent purchase if you like the darker humor offered.
Video for the three films is much like the audio, just above average with a better look for each film as the series moved along. The first film had a softer look and not very good blacks while the two newer ones looked better and had good color and blacks.
The films were decent enough and seem to have been pushed out for more of a classic cult following, or at least the hope for those that want the films in a set. Video is pretty decent and not much more with audio following suit for all three films, decent enough and above average but nothing to shout about just like the films themselves.
Robocop was a pretty decent film and one I do remember seeing and noticing for its full view violence and darker humor. The two sequels were both ridiculous and fun to watch for the novelty of just how bad a film could be with the third a decided low for the series.
I’m not sure if I can recommend the Robocop Trilogy other than as a novelty for those who enjoy the darker comedy and visceral gore that they include.