Release Date(s)1993 (March 21, 2017)
Studio(s)Orion Pictures/MGM (Shout!/Scream Factory)
- Film/Program Grade: C+
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A
- Extras Grade: B+
After two successful movies in the RoboCop universe, it was all but a certainty that another sequel would come down the pike. RoboCop 3, directed by horror veteran Fred Dekker (of both Night of the Creeps and The Monster Squad), sees RoboCop attempting to aid inner city renegades from being taken out by O.C.P., which has declared martial law on Detroit. Released in 1993, the film bombed at the box office and most fans today refer to it as the worst in the series.
Before this Blu-ray release, I hadn’t seen RoboCop 3. I’d seen the previous two films over and over, but I steered clear of the third one because of how awful I’d been told it was. As such, I expected RoboCop 3 to be laborious for most of its running time, but the truth is it’s not awful – not by a long shot. It’s mediocre in a lot of ways, sure, with elements at play that are entirely off-model. But with director Fred Dekker and a supportive crew behind the camera, there are still some great shots, transitions, and themes here, all pulled off with a substandard screenplay that is easily the film’s biggest flaw. Considering what’s been stripped out of the movie, including Peter Weller as RoboCop (replaced by Robert John Burke), all of the gratuitous violence, and the satirical/cynical edge, RoboCop 3 is still an enjoyable movie, though far from a perfect one.
Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release sports quite a good transfer. It’s a film-like presentation, with mostly even grain throughout (aside from a bit of optical softness here and there) and a high level of fine detail. The color palette pops quite well, which is surprising as the movie isn’t chock-a-block with a variety of hues. Black levels are nice and deep, and both brightness and contrast are satisfactory. There isn’t much in the way of film damage – it’s a pristine-looking print – but some minor wobble is noticeable from time to time. For the audio, there are two tracks to choose from: English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD. The 5.1 track has unexpected life to it, particularly when it comes to surround activity. LFE occasionally steps in to beef up some of the sound effects and the music has some room to breathe as well. Dialogue reproduction is also good. The 2.0 track is a nice alternative and similar in nature, but with less depth. Optional subtitles are available in English SDH if needed.
Like the previous entry on Blu-ray, there’s also a bevy of great extras to check out here. They aren’t quite as thorough, as fewer folks were probably willing to come to the table, but there’s still some good stuff. They include two audio commentaries, one with Dekker and the other with Robodoc: The Creation of RoboCop documentary team: Gary Smart, Chris Griffiths, and Eastwood Allen. There’s also the Delta City Shuffle: The Making of RoboCop 3 featurette; the Robo-Vision: The FX of RoboCop 3 featurette; The Corporate Ladder, an interview with actor Felton Perry; Training Otomo, an interview with actor Bruce Locke and Martial Arts trainer Bill Ryusaki; War Machine, an interview with RoboCop gun fabricator James Belhovek; the movie’s theatrical trailer; and a still gallery. I do remember seeing at least one TV spot for the movie upon its initial release, but perhaps it wasn’t included for rights reasons.
I truly think that people seeing RoboCop 3 with fresh eyes will find new things to appreciate about it. It’s not the steaming pile that some fans have made it out to be since its original release. I’m very curious to see what the reaction will be to this new Blu-ray release. If nothing else, Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition is a step in the right direction.
- Tim Salmons