Remembering Robocop 3, a middling finale to a series that should have had no sequels

It’s hard to believe that the original Robocop came out thirty years ago this month. For young me, that film was a revelation. It was one of the first movies I saw in the theatre that completely blew me away – ALIENS, the year before, was the other. It was gory, violent, scatalogical, and a hard R… and it told a great story about mankind and technology.

Then they had to ace two more movies with the character.

The second one was good – not great – and I enjoyed the in-jokes that were poking fun at the idea of creating a “new version” of Robocop. It also was well directed, by Irvin Kershner (no Verhoeven, but he did bring us a little movie called The Empire Strikes Back).

Then, the third film was produced.

I remember being SO JAZZED about Robocop 3, even though I knew the series was in trouble after the second film (I had the R2 movie poster on my bedroom wall for the LONGEST time, even though it was “meh”).

I watched my Robocop VHS (gotten through the Columbia Video Club) so many times it broke in readiness for the third installment’s release.

Then… I saw it, opening weekend.

And I have never seen it again.

It’s not that it’s BAD, it’s just… there. Killing off Nancy Allen’s character in the first 20 minutes barely even registered, especially when you kinda think “Oh, wow, they are gonna ‘fix’ her, like they did Murphy” and then – nope, she just be dead. I was not even disappointed, just – indifferent. The movie turned me from a superfan to an apathetic moviegoer during it’s running time. Some achievement.

They did a miniseries, a cartoon, and a remake after this – but I’ve seen none of it. The law of diminishing returns for me struck WAY before those things were made.

I may see it again – someday, but honestly… I have better things to do with my time. And far better movies to spend my time watching.

Like the original Robocop.

Joseph Dickerson is a user experience professional and UX Lead for Microsoft based out of Atlanta, GA. He has implemented processes in user testing, design and ethnographic research and provided design and consulting services for many different projects and organizations.

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