RoboCop 3

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Science Fiction Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1993 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 100:23 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Fred Dekker

Columbia TriStar
Starring Robert Burke
Nancy Allen 
Rip Torn
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Basil Poledouris

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256 Kb/s) 
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256 Kb/s) 
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 256 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or
After Credits

Plot Synopsis

    By all accounts, the original RoboCop under the direction of Paul Verhoeven was a pretty decent film. By all accounts, its sequel, RoboCop 2 was a dog that should not have been made. By my reckoning, RoboCop 3 should never have even been conceived, let alone made. Couldn't someone within the studio have the good sense (and cahoonas) to give this an abortion before it was born? You just know that you are in for something excruciatingly bad when the theatrical trailer is a load of stinking manure. Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe we have a leading candidate for the worst DVD release for 2000 and we have not even got there yet! And I do believe that Futuresport has a serious rival for the title of "All Time Region 4 Turkey" - which was something that I really did not believe would ever happen. This is one of the most excruciating films I have ever seen and the longest 100 minutes that I have ever had the misfortune to spend watching a film. This is so bad that it makes Excess Baggage look like a leading contender for the Top 100 Films of the Twentieth Century. I take it that you may just be getting my drift here?

    This is a bad film made even worse by the fact that everyone was taking the whole thing so damn seriously. The story is a load of clichéd rubbish, there would appear to be not a single member of the cast with any acting ability whatsoever and the direction from Fred Dekker is without aim or merit. The special effects are anything but special and at one point I swear that I could see the wire used to hoist the ninja into the air.

    I will not call what passes for a story here "the plot" because that is seriously overstating the mark and borders on breaching the Trade Practices Act. Suffice to say that our metallic cyborg friend is unfortunately back for a third episode, this time fighting the evils of big business hell-bent on eliminating the entire population of one suburb in Detroit in order to proceed with a glittering urban redevelopment, through fair means or foul - usually the latter. It will come as no surprise that our metallic friend fights the good fight and wins the day.

    This is dross of the highest order and I am at a loss to even come up with a single redeeming feature about the film. Judging by the response of the voters on the Internet Movie Database, I am far from alone in that regard. It just puzzles me tremendously that distributors plump for putting this sort of dross on DVD, an apparently quite expensive exercise in itself, with the expectation of making a dollar out of it. If they are going to commit serious dollars to the mastering of a DVD, surely it makes more sense to do so with a film that is liable to actually sell in enough numbers to make the exercise worthwhile - and to provide incentive in the marketplace. I cannot see the release of this effort making people suddenly get up and rush out in droves to buy DVD players. Obviously I must be missing something too damn obvious about the home video industry.

Transfer Quality


    Well, you still reading? Must be a fan of bad films or something. Well if the film is bad, at least the technical merits of the DVD itself are slightly better.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Whilst this is sharper than a VHS tape, this is by no means an especially sharp nor well defined transfer, and it is not exactly what I would call a clear transfer either. At times the transfer seems to lack depth and gives a distinctly two dimensional look (okay, I know it is two dimensional but it does not give the illusion of a third dimension). Overall shadow detail is at best reasonable. There does not appear to be any low level noise problems with the transfer, although at times the picture does seem just a little grainy.

    Overall the colours seemed to be quite muted and do not display any sort of vibrancy at all. Whilst this may create a reasonably accurate picture of Detroit, it does detract a little from the viewing experience. There did not appear to be any problems with oversaturation of colours at all in the transfer.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, but video artefacts were quite prevalent, especially early on in the film - mainly in the form of minor aliasing and minor shimmer. None of this was really extreme but it was mildly noticeable and did again detract from the film (although to be honest, with the film being so bad, perhaps I was looking for things in the picture more intently than perhaps I normally would). There were not as many film artefacts during the film as I was expecting, and those that were present were not especially distracting to the film.


    There are five audio tracks on this DVD, all Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. I listened to the default English soundtrack.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The score by Basil Poledouris, a name I have not come across before, left absolutely no impression on me at all (much like the entire film I suppose).

    This is not an especially detailed soundtrack, with minimal use made of the surround channels. At a couple of points in the audio there appeared to be some rather weird mixing that resulted in one side of a conversation being much more recessed in the soundscape than the other. Nothing to really get too upset about but it just made the conversation sound somewhat unnatural. The overall sound picture is not one of the best that I have ever come across, and in all honesty is not completely believable.

    The subwoofer sits there in the room quietly crying to itself because of its neglect. I should be so lucky as far as this effort is concerned!


    Well, here is the bad news. There is one. Wasn't inflicting the film upon us enough, without having to torture us with a rather bad theatrical trailer too?


Theatrical Trailer

R4 vs R1

    It would appear that Region 1 misses out on:     God forbid, that makes Region 4 the region of choice if you really, really need to see the film (which I strongly recommend that you don't).


    Absolute rubbish of a film that should be avoided at all costs.

    The video transfer is better than average.

    The audio transfer is pretty much average.

    The extras are hardly worth bothering with.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
29th December 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL