Very typical of franchises that started in the 80s, RoboCop began with a violent, gory, smart, witty, and exciting opening entry and quickly descended into nonsense aimed for children. Studio executives drove the franchise into the ground as fast as possible while chasing merchandizing potential from a demo that had no disposable income.
It was then rebooted in the 2010s because Hollywood needed a recognizable property to fill a release date, and they gave the reins to a promising indie director that they then boxed into a corner and wouldn’t let him make the movie they hired him to make.
If you want a microcosm of what’s been wrong with Hollywood since the 80s, I can’t think of a better example than the RoboCop franchise. No surprises in the definitive ranking below. And do check out the rest of the definitive rankings to bask in their definitiveness.
4. RoboCop 3
“Is this movie remotely good? Not in the least? Is it a fun time anyway? No. Does it have brief moments of levity? Yes. Are those worth the investment of time? Not at all. The film is mostly kind of boring, though it’s perfectly competently made. The script is a disaster. Whatever ideas Frank Miller had wanted to put into this were gone by the time this came to theaters. It’s just bad.”
“I’ve seen far worse movies out there, especially in this series. Yeah, there was no need to reboot the franchise. The original is the kind of movie that so well defines its era in certain ways that they’re not really replicatable. Finding a new direction, like having Murphy think he’s still himself but he’s actually governed by software, was really interesting, but studio notes and interference prevented that idea from really taking off. There are worse ways to spend two hours, but there are also a whole lot better.”
2. RoboCop 2
“Yeah, it’s a mess. I don’t hate it by any means, but I’m alternatively laughing and just outright bored as the movie progresses. There are flashes of the first movie’s satirical genius, but they get overwhelmed by an uninteresting drug story, ideas that go nowhere, and an action ending that’s nothing more than just loud things.”
“There’s so much entertainment to be had with Verhoeven’s RoboCop. It’s funny, thrilling, and even a bit touching. It probably could have used another quick pass to integrate the two competing storylines a bit better, but that’s small beans compared to the whole.”