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New, Not Improved

Robocop 3

Directed by Fred Dekker; produced by Patrick Crowley; Orion Pictures; Rated PG-13

On the way to the theater I actually decided to give "Robocop 3" a chance. This first Robocop was a good killing movie. Sure, it wasn't as deep as the "Six Million Dollar Man" series, but hey--it was fun to watch. The second Robocop bit, but the third, a cross between "Rockateer," "Blade Runner" and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," is even worse.

This time Robocop (played with cool brilliance by Robert John Burke, trust me) is back on duty to defend the city of Detroit against mid-'80s Japanese robo-ninjas and federal government agents who are selling the city to the Japanese businessmen. Tasteful.

The new, improved, flying Robocop joins a group of homeless rebels who are fighting against the feds. Among the rebels is an orphaned, nine-year-old computer genius (Remy Ryan) who saves Robocop's life with her technological skill. But that's not it. She's cute, too.

A combination of Macauley Caulkin and Mr. Wizard, this little girl is supposed to steal the show. She doesn't. The director's attempts at heartwarming scenes between Ryan and Robocop make for gags aplenty.

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John Castle, as the evil leader of the federal agents, and Robo-babe Jill Hennessy, as Robocop's beautiful designer, don't exactly have the toughest roles--after all, this isn't "Scent of a Robert." Even so, they don't seem to be that psyched that they've finally hit the big time.

What you would expect from the movie--good fight scenes--are noticeably missing. The two big showdowns between Robocop and the Japanese ninjas are horribly choreographed. You only get a slew of bullets, stupid car chase scenes and only about 50 deaths. Even flying Robocop is a let-down.

The best line of the movie actually came from the audience. During the climactic scene of the movie when the police force rebels against the feds, the audience in the Loews Cheri started chanting, "Whoomp there it is!"

Don't waste your time on this Japan-bashing, lackluster, confused letdown--just wait for "Robocop 4." This movie series can only get better.

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