The trio of films that comprise this comic science fiction series from director Robert Zemeckis get worse in succession, with this disappointing finale capping off the franchise. An overly slight, dumbed-down spin on the Western genre is a swell concept to wrap up the series, but too little is done with the idea. So much frothy fun could have been had playing with genre conventions here that the story feels throughout like a series of mind-boggling, missed opportunities. While the first two pictures left viewers delightfully disoriented with the multiple timeline possibilities of time travel, this lackluster capper quickly settles into situation comedy territory. Far too much screen time is expended trying to work out the contrived, ho-hum obstacles of fueling an automobile on the frontier and getting absent-minded professor Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) to profess his affection for a pretty schoolmarm (Mary Steenburgen). Although the second film was certainly no masterpiece, Back to the Future Part III (1990) is one part too many; Zemeckis, star Michael J. Fox and their partners should have cashed their checks from the classic first film and left well enough alone.
by Karl Williams review