Skip to main content

Robo Warriors: Giant Fighting Robot Tomfoolery



Robo Warriors is a movie so steeped the low budget 80’s action movie aesthetic that I was sure it had to come from that wonderful decade. But, no, this loose sequel to the cult classic Robot Jox (writer/director Stuart Gordon was given a “characters” credit on this film) came out in 1996. I suppose that explains those references to the high-tech “info-web.”

Robo Warriors takes the basic Robot Jox concept of giant robots fighting each other and adds aliens. So there’s that.

James Remar of The Warriors plays Gibson. I guess he’s the hero of the tale. He led a bunch of soldiers on a final campaign against the aliens, but they all died. One of those corpses belonged to child genius Zach’s father. Zach doesn’t blame Gibson, and despite the fact that Gibson’s last mission was a complete failure and led to the total conquest of the planet, Zach feels like Gibson is the only guy who can defeat the aliens by challenging them to a winner-take-all robot fight.

Cool concept.
Zach’s grandfather is a wise old man who sounds like Peter Falk. Low Budget Peter Falk somehow teaches Zach all about a mythic “earthbot” that’s hiding out in the jungle somewhere just waiting to be restored to its former glory...perhaps by a certain child genius? Perhaps. Well, we all know where this is going. Yeah, Zach’s gonna fix the long-abandoned machine and Gibson is going to pilot it and save the world. The only question, then, is whether the robot fighting sequences will kick any amount of ass?

Well, there are two fights. One is in the middle of the movie and of course the second is at the end. I have to say, a lot of care went into designing these robots and making them look believable. I really like the tactile feeling of these models. Other than that, the battles were a little weird. The robots, controlled by a pilot inside and a sort of engineer / tech guy from a station nearby, pretty much stand toe to toe with each other and shoot missiles. But I don’t really think anyone was expecting ballet here. At least I hope not. Anyway, they do sort of mix things up a bit at the end, when Gibson’s robot turns into a transformer, so that was nice.

As for what happens between battles, I guess it’s okay. Zach’s mother is a real ball-buster in mom jeans. But I guess if my twelve year old son wanted to run off and find the guy who led my dad to his doom in the hopes that said guy might save the world, I’d be a bit concerned about his safety, too. So we can’t really fault her there. Oh yeah, and for no reason except that we need (?) a romance, Zach’s mom and Gibson fall in love.

At around an hour and a half, Robo Warriors was about the right length. All their money seems to have gone into the robot battles, at the expense of compelling writing, acting, or direction. I mean, you can almost see James Remar mentally cashing his paycheck as he mumbles through the performance. Still, an hour and a half isn’t too much of a time investment for one good battle sequence, and one fairly impressive sequence at the end. Personally, I like fighting robots and explosions, so I was pretty happy.

Robo Warriors is available on Youtube as part of the Paramount Vault collection.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Salvation, USA: A Not-Thrilling Thriller

Written by Bernie Van De Yacht and directed by Yacht and Brett Donowho, Salvation, USA is a thriller, sort of. It reminded me a lot of a Lifetime movie with a little sex and swearing. Until the finale, which gets all sorts of batshit violent and bloody. Ah, but advertising, eh? If you watch this movie after having seen the poster, you’ll end up wondering when the hell you’re going to see some violence, as violence is most clearly implied by the thing. And if you haven’t seen the poster, you’ll watch Salvation, USA and suddenly get weirded out when a pretty basic drama gets really freakin’ bloody by the end.

The movie concerns Vinnie (Ryan Donowho), a guy who seems passionate about fixing old stoves, restoring them to their former pristine states. But it’s all a ruse. Fixing the stoves is his launchpad for a long con. Donowho is a very charming actor, and so it’s not hard for the audience to be pretty damn hypnotized by his performance. We want to believe there’s good inside the guy. …

G Rated Horror: The Legend of Boggy Creek

The Legend of Boggy Creek was written by Earl E. Smith, but the whole thing represents the vision of director Charles B. Pierce. The story was pieced together from the tales of local residents from Fouke, Arkansas, some of whom appeared in Boggy Creek as themselves. The so-called Fouke Monster, basically a sasquatch, was a folk legend that residents claimed was real. Reports began to surface in newspaper articles around Arkansas in the early 70’s and they seized Smith’s imagination. He knew he had found the subject of his first feature film.

Pierce is an interesting character. A self-motivated guy with a ton of ambition, he worked as a weatherman and a children’s show host named Mayor Chuckles before starting his own advertising firm. He made commercials for all sorts of companies throughout Arkansas. The owner of a trucking company client loaned Pierce $100,000 to get started on shooting Boggy Creek. The film was an almost instant success in cheap movie theaters and drive-ins and it…

Holy Terror: Terribly Mundane

Holy Terror, a horror flick released on digital platforms like Amazon Video this month, proves that it’s pretty damn hard to write and direct an original exorcism movie. Not only is this film’s story muddled, but every idea is recycled from another, better movie.
The first two minutes or so are actually quite interesting. Cool visuals, with everything a pea-green or vibrant black color. A priest named Jacob (Scott Butler), a nun (Kristine DeBell), and another priest are performing an exorcism on some poor young girl when it goes wrong and she croaks. Jacob is so flustered by the experience that he questions his faith and leaves the church. Cool story, but it’s time to forget about Jacob for about thirty minutes while we get to know a not-at-all pleasant couple, Molly (Kelly Lynn Reiter) and Tom (Jesse Hlubik), who’ve just lost their kid partially because of Molly’s neglect. Weird stuff is going on at their house and, who knows, maybe their dead kid is coming back in the form of a ghost…