Faceless giants, Mandroids, sentient monster trucks, sexbots and Reb Brown all feature in the first bad robot roundup.
1988 | USA | 90m
Director: Bill Rebane
Starring: Dean West, Meredith Orr and David Alan Smith
“I split my pants!”
Hillbillies try to steal a sentient monster truck but get more than they bargained for when it etc. etc.
I'm not sure this was ever intended to be a movie – it feels like a promo that might have been shown at Tractor Pulls. Basically Knight Rider crossed with The Dukes of Hazzard, and twice as dumb as either, Twister's Revenge might be a must-see for Ernest fans, and anyone who enjoys hicks being chased around fields by a monster truck, but regular hew-mons can probably skip it.
Superargo and the Faceless Giants
1968 | Italy | 80m
Director: Paolo Bianchini
Starring: Giovanni Cianfruglia, Guy Madiso, Luisa Baratto
“I can't put much faith in an agent who calls himself Superargo.”
Bad man does crime with robots. Superargo, a wrestler who's a superhero who's a mystical shaman who's a 'freelance police officer', isn't standing for it.
Typical 1960s Italian super-crime-fighter campery sees our protagonist drive an E-Type Jaguar (obviously), wrestle surprisingly hairy men (fairly obvious) and levitate to escape deadly gas (less obvious). The fast pace and fantastic score keep things moving, while the robots and hokey dubbing keep it fun.
1993 | USA | 81m
Director: Jack Ersgard
Starring: Brian Cousins, Jane Caldwell, Michael Della Femina
“This formula takes the crystals to their ultimate level of power.”
Two scientists create a remote-controlled robot powered by mushrooms; then fall out over whether or not to be evil.
Having decided to make a movie about a remote-controlled robot, you'd think someone would give it something to do. Instead Mandroid performs the sort of tasks any normal human can, only via an inconvenient and unreliable remote-control system. We're given no reason why the technology, the robot or the movie need to exist. It was clearly an attempt to launch a franchise with a sequel, shot simultaneously, following later the same year.
Inhumanoid aka Circuit Breaker
1996 | USA | 87m
Director: Victoria Muspratt
Starring: Richard Grieco, Lara Harris, Corbin Bernsen
“Don't worry, Katrina, I'm not gonna hurt you.”
A family travelling in deep space respond to a distress call from a crazed android. Idiots.
Corman-produced Dead Calm rip-off which goes out of its way to be objectionable. Richard Grieco is entertaining enough as the loopy robot, but director Victoria Muspratt spoils everything with a needlessly dark tone that never rings true. And the supporting cast are far too competent.
1996 | USA | 87m
Director: Bruno Mattei (as Vincent Dawn)
Starring: Reb Brown, Catherine Hickland, Massimo Vanni
“The mines! He Stepped right on them like they were dog shit.”
Reb Brown and his platoon of undisciplined commandos play Predator when an experimental military robot goes haywire in the jungle.
Familiar faces, music and stylish flourishes immediately inform us we're in Bruno Mattei country. Always a good place to be. The robot is handled well, with the audience afforded only brief glimpses during the first couple of acts, Mattei instead representing his machine with a surprisingly creepy cacophony of robotic sound effects. Brown plays a charisma vacuum called 'Killzone' and at one point appears in a crop top. Few laugh-out-loud moments but a great combination of silly and sincere.