Robowar aka Robot da guerra (1989)
Directed by: Bruno Mattei
Starring: Reb Brown, Catherine Hickland, Massimo Vanni, Romano Puppo, Claudio Fragasso, Max Laurel, Jim Gaines, John P. Dulaney, Mel Davidson
Pretty sure this situation calls for lots of machine gun fire.
Here’s the setup to Bruno Mattei’s Robowar: a bunch of melodramatic helicopter pilots are talking nonsense to their base command about some kind of malfunction, which is intercut with an opening title sequence over a red pixelated haze. Eventually we figure out that they have lost control of something called Omega-1, a robot/weapon that mumbles out electronic gobbledegook before blowing up the chopper. I know what you’re thinking – this calls for Reb Brown! Continue reading →
There was once this Italian guy named Alfonso Brescia who began directing movies in the 60s. He started out in the sword-and-sandal genre, moved on to low budget spaghetti westerns, then war films, some gialli, even the bizarre Three-Supermen/Amazon hybrid – 1975′s Super Stooges vs the Wonder Women (a movie I must track down one day). But Brescia was to become infamous for the four 70s-era sci-fi films that were complete, shamless ripoffs of Star Wars. These films were known as Battle of the Stars (1977), War Of The Planets (1977), War of the Robots (1978), and Star Odyssey (1979). The fact that this guy cranked out 4 films within the span of 3 years reveals a certain carefree “attitude” on the part of the filmmaker, does it not? (You will get fourStar Wars ripoffs and like them!) Oh yeah, he also directed Ator 3 (aka Iron Warrior) which was not authorized by Joe D’Amato, who directed the other films in the series. But let’s not get off track – we’re here today to discuss Star Odyssey, an inept, hilarious piece of space trash that, if nothing else, establishes Brescia (who uses the pseudonym Al Bradly) as the Italian Ed Wood (well, at least until Bruno Mattei stole the crown). Continue reading →
Directed by: Cullen Blaine
Starring: Richard Gesswein, Margaret Trigg, Jayne Smith, James Cole, Stan Moore, Nanette Kuczek, Brad Overturf, Shawn Brown, Michael Hunter
L.A. Scientist: Who are we to create such a thing, heroes and villains?
Captain Barrett Coldyron: The only difference between a hero and a villain is the amount of compensation they take for their services. At our pay scale, I’d say we’re closer to heroes.
Gal: You know that this is an unofficial debriefing. Officially, not an arrest questioning. Then please state so for the record, doctor, unofficially.
Guy (interjects): Officially!
You’ll hear a lot of this kind of talk in 1988′s R.O.T.O.R., an extremely low-budget mashup of The Terminator, Robocop, and Judge Dredd featuring silly talking robots, horrible acting, bad dubbing, and excruciating repetitive synth soundtracks. The fact that nobody in the film has any screen presence, acting skills, or camera-appeal only adds to the hilarity of watching “good guy” cowboy Captain Coldyron (Richard Gesswein) recite Milton in voiceover like a high school kid forced to read from his literature textbook. Characters mumble and stumble their way through nonsensical tech-speak and absurd philosophizing in such a way that it’s extremely difficult to tell whether the whole thing is a slick parody or it’s just dialogue written by people who have never picked up an ethics or philosophy textbook, and have never heard an actual scientist speak (or have seen one, for that matter – we’ll get to that in a minute). Perhaps I’m wrong though – perhaps writer/director Cullen Blaine is just putting us on – in which case I say well played, my friend. Brilliant, in fact. Continue reading →
Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009)
Directed by: Jack Perez
Starring: Debbie Gibson, Lorenzo Lamas, Vic Chao, Sean Lawlor, Dean Kreyling
Contrary to what you think, this movie is about a mega shark and a giant octopus.
See, there’s this group of people who call themselves The Asylum. Their job is to take box office hits and copy them – poorly. The formula is simple – get crappy special effects people, crappy cameramen, crappy editors, throw in a dab of sex, unknown (crappy) actors, then run a movie title through a scrambler. If you so desire (and have a little extra cash lying around), you might be able to have a washed-up actor, TV performer, or pop music star in the main role. So, for example, Transformers becomes Transmorphers starring Amy Weber (Son of the Beach, WWE wrestling), Snakes on a Plane becomes Snakes on a Train, The Day the Earth Stood Still becomes The Day the Earth Stopped (with C. Thomas Howell and Judd Nelson!), etc. These films are affectionately termed “mockbusters” – they’re more like porno parodies of major hits (you know, like Pirates, Edward Penishands, Beyond Thunderbone, etc.), except without the porn part, which is kinda disappointing, but I digress. Continue reading →