Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Robotrix (Hong Kong, 1992)

(Trailer) Beginning with the film’s first 10 seconds, during which an abysmally banal disco-tinged tune narrating the heart pains of an android infatuated lover is sung, it becomes obvious that Luk Kim Ming's Robotrix is going to be a typically mindless, logicless, overtly cheap, multi-violent, sexist Hong Kong lark, totally without any socially redeeming values and statements — in other words, truly great fun.
Robotrix is one of those (to the average Joe Westerner) unknown Asian trash films whose unexpected discovery makes you come back for more, faithfully wading through a ton of other Hong Kong crap before finding the next fun-filled romp. Advertised as the film that started and set the standard in Hong Kong for "Category III" movies, the film quickly makes the meaning of "Category III" obvious to everyone, even if the term is unknown off the island. Aside from showing the unshowable taboo of all Asian films, namely frontal female nudes with pubes, this film features one or two relatively realistic fuck scenes, as well as the biggest tits one can probably find on an Asian woman. The deliciously bulbous mounds are definitely big enough to make Russ Meyer go jumping for his home-movie camera were he still alive, and at least in the case of the character Selina, the bouncing love pillows are look very real. The violence itself is not as often or as well choreographed as in most films of this ilk, but Robotrix definitely is an extremely bloody movie, squirting red in quantities not normally seen outside of an Italian slasher film.
As to be expected, although the content is not, the acting is generally on the level of a low budget 1970’s era Disney kid’s film, alá Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), full of actors rolling their eyes and mugging for the camera. However, the film is so ridiculous from start to finish, so inexcusably exploitive and unredeeming, that the slapstick tendencies become an integral part to the overall fun.
Unlike most recent Hong Kong exploitation fare, Luk Kim Ming’s direction is relatively staid and old fashioned, and he never indulges in the more extreme MTV aesthetic favored by many modern Hong Kong trashmakers. This actually results in a much more enjoyable film, as most of the more extreme filmatic pyrotechnics practiced in Hong Kong (as in such films as Her Name Is Cat (1998)) seldom serve to do anything more than pad the film out, confuse the already mindless plot or simply induce headaches. The subtitles, like normal, feature translations that are so bad that they induce laughter, if not occasionally making the plot hard to follow. (Some of the more obvious mistakes include "psychic" for "psycho", "petty cop" for "lowly cop" and "mutilated" for "destroyed.") Needless to say, the dubbed version is equally unprofessional, the lips never matching the words being said.
The plot is wonderfully inane. Chesty cop Selena gets a bullet between the boobs when the horny prince she is guarding, just finished from frolicking naked (in front of a half-dozen guards) in a pool with 4 or 5 naked babes, gets kidnapped by Mr. Super Nasty, a powerful robot installed with bad guy Yamamoto’s feelings (i.e., soul). Yamamoto is out to get the prince’s sheik father to finance the building of an army of robots, most likely so that Yamamoto can rule the world, though this is never stated. The sheik himself is at the Future World Expo, viewing robots, when the American Android goes bonkers after sustaining damage while fighting the German Android during a test presentation.
Saved by mega-breasted android Ann (Amy Yip), he and the police promptly engage Dr. Sara, Ann’s creator, to find his son. She puts Selina’s feelings/soul in a robot reproduction, and super-boobs number two is created. Ann and Selina join up with the police task force out to stop Yamamoto, who has the tendency to throw naked hookers out of hotel room windows and punch huge indentations into the bodies the men who get in his way.
A few sex scenes later, including one in which Ann — logically undercover as a whore — decides to find out what sex is like, Dr. Sara ends up removing the eyes from a lowlife snitch that Yamamoto has killed because, as in Dario Argento’s equally misinformed 1971 film Four Flies on Grey Velvet, the image of his killer’s should be imprinted on his retinas. Thus the sheik’s bodyguards are revealed as being in on the plan, and are followed to their next meeting with Yamamoto, who, for some inexplicable reason, slaughters them. The ensuing fight between Ann and Selina against Yamamoto ends with the bad guy half-blown apart but with the two girls running off before they can finish the job so as to keep Ann’s robot identity secret from Joe, Selina’s boyfriend cop. Angry, Yamamoto goes home to his hideout in a car junk yard and drills a few holes in the prince’s leg.....
And the film still has 45 minutes to go!

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