Robotrix Review

The Film

imageSelina is a top cop who, along with her shambolic squad, has been detailed to look after a rich Sheiks son as his father prepares for an arms exhibition. The squad is bushwhacked and the son kidnapped, with a bullet through the heart for Selina. The exhibition goes on with a show of robot warriors from across the planet and the sheik chooses the Japanese robot designed by female scientists, who undertake to help recover the son by turning the dead Selina into a cyborg. The son has been kidnapped by a mad robot scientist, Ryuichi Yamamoto, who turns himself into an android and goes a raping and a pillaging, to pressure the Sheik into support his robotics plans.

Now I am sure that my brief synopsis of Robotrix above has raised some questions in your mind. Do Cyborgs exist? Why do the police guard sons rather than rich sheiks? Just how might Selina feel about being enlisted into being a special policewoman from beyond the grave? Why would a mad scientist try to extort someone into working with him, why not ransom for money instead? And wasn't Ryuichi Yamamoto that bloke who did bad things to David Bowie in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence?imageAfter watching Robotrix, you'll be left with far more questions. Like why does a film that sets up a honey trap to capture the villain (involving the formidable Amy Yip as a prostitute) earlier lampoon male detectives for their chauvinism. Why is a raping robot a subject for entertainment? Does this plot make any sense and why does our mechanized female lead get a couple of robotic love scenes? All of these questions will come about because of the spectacularly tasteless nature of the film.

If you forgive its pneumatic leering, its bad taste and its rank stupidity then Robotrix is a lotta, lotta fun. It is a melting pot where a bit of Terminator, a bit of Robocop and even a bit of Japanese action series are stirred together with the Hong Kong sex comedy. The primary purpose of Robotrix is to entertain - to thrill you, to sex you up, and to make you laugh a bit whilst remaining within its limited budget and ideas. imageAnd why not, to borrow a phrase from Barry Norman. As Robotrix is pretty successful in its purpose and manages a charm that overcomes its offensiveness and takes you along for the ride. Any film that can kill its central comic character so gruesomely and reach a romantic climax despite good taste and the grave is alright by me. This is a delirious, vacuous movie that has the power to make you grin and let me tell you I am still doing that as I write this.

The Disc

Now I've owned a couple of versions of this film, a VCD release with burnt-in double subs and an R3 DVD release with poorly reproduced sound and contrast boosting. This release seems to have taken the materials from the latter and suffers from dubtitles, where there are linguistic shortcomings as well. The transfer is weak, gaudy, ringed and with the colour balance all over the place and not at the original aspect ratio. Again this is a NTSC transfer, and there is some combing and aliasing to be witnessed.imageThere is a sole trailer in the extras menu, and the offer of an English dub which is slightly clearer than the Chinese track which starts off with in the bath standard audio and thankfully improves. Both are mono and actually made me long for the VCD's audio quality with its horrid dual subs. I'd really like to trumpet a small label releasing obscure gems like this one, but I can't here because of the A/V quality.

Summary

Cracking entertaining nonsense that should not be read as political tract or an example of the narrative form. It's a whole load of more famous movies thrown together with the charm of the Hong Kong film industry. This release is poor and you should only seek it out if you are region 2 locked.

Film
7 out of 10
Video
3 out of 10
Audio
4 out of 10
Extras
1 out of 10
Overall

5

out of 10

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