Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Robo Vampire – review

Directed by: Joe Livingstone

Release Date: 1988

Contains spoilers

I like my kyonsi (Chinese hopping vampires) movies. Okay, whilst there are some fantastic ones, some are simply bad movies but I just like them for some unbeknown reason. I had been warned about this film, I had been told (by someone whose opinion I greatly respect) that this was the singularly worst vampire film ever made and to avoid it like the plague. How could I resist?

Really I should have resisted, as I have lived through the biggest WTF moment in movie history. Honestly, watch this and then watch the worst Uwe Boll movie and you’ll wonder why the maverick director is not nominated for an Oscar. Watch this and then watch an Ed Wood film, you’ll wonder why his name is not mentioned in the same hushed tones as Bergman or Fellini.

The film starts with a couple of guards wandering a prisoner along. They come to some coffins and open one. There is an immobilised (by prayer scroll) kyonsi in it. They open another and snakes come out, so they panic and in doing so knock the prayer scroll from the kyonsi, who comes alive. Never mind that it’s daytime. The kyonsi kills the guards, getting a nice mouthful of flesh in his mouth in the process.

What has this to do with the film? In truth, nothing.

I would say cutting to the film proper but we aren’t. You see this really does seem like two disparate films (both of which are utter poop) spliced into one. So cutting to story number one... A drug baron has hired a Taoist priest to create vampires to help him. He is being plagued by an anti-drug agent called Tom. The priest creates several vampires including the vampire-beast (a kyonsi wearing a gorilla mask - of which the concept cover art looks more effective) and in doing so creates sub plot 1a – we’ll get to that later.

The priest has the kyonsi attack the agents and Tom is killed. At this point we can look at the dialogue, which is some of the worst in a movie. Tom’s just died and so someone comes along and asks “Now that Tom is dead, I want to use his body to create an android-like robot. I'd appreciate you approving my application.”

Said robot, or androibot is created and goes to work fighting the kyonsi. How? He shoots at them – like that’s going to work! I mean, come on – we’ve actually watched bullets be ineffective so how is that meant to work? Oh, at one point he gets blown up with a bazooka but gets rebuilt as it was only a short circuit.

Plot 1a involves a ghost called Christine who was the lover of Peter, before he was turned into the vampire-beast. She attacks the Taoist priest until he agrees to marry them. Then later attacks androibot and finally, for no apparent reason, attacks the Taoist again.

Plot 2 – the other film. This has an agent called Sophie captured by another drugs Lord and a group of men, led by Ray (Sorapong Chatree), going off into the jungle to rescue her. Not a single supernatural aspect to this story and not a lot of continuity in its own right. Although we do learn that telling a baddy that his boss will think he squealed is enough to turn them to your side.

The effects are awful. The screenshot with this paragraph is supposed to be a life support monitor – I think. Honestly, the worst poverty row movies of the 30s had better effects. Even Doctor Who, at its cheapest moments, had more convincing equipment than this.

There are a lot of explosions thrown in for good measure, not that it’ll mean much as your mind will be numb. The sound effects that go with andriobot’s fabric costume sound like Robocop (which the film, obviously, has ripped off mercilessly) and the gunfire could have sounded better if they had fired toy guns.

Lordy, this is simply rubbish, not even chuckle worthy – 0 out of 10. There are some lower budget films that might seem, at first glance, worse - but they're not. The fact that this had some form of low budget, for explosions at least, has to sink this to Dante's lowest circle of Hell. You may notice, looking at the DVD box, that this is a double – with the sister film, I'll explain in that review (coming soon) why I haven't put sequel or indeed prequel.

The imdb page is here.

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