Saturday, September 7, 2013

Project Terrible: The War of the Robots (1978)

Well, I was hoping that my other Project Terrible buddies would just sort of forget that I still had to watch this movie for Project Terrible, but Alec sure is a persistent fellow. I had problems getting it to load all the way on YouTube so that was my initial excuse for not reviewing the movie yet. Then I made the mistake of getting my internet fixed (just took a new modem - imagine that!) so my sense of duty and honest nature made me venture into the strange, Italian sci-fi world of War of the Robots, a truly gawd awful movie if ever there was one. Thank you, Maynard. You sure know how to pick 'em.

The plot. There's an old professor and his hottie assistant who are working on creating life out of nothing. No more explanation is given on how exactly that can be accomplished or what the hell he's actually doing. Anyway, these two get kidnapped by some robot aliens and taken back to their planet, so's they can use his expertise to help their race. Captain John Boyd of the ship Trissi, who is banging the hottie assistant, and his crew are sent to go after them and get help from some other aliens in order to do that. Or something.

War of the Robots has forced me resort to a meme to accurately describe my reaction to it. I think this one will do:

Indeed, Will Smith. I'm pretty sure that was the face I was making during the whole movie. I mean, I'll give the flick some props for being a bit more involved than I expected it to be, but then again, that fact just made the whole thing about 10 times harder for me to follow, mostly because I didn't want to. The movie is an hour and forty minutes long and it's about... an hour and forty minutes too long. I tried not to space out too much, but it was damn near impossible, especially during the space battle at the end that went on for about four hours. I actually clapped for myself when the credits finally came on screen.

Despite all that, there were many things to enjoy about War of the Robots thanks to some wonderfully bad dubbing, bad costuming, bad set design, and oh yes, bad acting. I have to mention one of my new favorite movie lines, which is when Captain John is first meeting the other alien race - the bald eyeless guys - and the alien asks if John can understand him. John's response? He points to some retarded gizmo on his wrist and says something like, "Yes I can understand you... thanks to this electronic translator." Bhaha! Really?!

The rest of acting is incredibly stilted and emotionless from pretty much all involved. I don't think I can completely blame it on the dubbing because, hell, I wouldn't have put that much effort into any of these roles either. I didn't even listen to half the dialogue at the beginning because it was all ridiculous spaceship jargon that didn't even try to make any sense. The actors were obviously just saying the words without having the slightest idea what the hell they were really saying.

Bad costuming... Okay, it's understandable for the time the movie was filmed and therefore it's hilariously bad. They all wear similar skintight outfits, just that some of them are different colors and some of the women's outfits are a bit more low cut. The robot aliens from Anthor (or whatever) are all freaking clones and have wonderful Village of the Damned hairdos - as do some of the humans on the Trissi, which is slightly confusing. Their "anti-radiation suits" when they arrive on the other planet are also hilarious because it is just more shiny, skintight plastic leotards that can't possible protect them against radiation, for one because they don't wear gloves or helmets with them. Lois's hairdo when she becomes the empress of the aliens (yeah, that happens somewhere in there) is quite impressive, I must say.

The set design and the action scenes also suck a lot. My favorite thing was how all their little laser guns didn't actually shoot anything - they just had a light at the end of the barrel to make it look like something was happening. Then when somebody actually got shot, apparently all the actors went to the Elementary School Playground School of Dying which consists of your upper body going all stiff all of the sudden and then just sort of crumpling to your knees. Every single alien died this way and it was way annoying. The space battles had only the basics of effects but it surprisingly didn't bother me all that much because it could have been much worse. Though light sabers come into play later on, it doesn't really help any of these scenes, despite the fact that they actually get to cut the aliens in half and cut off their arms.

For a while there, I thought I was dead and was actually experiencing what hell was like. Then War of the Robots ended and I was gladly brought back to real life. True sci-fi buffs might actually get something from this movie just for nostalgia or history but for everyone else, it is one that you can go your entire life without seeing and not miss a thing. No, truly. It's not a good movie. And you never need to see it, believe me.


  1. Italy can be your greatest friend (see Argento films) and your greatest enemy (see most of their Star Wars rip-offs). I've had both.

    Those Space films can be rough. The ones I saw were only tolerable with company. Even then...ouch.

    I promise not to give you an Italian film in the next Round if you take part. I won't lie to you and say that the film will be *good*, but it will be American.

  2. Maynard slapped this horrid film on me in an earlier round, and it truly is awful even by Star Wars rip-off standards. I've seen three of this director's Star Wars-"inspired" films now, and while each has its moments ("...probable color: red." - Cosmos: War of the Planets), the only one of the three to be consistently watchable--albeit for all the wrong reasons--was Star Odyssey, which just was packed to the brim with insane garbage. Even that is not by any means a good or even decent film, but it had enough giggle-worthy moments of stupidity to be entertaining with a group. Cosmos: War of the Planets was awful. War of the Robots somehow contrives to be worse.

    I can handle insanity and stupidity. Outright boredom, not so much.

  3. Speaking of bad Italian sci-fi, will we see a review of STARCRASH at some point? In addition to using Marjoe Gortner, Christopher Plummer, Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro, the director (Luigi Cozzi) is responsible for that weird underground colorized version of GODZILLA.

  4. Such an awful but hilarious film. The whole time through, I was giggling like an idiot. The "fight scenes", the costumes, the hair... wonderful! ;-)