Blu-ray Review: Robot Wars (1993)

April 29, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

In the year 2041, the the United States is divided into two opposing blocs, the North Hemi and the Eastern Alliance. Now these two aren’t exactly bosom buddies, but they both really hate the pirates known as Centros who go around causing all manner of havoc. Can anyone stand in their way? Why yes, yes they can (because if the answer was “no” this would have been a very short film…)…two anyone’s in fact; a rogue mega-robot pilot (Don Michael Paul) and his pal Stumpy (James Staley…who, in a real humdinger of a twist has all of his appendages) who discover that dignitaries from the EA are out to steal the aforementioned scorpion shaped mechanical marvel (the last of it’s kind…or is it?). Anyway those evil bastards succeed, but our heroes…along with plucky archaeologist Leda (the legendary Barbara Crampton) discover a hidden mega-robot (this one humanoid in apperance)…which of course leads to a nice bout of robot asskickery!
Simply put; Robot Wars is a hoot and a freakin’ half! Filled to the brim with cartoony villains, hard-hittin heroes, excellent stop-motion effects, “pew pew” lasers, and beautiful miniatures…and one of my all time-favs; a quick pace spread over a brief run time (an hour and eleven minutes to be precise). This is the type of flick that just makes you feel like a kid again (whether you saw it in your misspent youth or not); it’s great, escapist sci-fi fun that doesn’t take itself seriously! Additionally the chemistry between Paul and Staley is superb as they come across as old friends up for whatever wacky adventure the year 2041 can throw at them!
Also of note, this film is a sort of spiritual successor to Empire Pictures’ (the pre-cursor to Full Moon, the company that released this film) RobotJox…not a full on sequel by any means, but the flavor of that flick is definitely present in this offering (plus actor Danny Kamekona appears in both films albeit as different characters, and the stop-motion is handled by the maestro David Allen in both productions).
As good as the main event is; those fiendish freaks over at Full Moon entertainment have saw fit to sweeten the pot with a few bonus features as well! Included on this Blu are: the original Videozone that accompanied the VHS release (for those not in the know, these things were well and truly the shit…you’d get making of material on the feature at hand, news about upcoming Full Moon features straight from studio head Charlie Band himself, interviews, trailers, and of course the absolutely stunning Charlie Spradling hawking the latest Full Moon merch), a nice retrospective on F/X wizard Allen’s work for Charlie Band, an archival piece on Charlie Band’s contribution to genre film making, and a collection of trailers.
Robot Wars is simply a great low-budget (though ambitious) sci-fi adventure film; it’s like a living comic book…chock full of colorful characters, hand-crafted effects, campy dialog, and rollicking action…you know; the type of material I live for!


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