Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Robo Vampire (1988)

As I wrote in my American Ninja 2 review, the 80's were a time in cinematic history when ninjas were running rampant.  On the high end of the spectrum were the Cannon flicks (a sentence that should make you tremble with fear) and on the low end were a ton of cheap films produced and directed by the likes of Godfrey Ho, Joseph Lai and Tomas Tang who tended to team up (assuming they weren't all pseudonyms for one amazingly untalented hack filmmaker).  Their M.O. was to take an unfinished  crappy Hong Kong action film, stick some white dudes in it along with some gaudily attired ninjas (usually wearing headbands that read "NINJA" on the front), "edit" it into something "coherent", find the worst folks possible to dub the things into English and then crap the end result onto the VHS market.

Given that this was during the big home video boom, you can guess that it worked out better than they could have ever imagined as there are scores of hilariously awful ninja movies to be found providing you know where to look and have a high pain threshold.

On the tail end of the trend came our subject today, a solo effort from  Mr. Tang that takes the basic premise of Robocop, tosses in some Chinese vampires (the key difference is that they get around by hopping which is actually pretty creepy if you think about it) and is maybe the most impossible-to-review movie I have ever come across...And that will stand until the next review of a crappy movie from a 50 movie pack I do.  First off, the release date seems to be a little up in the air as I've seen both 1988 and 1993 given.  Based on the quality of the f/x work I'm going with 1988 but that's pure conjecture on my part.

As you might have guessed from the rating, I'm at a loss, simply at a loss as to how the hell to grade this thing let alone review it.  The plot...and I'm sure calling it that is supernaturally inaccurate, tells the tale of a DEA agent named Tom who is targeted by drug runner Kull who decided to have a Taoist priest (I think) he knows send vampires after him.  I'm not actually 100% sure who the guy playing Tom is supposed to be, it only really becomes sort of clear when he's finally turned into a robot.

That's about all I can really say for certain as the rest of film is quite haphazard with such bizarre sights as drugs being smuggled inside the vampires; a vampire that's actually some guy in a gorilla mask who's in love with a ghost woman, the usual assortment of bad actors and dialogue, an out of nowhere rescue mission (because we need a female lead and the film needs to padded out to 90 minutes) with an entirely different character doing the rescuing along with an abrupt change on tone (cheesy fun to dead serious), and just an overall sense of weirdness and insanity.

Robo-Tom himself is as out there as everything else with his hilariously loud footsteps, the bad "robot" suit that looks more like one of those foam suits used to train attack dogs, the fact that he can be blown up and put back together easily and the fact that he's maybe the slowest law enforcement robot I have ever seen.

Make no mistake, this is one of the worst films ever cobbled together.  The plot is incoherent, the acting and dubbing is terrible, the f/x work is shoddy and the action is mediocre at its best.  Having said that, this is sort of entertaining if you're in the right frame of mind.  It's really, really bad but also quite unintentionally hilarious in parts.


  1. Great write-up! The cover is hilarious...it looks JUST LIKE Robocop.

    1. Thanks. I have no idea how they got away with that.

  2. Oh my, you do the plot justice Ed, but how could you NOT love this film?! There's no accounting for taste I suppose and this is one of my all time favorites.

    1. It's definitely an insane gem, I'll have to toss it again sometime.


About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.