Robo Vampire (198)
Director: Joe Livingstone (alias)
Writers: William Palmer (alias)
Starring: Robin Mackay, Nian Watts, Harry Myles, and Joe Browne

The Plot: Somewhere in Hong Kong (presumably), there is a gang of drug peddlers who are at war with the law. There is one man in particular that seems to constantly get in the way of their nefarious goals, and that man is Tom. The mob are soon working with a witch doctor, of sorts, who devises a plan to create the ultimate vampire in order to defeat Tom. This ultimate vampire looks a lot like an ape… so yeah, the ape man’s former girlfriend comes back from the dead as a ghost in order to marry the ape-man-vampire which is supposed to soothe his spirit. This has no bearing on the plot, but it’s fun to mention. Tom does eventually fall in combat to the ape-man-vampire, but thanks to the miracles of modern medicine he comes back as a Robo Warrior, complete with a spray-painted outfit that is supposed to look like metal. The Robo Warrior, with his arsenal of firearms, begins blasting hopping vampires and random goons for the rest of the movie. Also, there’s some subplot from another movie cut into the action that I could not figure out how it was supposed to work with all of the Robo action.

The Review
When it comes to movies and their ridiculous titles, I’m the naive farm girl who can easily be led astray by absurd promises. More often than not, I’m hooked solely because of these preposterous movie titles that promise the world but ultimately deliver few of the thrills. Going into Robo Vampire, I already knew of its reputation. I knew that it was from Filmark, and I knew that it was often mis-attributed to Godfrey Ho. These two things alone point to a film that isn’t going to light the world on fire, but it still had all of the makings to be absurd fun. However, Robo Vampire is a movie of conflicting chaos. It is as outrageous and as stupid as the title suggests, but in ways that this same title does not even promise. This is not a movie about a robotic vampire who takes his fight against the living into new realms of technology. No, a more appropriate title would have been Robots vs. Vampires, which would have been an equally insane title. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that Filmark was in on their own joke, and in many ways they missed the boat on capitalizing on their own creative lunacy.

Good friend of the site Kenny B. from (and Sleazy K’s Video) has been fighting misconceptions about Robo Vampire for years. He is not a man who can tolerate seeing Godfrey Ho’s name being credited as the director of Robo Vampire, and it is an understandable annoyance. I see where the frustration comes from, as both Filmark and IFD studios both deserve their own rich heritage in terms of wild cut-and-paste madness. The biggest thing for newcomers to know about the world of wacky Hong Kong cut-and-paste ninja/action movies is that Godfrey Ho never actually worked for Filmark. So, if you don’t see this credit at the beginning of a cut-and-paste ninja movie, you should question whether or not Godfrey Ho was involved. How do we know Godfrey never worked for Filmark? This is according to Godfrey himself, as well as some of the other actors within this small community. Also, much thanks goes to gentlemen like Kenny B. as well as Jesús Molina over at Golden Ninja Warrior Chronicles who have done an unprecedented amount of work studying both film catalogs and they are consistently trying to discover and then spread their information about these movies with the rest of the world. Now, going back to Robo Vampire, who actually was the director of the movie if not Godfrey Ho? Joe Livingstone is credited, but who really knows? According to those who have studied hard in this area, there’s a good chance that either Kong Do, Sun Chien (yes, THE Sun Chien from 5 Deadly Venoms), or Tommy Cheng could have been responsible. Whoever is responsible, they certainly couldn’t be accused of being subtle or nuanced.

Surprisingly, Robo Vampire has far more original content than audiences may at first suspect. Although it does manage to cut a Thai movie into the midst of all the robot/vampire action, these scenes don’t seem to find their footing until somewhere around the halfway point in the movie. This is similar to the movie Ninja Operation: Knight and Warrior, which comes from IFD and manages to also pack a great deal of new footage. This is always a welcome surprise when looking into the back catalog of either of these companies, but these movies seem to be rather rare. If only these companies knew that in the future the things that they would be remembered for would almost always end up being their own creative endeavors. Sure, many of these Taiwanese/Thai/Filipino action films were good in their own right, but within the context of the IFD/Filmark formula, the most memorable bits always focus on the white ninjas or, in this case, the ape-suited villains and fake robots. When the Thai movie footage starts to really roll during the second half of this movie, viewers are likely to feel a little turned off. The original movie actually looks like it might have been entertaining in its own right, so this isn’t to disparage it. There is a brilliant shot featuring a dummy who gets launched off of a roof and also an exploding lift that sees two of the cast members taking part in an insane stunt where they fall from an outrageous height and then land inside of a river. Still, the footage is so shoddily incorporated into the movie that these sequences feel completely out of place and off-topic. In other words, it’s another day in cut-and-paste land.

Unfortunately, it takes a really long time for the film to actually reveal the Robocop knockoff. The audience is given some other cinematic oddities to behold, such as a man in an ape-suit that is supposed to be the ultimate vampire, a wedding between said ultimate vampire and his ghost ex, a scene that feels like it was directly lifted from Mr. Vampire (1985), and even some gore by way of hopping vampires! However, the game is completely changed once Tom, the anti-drug agent, becomes The Robo Warrior. After this, the stupidity levels are raised and no mere description can do the movie justice. The Robo Warrior, as you see in the images above, is a gentleman wearing a leather outfit of some sort that has been painted silver. He wears an outfit that is intended to look tough, but my God is this all hokey. After he awakens, we get scenes of The Robo Warrior shooting numerous vampires and goons, and we even get some overly-dramatic “robo acting” along the way. This is cinema that could not be made if the filmmakers knew any better or had any sense of self-awareness.

The Conclusion
Robo Vampire is a back-and-forth affair. It is packed to the brim with cinematic insanity, but it’s the bizarre pacing and poor use of the Thai base-movie makes this one drag during select moments. Still, you get outrageous stunts, incredibly goofy dubbing, and a plot that could only make sense in the mind of an eight year old. So, this one gets a three out of five rating, ut it certainly has moments that make it entertaining enough to be an easy four.

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