Oct 14, 2011

Robotrix (1991)
Director: Jamie Luk
Writers: Jamie Luk and Siu Man Sing
Starring: Chikako Aoyama, Amy Yip and Billy Chow

The Plot: The evil scientist Yamamoto (Billy Chow) is out to prove something to the rest of the scientific world. After years of relegation within the scientific community, he wants to show that he is the top scientific mind in the world of robotics. To do this, he transmits his mind into a robot’s body. With this new body, he has an over abundance of power and he decides to put it to good use! He immediately begins frequenting prostitutes to demonstrate his new vitality and goes to work attacking his competitors with his tremendous martial skills! While attacking a foreign diplomat, Yamamoto kills dedicated police officer Sara (Chikako Aoyama) who is beloved by nearly everyone on the force. At the same time that Sara is gunned down, the police are sent a video tape of Yammamoto’s transformation and they take it to another top professor in the field of robotics. This professor decides that the only way to fight Yamamoto now is to take another human mind and transfer it into the body of a robot, and Sara’s mind is the perfect candidate. So now Sara, the professor and her assistant (played by Amy Yip) must defeat this evil scientist once and for all!

The Review
Robotrix is the sort of movie that defies genre definition. A mixture of various genre types, the movie is all over the board and hard to categorize. There are many movies that follow along in a similar vein and it seems that this confusion is usually felt most when the lines between horror and science fiction are blurred. Then, you throw a few more confusing ingredients into the mix and the audience is left with a movie that is nearly uncategorical. Robotrix is reminiscent of titles such as Lady Terminator not only in its content but also in the fact that it walks the line between camp, science fiction, horror and pure adrenaline-pumping action. Made within Hong Kong during the nineties and featuring a CAT III rating as well, you can expect plenty of sexy exploitation within Robotrix. Although it isn’t a movie generally meant to frighten, it certainly seems to have elements of The Terminator involved in the story and presents a slightly morbid view of future technologies. All of these concepts are secondary only to cleavage shots and the intense action sequences, which are treated as much more valuable properties within Robotrix.

Misogyny is treated as a punchline throughout the majority of the movie, as the film seems to grab at audiences who recognize these backwards feelings within certain segments of modern Chinese society. The film partially deals with a fear that some men have of a woman possibly being more competent in the workplace than they are, but any actual attempts at dealing with this issue are negated by the rampant juvenile boob jokes throughout the majority of the picture. However, I think that this subtext was added by the filmmakers in order to add a certain degree of texture within the film and generally they were fairly successful in that regard. The female empowerment felt within the “girls with guns” genre is certainly felt here, but this time out we don’t have any extraordinarily talented female leads like Yukari Oshima or Moon Lee in order to really sell the action and make it all that much more impressive. Instead, we have Chikako Aoyama and Amy Yip who were obviously chosen for the size of their chest, which are both quite spectacular, but not for their magnificent athletic prowess. Not that these actresses don’t put in worthwhile performances, because they do, but the gargantuan size of their breasts are almost always the main focus of any full body shot featuring their presence.

Billy Chow, the ever present villain for many Hong Kong titles, is absolutely balls out bonkers in this movie. The man doesn’t know how to accept any other direction other than “all out” and that is precisely how he delivers. His portrayal of this Japanese uber scientist Yamamoto is patently over the top. The rest of the cast are all quite adequate in their roles, including Amy Yip who is still the ultimate tease. Known for her gigantic bosoms that she refuses to show on-film, she always conveniently hides them so that the camera doesn’t accidentally catch a glimpse of nipple. Chikako Aoyama isn’t as bashful, however, and disrobes for the screen without hesitation. However, these amazing beauties and the over the top performance of Billy Chow is only part of the reason anyone should watch the movie. So much of the audience’s enjoyment of something like Robotrix will come down to their enjoyment of its overall audacity and insanity.

Robotrix is of course the tackiest version of The Terminator that you have ever seen. Even more absurd than Universal Soldier, after all this is the only evil-android movie to feature oral rape, Robotrix is fairly shocking. I won’t even begin to describe the series of events that lead up to the previously mentioned oral rape, but I will say that the scene culminates in a martial arts battle… that features a flamethrower. If you’re thinking this sounds like cinematic-ADD, then I would have to agree with that assessment. The film is all over the place, but never fully commits to any one area so it never gets to shine in most regards. It is a wild CAT III action film, but it doesn’t deliver much other than a little gore and two or three sex scenes that push the boundaries of bad taste. The movie never reaches its potential in terms of tackiness and utter depravity, nor does it actual present a worthwhile storyline or heart pounding action.

The Conclusion
Generally speaking, Robotrix is very good in a lot of areas but never “great” in any one single direction. A goofy little film with a bit of fun and a lot of T&A, but if you’re expecting to be shocked or blown away by the movie then you may be disappointed. However, despite all of the things that the movie does right I have to give it a three out of five. Even though it isn’t amazing, it’s certainly worth tracking down.