June 24, 2014

ROBO VAMPIRE


The End of Summer (TEOS): Legend has it that the feature film Robo Vampire was created when two unfinished films were face-smashed together with all the finesse and caring of a Philadelphia sports fan. Hearing that, one might think Unfinished Movie # 1 was a Robocop rip-off while Unfinished Movie # 2 was a vampire flick. But you'd be wrong. That's actually all part of that first unfinished flick. Edited into that mess with little-to-no technique is a random and quite boringly normal film about good guys trying to take down some drug dealers.

Though the final film is credited to Joe Livingstone, the film in actuality was _____ed by Godfrey Ho, mastermind behind the wonderful garbage that is Undefeatable. So, the question remains: Did Ho direct and abandon the robot/vampire film, or the boring drug dealers film, or was he responsible for neither until some dude showed up with a trunk of negatives and said "make something from this garbage"?

Quite honestly I have no idea – hence my ambiguous blank space – but it doesn't really matter, now does it? Robo Vampire exists. It's a thing. Just like Honey Boo Boo or Obamacare.

Exploitation Movie Review (EMR): The first thing that is apparent about this movie is that the production value is, as you would probably expect, pretty poor and looks like it was made on a budget of “money I managed to find in the change tray of a vending machine.”

TEOS: It shows, although it tries to start off with immense excitement. Robo Vampire begins in Unfinished Movie # 1, where a bunch of soldiers are forcing some drug dealers at gunpoint to march. They come upon coffins filled with snakes and immediately become terrified. I would be too, if an unseen film crew-member were hidden inside those coffins and obviously throwing snakes at me.

EMR: When the soldiers get spooked by the snakes in the coffins, they react in a pretty unreasonable way that betrays their undoubtedly high standard of training: by shooting the shit out of the snakes, which explode in a way that makes me think they were packed with TNT or something, so that’s pretty weird.

TEOS: Before someone can make a "watch out for snakes!" joke, turns out snakes aren't the only scary thing in those coffins, but also vampires. Chinese vampires.

Now before you send me a meme of a black kid saying “That’s racist,” let me clarify that I specified the ethnicity of these vampires for one simple reason: In Chinese mythology, vampires hop. They do not run, walk, or sprint. And that's not just Robo Vampire mythology, but honest-to-gosh established Chinese mythology.

EMR: Yep. They totally hop.

TEOS: Fucking China.

EMR: Also, I’m not so sure these army guys are professionals, because there’s a quick, off-setting shot of one of them wearing hi-top Converse and I don’t think any army would be so quick to dispense with those cumbersome, regulation boots in favour of the comfort and style of some Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

TEOS: The vampire kills off the American soldiers and the remaining drug dealers flee in joy. And this is all pre-title sequence, baby.

EMR: The pre-credits sequence made me feel like I was having a stroke, but it completely sets up the tone of the movie, so I’ll give it a pass.

For his birthday, Billy’s father bought him
a fucking Chinese vampire.

TEOS: I really like this next sequence, because in one simple sentence, the entire film is summed up, and if you were out buying SnoCaps or something during this part, you’d have no fucking idea what was happening during the rest of the film. So, at an ominous drug dealers meeting, Head Drug Dealer is super pissed off at Head Anti-Drug Agent, who I think is named Tom, so he's going to be hiring a Taoist to "train the vampires to deal with him."

"Training vampires." And we're not even five minutes in. I mean…that’s fucking fantastic.

EMR: This head drug dealer guy asks his men to contact headquarters and get them to find a new way to smuggle in the heroin. As a solution to their problem, it’s such a nonchalant request, put to them in an overly casual way. I can’t help but think this is a logistics operation like UPS or DHL and there’s a customer services department set up that specifically deals with this kind of shit:

“What’s that? Border patrol stopped the boat and took the entire shipment? Ok, well have you thought about packing the drugs in your asshole...? Not a problem, thanks for calling Drug Shipment Solutions and have a nice day.”

It’s not the request that bothers me, it’s the way that logic apparently works in this guy’s mind, like a kid who thinks that you’d buy a new dog from ‘the dog store.’

Also, I’m pretty sure that these men thought the life of a drug dealer would be like the montage from Scarface and not this black magic crap. These poor bastards are probably wondering where their lives went so wrong and when “Push It To The Limit” is gonna kick in instead of the impending “yumma-yumma-yumma-yumma-yahmma” Vampire incantation bullshit.

TEOS: So, color me ignorant in the ways of Chinese culture, but, tell me if this makes sense: At the drug stash house, two guys with Chinese faces and non-Chinese names are doing stuff with the drugs, and Ken lights incense, bows, and says "Bless our drugs." Did we learn this in world history and just completely forget about it?

EMR: I hear that this totally works and nothing bad ever happens ever if you do this. Plus, in the setup for this scene, you get two racial stereotypes for the price of one, because Ken is clumsy and nervous and speaks like a black maid circa 1890.

TEOS: That’s true. Tony, likewise, bows to the dozen vampires that are there in some sort of comatose state and says, "Thank you, vampires," so, drug dealers or not, at least they’re genial.

EMR: While Tony is busying himself with a severely undercooked chicken, Ken is dicking about and treating this whole situation like it’s a Halloween lawn display. He starts to light some lamps and Tony warns him that if he starts a fire, the vampires will wake up, but Ken disregards this advice because this is a totally reasonable time not to believe in the mythology.

TEOS: And then, don’t you know it? Ken burns his cock with the cigarette that's sticking out of a vampire's mouth and screams, and all the vampires wake up. It’s not a fire exactly, but Ken’s balls would beg to differ, so…

EMR: Ok, fair enough. Perhaps he was right not to believe that the fire would wake them up, and Tony has been an irresponsible asshole for not warning his buddy that screaming cock burn can also disturb the vampires from their slumber, but these motherfuckers need better health and safety regulations in this work place.

"...Thomas!"

TEOS: But it’s all good, yo. The dusty vampires are punched around until the aforementioned Taoist enters and takes care of shit by reapplying the binding spells to the front of the vampires' faces and they go back into their slumber thing. Then he says, "Let me take a look of those drugs." He does the dip-n-lick and determines the drugs are actually rice powder, not heroin. So now they need to figure out at what point they got fucked. (This may or may not ever be resolved.)

EMR: I’m going to say it; I didn’t understand a single fucking thing that happened in that scene… Later, main drug dealer guy goes to a meeting at the harbour with some other undisclosed drug guys who seem to be just chilling out on a boat and tells them they’re not in the “drug smuggling business” anymore, but in the “body smuggling business” (along with their chain of pet stores called ‘The Dog Shop’). I don’t know if this drastic change of direction is going to fuck up their 401K, but they don’t seem too phased by this change and go back to just standing around the boat from before and looking suspicious.

In the next scene, it’s clear that Drug Solutions PLC have come up with a revolutionary idea for smuggling drugs, because this chick is cutting open a dead cow/pig/horse/whatever, stashing the drugs inside the body of the animal, and sewing it back up. This would have been the most ingenious scene of the entire film if it hadn’t done me the disservice of ruining The Empire Strikes Back for the rest of my life.

“And I thought these drugs smelled like rice…on the outside.”

TEOS: White guys show up and, for whatever reason, act as if they're not scared of vampires, even going so far as to laugh at this whole affair. (I mean, come on. I know white people are arrogant, but, be fucking scared of vampires. They will eat you.) For added protection (and hilarity), the white dudes wear garlic around their necks (and make them look like really nonplussed tourists fresh off a seventeen-hour plane ride).

EMR: One of these white guys seems to have had a seamstress knock together an adult size jumper that looks like the one he bought his 2-year-old son for Christmas. It’s fabulously inappropriate for a black magic meet-up and casts serious aspersions over this dude’s mental state. I’m hoping he’s not developmentally disabled or anything like in that movie Jack.

In addition to the snakes in the vampire’s coffin, someone’s thrown a gerbil in there as well. I did some research and I don’t think it’s for good luck or anything. Looks pretty cute, though. For the remainder of this scene, I was mostly worrying about the gerbil.

TEOS: As the main vampire is waking up, a ghost woman crashes the party and she begins a diatribe so long-winded and complicated that at one point the Taoist slowly turns away from her and looks right into the camera as if to say, "This is fucking brutal, isn't it?"

 “Does anyone have a mouth gun?”

EMR: I’m still really fuckin’ worried about that gerbil.

TEOS: He’s fine, dude. He was adopted by a rather famous Hollywood actor…

Oh, so, turns out this vampire the Taoist was about to awaken was this chick's once-husband, so she totes takes this all kinds of personal. Her monologue about it is so long that it's actually still happening long after you'll have peaced off to bed, gotten up, gone to work, repeated this for fifty more years, retired, caught a fish, lost a fish, and then died. Plus fifty more years.

The good thing about this unending ghost monologue is that her shirt is see-through, so enjoy those tits, boys.

EMR: Originally I thought the tits would throw me off and make me miss some of the key plot points in this movie, and that was the last thing I wanted to happen. However, I can happily report that the tits are subtly displayed so as to not detract from the intensity of the drama.

At one point during Ghost Tits’ monologue, the Taoist explains that she and the Vampire guy could never have been together, because he is from the East and she is from the West. This made me think that the only way they could ever reconcile their differences in the eyes of the stuffy, autocratic society was through the medium of modern street dance like in Footloose or Save The Last Dance. As much as you and I want that to happen, it isn’t to be. The closest you’ll get is a fight scene where the Taoist’s shoes create sparks, which I’m choosing to believe is an allegory for sexual tension.


TEOS: While that is a bummer, we DID get tits and shoe sparks, after all.

The Taoist finally awakens the vampire husband (human name Peter) and commands him to fight Ghost Tits. He does, and I'm pretty sure he's wearing a gorilla mask. Lots of hopping and kung-fu happens and I swear – no bullshit – the scene concludes with one of the white guys suggesting the ghost and the vampire get married.

Hey, this movie is kind of like Big Trouble in Little China, only it's fucking terrible.

EMR: I have to concur. Watching this movie is like rubbing your face in myxomotosis.


TEOS: While trying to smuggle out some drugs, the dealers run afoul of some soldiers, who actually do a good job of taking most of them out. The Taoist calls on his army of the loyal hopping undead to assist. The vampires use mouth smoke and sleeve sparks to dispatch these soldiers with ease – one of them being Tom, that main anti-drug agent the bad guys were way worried about. (RIP Tom!)

EMR: My favourite moment of this scene was when the Taoist visibly remembers that he’s some kind of wizard in charge of a shit load of vampires. Things could have gotten awkward back there if he’d been taken into custody and then realised that he’s a master of the dark arts.

TEOS: Yeah, it’s kind of like lying on your couch and being super hungry before remembering you have that leftover quesadilla from Applebee’s in the fridge and – bonus! – you love to eat that shit cold.

EMR: Also, the fact that the head vampire with the gorilla mask can shoot fireworks from the sleeves of his robe proves that this is the least racially sensitive movie since anything produced in Berlin between 1939 and 1945.

TEOS: I especially like this next sequence, too. Let’s just say I wish all aspects of life were this fucking cut-and-dry. At the hospital, other military personnel receive the news that Tom is dead. Without missing a beat, and with nary a look of mourning, one man turns to another and says, "Since Tom is dead, I want to make use of his body to make an android-like robot."

"All right."

EMR: One of these guys, who’s apparently this other guy’s commanding officer, despite the fact that he looks about 25 years his junior, tells this other army dude that the most important thing for him to remember is “that this project needs to be carried out in the strictest confidence, so don’t you worry about the moral and philosophical implications of your actions – just make sure no one knows what’s going on because, to be frank, this idea of yours to turn Tom into a robot is nothing short of fucking insane and I’m trying to bang Stephanie from Maintenance and if she finds out about this shit, she won’t even fucking look at me again without wanting to cry.”

Not all of that is verbatim.

TEOS: I’d hope not. Who’d want to willingly bang a chick who LOOKS like a chick that works in Maintenance?

So, literally that same day, the experiment is complete and Tom has become Robo-Tom. (Welcome back, Tom!)  Off he goes, without a single fucking word spoken to him about who he is, what he's become, or what his mission is. It just immediately cuts to the next scene and he's man-handling a bunch of dudes. Looks like this whole android-like robot idea is really paying off!

EMR: I can barely cope with this turn of events.  

"We have the technology. We can rebuild him.
But I want my retarded niece to supervise."

TEOS: At an attempted nearby drug smuggle, Robo-Tom shows up and begins pumping lead into a vampire, but the blood-sucker throws in the towel and vanishes into a puff of smoke. Robo-Tom continues to fire rounds at the empty ground anyway because he’s self-destructive and a little depressed.

Meanwhile, in Unfinished Movie # 2, an anti-drug agent has been kidnapped and the hero of THIS story, Bill, is tasked with rescuing her. You'll soon agree that Unfinished Movie # 2 is boring as sin, and frankly – when compared to the completely gonzo Unfinished Movie # 1 – isn't even worth analyzing.

EMR: I thought about delving a little bit more into the plot of Unfinished Movie # 2, but then I realised that I was transmogrifying into a Kafka-esque nightmare that my family and friends no longer recognise.

I can’t even make heads or tails of this bullshit, so I’ll just say what I see. These henchmen start shooting up a church (seriously, don’t even ask me how this came to be because it’s literally happening right now, as I’m writing. I’ve got the movie in front of me and it’s worse than a Motley Crue video) and there’s this nun who’s apparently a DEA agent in disguise or something. She’s immediately overpowered and threatened with unrequested drug dealer dick. Whilst being given a dose of exposition by the henchmen, this chick looks like she’s coping with the intensity of the situation by pretending to shower. Some other shit happens. It’s fucking stupid.

TEOS: Don’t worry, because we’re back in Unfinished Movie # 1, where Robo-Tom clomps his big stupid metal feet around a beach and then fights some vampires. Then the drug dealers blow him the fuck up with a rocket launcher. Seriously, if your eyes work, first you'll see a pile of metal eviscerated by an explosion, but then after a quick cut, he's merely on fire. And then after another quick cut, Robo-Tom is suddenly, befuddlingly, back in the lab being worked on by his scientist creators because he's pretty dead. (RIP Tom!) I'm not sure how he even got there, but the point is: Nothing can keep Robo-Tom down.

EMR: The fuck is this shit? Has he been built by the People’s Army Of Dumb Fuck Island? Is that even a place? I doubt that’s even a place. I don’t know. Look, basically he’s a shit cyborg. One of the scientists rebuilding Robo-Tom says that the damage isn’t that serious, but being on fire and exploding is pretty fucking serious. Imagine if your microwave oven did the same thing.

“Oh my fuck! The kitchen’s on fire!”

“Yeah, it’s cool. I just need to change the fuse.”


TEOS: Well, the good news is fixing Robo-Tom is just as easy as fixing a microwave. They tinker with him a bit and then he's good to go and back out in the field. (Welcome back, Tom!)

But then we end up back in Unfinished Movie # 2, and I gotta say, man, I just don't fucking care about anything going on here. The attempt to make something "serious" with this movie is so badly juxtaposed against the other completely insane story that these random diversions feel like hitting a brick wall. Knowing there are robot cops and hopping vampires in the other reel makes sitting through these portions feel like Chinese water torture, which, ironically, is actually a plot device utilized in Unfinished Movie # 2. It’s a pity it didn’t know it could have used itself as torture.

EMR: Yeah, the water torture scene is pretty brutal, if only because the henchman who’s in charge of administering the torture tells the woman being tortured that soon she’ll be begging them to finish her off, which, for an instant, made me think that maybe there was an unfinished soft-core porn movie being mashed in with these other two movies as well. Some of those DEA agents from a while ago are going to try and save her, but I really don’t give a fuck, because it’s like this shit’s happening on a different channel entirely.

TEOS: You might’ve been on the right track re: porn. We’re back to Unfinished Movie # 1/Robo-Tom, and I actually hear porn music…

EMR: Oh, ok! Maybe there IS another unfinished movie coming into play, here…

“Come in me, bro.”

TEOS: Ghost Tits seductively beckons to Peter, her gorilla-faced vampire husband, to come take her in the throes of passion. And he does.

EMR: Awwhhh shiiiiit…I say that, but this scene’s as sexually appealing to me as smashing bowling balls into buckets of medical waste.

TEOS: That is until Robo-Tom shows up to totally cock-block Peter.

EMR: That motherFUCKER! It’s inexcusable, cybernetic organism or not. However, it does add some credence to my theory that all cock blockers are designed and built in a government lab…but fuck this movie. How DARE it try and teach me things.

TEOS: At this point, there is absolutely nothing in Robo Vampire that makes any sense, because the ghost begs Robo-Tom to let their sex happen before he kills them so their love may be consummated. Robo-Tom, having a flashback to his pre-robot days (and good luck being able to see a single fucking thing during this too-dark sequence) when HE almost had sex but then didn't, declines that request.

EMR: This is…just…so bad.

TEOS: I know. And to make matters worse…we're back to Unfinished Movie # 2 again. (Fast-forward!)

EMR: Yeah, I’m not even going to try and pass comment on Unfinished Movie # 2. I honestly tried to make sense of this turd, but an error message flashed up on my monitor suggesting that a more profitable use of my time would be for me to kill my wife and cut off my own penis, so I thought it best not to continue watching it.

TEOS: I’d watch that if that were a movie. Is that weird?

Whoa, Unfinished Movie # 1 is getting pretty hardcore. The drug dealers are pleading to “get rid of that robo warrior!"

EMR: It’s a valiant effort to get this fucking thing back on track, I have to admit.


Terror.

TEOS: "Drop your weapons in fifteen seconds!" Robo-Tom, who is suddenly there, oddly demands to the drug dealers. He then begins counting down from fifteen (kind of a generous amount of time to allow them to comply). Thankfully no one complies and Robo-Tom shoots them all with his perpetually loaded shotgun. The vampires come out in full force, ready to smack him around and up to the tops of buildings, but Robo-Tom dispatches all of them and then chases down Peter into the heart of the city, where their final confrontation unfolds on the brightly lit streets of China City.

EMR: The lead-in to this scene starts with a tasteful close-up of Robo-Tom’s dick.

TEOS: Well, he needs that when nailing the maid from The Jetsons.

So, I think we’re coming to the end here. Robo-Tom chases Peter over a bridge; Peter hops awkwardly away from him as Robo-Tom follows slowly behind, his awful "loud metal" footsteps sounding more like Keds against a kickball. And in the confrontation no one was waiting for, the ghost woman and the Taoist end up duking it out. Tits happen, along with some blood, and then she claws his face, which kills him.

EMR: That’s actually the second time in this movie that a female character chooses to end a villain’s life by scratching his face. If it happens more than once, then it’s science, right?

TEOS: I’m pretty sure that’s the rule.

Robo-Tom and Peter end up back in a den of other vampires and Robo-Tom literally begins kicking them until they spit out chop suey and expire. Other vampires start hopping around him in circles and laughing in vampire glee, but then he just kills them all, because he's a robot and they're not. Then he sets Peter on fire and he totally wins.

EMR: Robo-Tom stands amidst the carnage for a moment, silently and awkwardly considering the full gravitas of the bullshit of which he has been a part. Then the title card kicks in and you immediately feel like you’ve wasted a thousand years of your life.

This movie is worse than your own mother telling you that she doesn’t love you anymore. There are Christian Aid workers who would kill themselves even if they were watching this movie from behind a protective shield, in another country, in the past. This film throws up more unanswered questions than the Kennedy assassination and makes as much sense as an eggplant with a dick. Basically, it kind of upset me.

TEOS: If it makes you feel any better, the gerbil sends his regards.

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