Tuesday, 3 November 2015

War of the Robots (1978)

The success of Star Wars prompted a host of cheap Italian imitations.  None of them were any good, of course.  That's not how cheap Italian imitations work.  The best you could hope for is that they'd manage to be endearingly stupid in some way, like Starcrash.

This is no Starcrash.

Alien robots stage an attack on a scientist's home and abduct him and his female assistant.  Said assistant is also the scientist's lover, but she's secretly two-timing him with a starship captain.

No prizes for guessing who gets the job to chase after the abductees.

It's imperative that the scientist be recovered within eight days, because he left a nuclear experiment running at his home (as you do) and without his assistance to shut it down, it will go critical and destroy the nearby city.  The authorities are less worried about the assistant, but obviously our space captain has a personal interest there.

Naturally there are some misadventures during the chase itself, but the film's real shenanigans begin when the pursuers reach the alien planet.  The scientist doesn't want to leave, because the aliens desperately need his research and willingly give him all the resources he struggled to get on Earth.  Oh, and for reasons the film will never give, the assistant is now Empress of the alien planet.

Now of course, the sensible thing for the space captain to do in this situation is accept the scientist's decision - on the proviso he give instructions for shutting down the experiment - then settle down to become Mr Empress of the Aliens.  But if he did that, how would we get our fill of poorly staged "light sword" fights and even more poorly staged "space battles"?

With the exception of one shining moment of utterly stupid, right near the end (hint to the characters in this film, if someone asks you "Should I kill her, or let her kill you?", you should probably say "Kill her!" not "That has to be your choice."), this is banal stuff.

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