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Roy Ward Baker
Contrary to popular opinion, it won't make you want to gouge your eyes out...BUT...
"RVAM"'s reputation preceded it. I first heard of it in one of those Medved style movie books, "The 50 Worst Movies Ever" or "The Golden Turkey Awards", or something like that. Every review of the film basically said that this movie was so bad that it would make you bleed from the eyes to watch it. So when the Exposed Film Society finally got around to showing it, I was anticipating the kind of cathartic experience that only a true cinematic stinker can provide.
However, "Robot" wasn't really all that bad.
Oh, this is definitely a "Z" film through and through. Some of the voice dubbing (as is usually the case for K. Gordon Murray imports) is awfully cheesy, and the movie itself seems to be structurally something of a Frankenstein, since a huge chunk of it seems to be footage from a previous "Aztec Mummy" movie, narrated with a voice-over by the leading man. A dead giveaway: anytime the question "Then what happened?" is asked more than twice in the dialog, you are looking at reassembled footage put together with little regard for plot coherence or momentum. In RVAM, "Then what happened?" or "What happened then?" is uttered at least four times in the 1st hour.
Even without the structural problems, the plot and dialog don't translate well to an older American audience. For instance, as the hero explains (and explains and explains) the back-story. he includes a remark about Doctor Krupp, "a doctor who suddenly turned into an evil master criminal" and began his quest for the treasure that the Aztec mummy guards. No background, no explanation, he just "suddenly turned evil". Obviously, this was aimed at a pretty undiscriminating audience.
The clincher, though, is the "Robot", the supposed "showcase" of this movie. This Robot is the worst robot special effect since "Undersea Kingdom" or even "Santa Claus Vs. The Martians". Compared to this hunk of junk, the Tin Man from the "Wizard Of Oz" looked like the Terminator chassis that chased Linda Connor through the foundry in T2. The Aztec Mummy himself is well designed and executed; he's recognizably undead, familiar enough to look like a mummy, and yet distinct from the "Boris Karloff" bandage collection familiar to most American audiences. But whoever designed the Robot in this followup had no feel for the concept...or no budget. They could at least have given him some knees, for heaven's sake.
In addition, the titular battle is terribly executed and lasts less than 60 seconds. (I've seen shoving matches on junior high playgrounds that are more convincing.) Then the movie basically just stops. That seems a bit of a rip off considering the amount of time the movie spends building up to the battle itself.
In spite of all these problems, the movie isn't horrible or incompetent the way a Coleman Francis film or a Larry Buchanan film was. Compared to "Monster A-Go-Go" or "Attack of The Eye Creatures", "RVTAM" is like a Coppola film. It's just kind of dull and boring and silly. The actors are competent (in a mannered B movie way) and reasonably photogenic; Dr. Krupp, in particular seems to be having a wonderful time as he leers and plots and capers about in his cape and "Phantom Of the Opera" suit. I often found myself rooting for him, in spite of his being the villain.
Anyway, I've seen much, much worse. File this with "Samson Vs The Vampire Women", under "interesting Mexican juvenile oddities".
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