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My therapist thinks that a lot of my current problems stem back to this film and our decision to hire it. I have tried to block it from my mind, but it's burned in there and it won't go, it just flashes images from the film at me from time to time.
Here's what it just flashed at me:
There's a stainless steel Desert Eagle in it. How do I remember that? Because I think it's the only pistol they had in the film. Watch for the bit when R.O.T.O.R. is in the boat and he's going to fall I the water, and the DE turns into a toy Colt Python. I could just imagine some redneck off screen saying `You ain't getting' my sweetheart, I mean Desert Eagle, wet. That gun an me have a special relationship. She's real pretty.'
From what I remember of the story, this woman makes some kind of driving violation, so R.O.T.O.R. chases her across the country and tries to kill her. His programming has gone wrong so he'll kill anyone who gets in his way. Harsh? Yes it is, but if the punishment for speeding was death then we'd all drive a little more carefully.
Well, the budget isn't quite up to that of Water World, and I think that it was made by a group of friends (one of who was going through that transition of man to woman), but I can't really get mad at these guys 'cos at least they tried.
However, heed my warning. If a motorcycle cop who looks like a bulimic Ned Flanders ever stops you, then run for your life! You might just have met the R.O.T.O.R!!
To begin with, Richard Gesswein is the worst leading man ever to grace the silver screen. They had to get someone to pull a voice-over for his role, Coldyron (Yeah, that's a tough name), as well as his leading lady, Dr. Steele's part. Dr. Steele, by the way, is a bodybuilder woman with a skunk on her head.
The opening scene reveals the end of the movie immediately telling you that you are wasting an hour and a half. These three guys (the director, writer and star) came up with enough money to take RoboCop, The Terminator, and Judge Dredd (which was merely in comic book form at the time) into one completely awful masterpiece.
When we go back to the beginning of the story, the clock strikes 5:00 and Coldyron wakes up. Just as a quick note to the viewers, the filmmakers then had the clock read 4:50, as if to say, "Please, it's not too late for you, turn off the TV and RUN!" Of course, I didn't follow the directions, I just laughed. Shortly thereafter he fills up a cup of coffee with far too much sugar and you're thinking, "Wow, he sure likes sugar." (This is a joke that you will soon be hoping the filmmakers didn't find to be funny). He grabs carrots from the fridge and heads outside, to his horse. You think the carrots are for the horse, right? But he gives the horse the coffee! THAT'S why there was so much sugar! Then HE eats the carrots himself! AHA! SO FUNNY!! This is about how great the entire movie is.
Absolutely nothing makes sense in this movie. Gesswein says that ROTOR will be ready in 25 years, then says he needs at least 4. Shortly thereafter a Native American character named Shoeboogie puts his headphones in the wrong place and sparks ROTOR. It just makes no sense at all.
I won't go into too many more details, but the worst part of the entire movie must be the fact that ROTOR can take off his sunglasses AND SEE INTO THE PAST! Apparently a function called SENSOR RECALL was built into his system, but it is so insanely dumb that the screenwriter didn't even bother trying to come up with some sort of half-assed explanation. None of the technical jargon even sounds like it makes sense, but he didn't even try going into sensor recall.
You have to see SENSOR RECALL in action to truly appreciate it's sheer madness.
At the conclusion of the movie, Coldyron utilizes a technique Shoeboogie spoke of earlier to kill ROTOR, as if to tie everything together in some sort of nice neat way. One of the problems is that Shoeboogie never spoke to Coldyron. Another is that a few pieces of string defeat this unstoppable supercop.
Another is that I am trying to make sense of a movie in which the comic relief is delivered by a Robot who can think on his own, but the supercop won't be ready for another 25 years.
ROTOR is the worst movie ever made. If you can find something worse, please bring it to me, because I need it.
Please see ROTOR. It is so bad, you will hate me for making you watch it.
And then you will make all of your friends watch it...and you will love me once more.
"Look at these cheekbones: I'm either an Indian or a sissy. And, heh heh, I sure ain't no sissy." (or something like that...) -Shoeboogie
Professor/Cop/degreed sci-fi writer Coldyron performed by Richard Gesswein and dubbed with the voice of Loren Bivens (Why? Did he have a British accent?) has created the prototype cop of the inevitably lawless future with the help of man/woman/beast Dr. Steele (Jayne Smith) the only scientist in the world with a skunk mullet. After an accident at the Tactical Operations Lab, which also happens to be the Dallas Hilton, R.O.T.O.R. becomes operational a full twenty five years too early. Somehow he acquires skin and a uniform complete with porn star mustache and desert eagle and begins his tour of duty. When a couple is pulled over for speeding by R.O.T.O.R. he executes the driver causing the passenger Sonya (Margaret Trigg) to flee the scene with the maniacal machine in pursuit. This is the bulk of the movie. Poor Sonya has to drive nonstop for hours on end while Coldyron and Dr. Steele babble in lame pseudo-intellectual speak about how to stop R.O.T.O.R. Lucky for her that it takes at least 5-7 seconds before R.O.T.O.R. can aim and pull the trigger. The ending is even more absurd as R.O.T.O.R. is defeated quite easily with the right combination of car horn and thin rope.
The dialogue is what makes this movie so much fun. There is a scene where Coldyron meets the "L.A. scientists" and the inclusion of Beach Boy references makes the whole thing sound absolutely bizarre. The cast and crew of the Dallas Tactical Operations Lab are a hodgepodge of stereotypical eighties characters, hipster janitor, dorky scientist, and his comic relief sidekick in the form of the annoying Willard the Robot. One quip has Willard asking a female secretary for "those seven digits" which begs to ask what he would do once he had them. The pacing of the story takes some interesting liberties as Coldyron gets a call from his boss and is suddenly fired yet he is still a cop? This scene is followed by an inexplicable montage of Coldyron and his girlfriend going to lunch with the synth-heavy "Hideaway" song. Did they really think that the viewer needed to see this? As bad as this all seems I found myself with a smile on my face as this ended which is the ultimate purpose of this movie, to entertain. Those of you who remember the eighties ought to give this epitome of a good/bad movie a view.
One of the first actions is the setup for the end of the movie. The Dr in charge of the R.O.T.O.R project gets a call from a state rep needing the Proto-type online sooner than it was ready. A huge argument erupts and the Dr replies " You get justice served. COD!".
Something in the labs goes wrong and the Robot Cop escapes. Go figure. Can't have mass murder if the robot never escapes. The robot waits in the darkness on his bike ( a cafe racer painted flat black. they didn't even remove the name of the bike. Just painted right over it. ) and pulls over a passing speeder. The speeder attempt to bribe the cop so the cop shoots him. Best part. The Cop is the Futures Perfect Traffic cop. His only Weakness is Car Horns. Yes thats right! A car horn. So the girl hits the horn, the cop goes bonkers, and the girl drives off. Another good point. As the cop shoots the girls boyfriend, the guy has a $20 in his hand. Later when the real cops get there. The Money is gone.
The Cop goes on a massive chase and the hero's are really never much help to anyone. Including themselves. Many errors in making this movie.
Basically the whole movie is like this. I have never had so much fun watching a movie and trashing on it as we did with this one. If you like this kind of movie. BUY IT!
After hearing about this movie's pure awfulness for so many years, I finally got to catch it on On Demand. I was hesitant to watch it because I didn't think it could possibly live up (or down) to my expectations. Needless to say, it did.
If you do choose to subject yourself to the pure bliss (or pure torture, depending on your tolerance for really bad movies) of ROTOR, make sure you stick around for the very end of the credits. No, there's no post-credits scene or anything, but you can amuse yourself with the fact that they even managed to mess up the copyright frame at the very end of the credits. It just says "(C)" with no year next to it, followed by "MPAA #" with no number next to it. My guess is that the MPAA sent it to the producers and nobody knew that they were supposed to fill it in before they inserted it. For we bad movie aficionados, it's just one more gift from the gods.
Should I start with the fact that the male lead is named Coldyron ("Cold Iron")? The fact that he is obviously dubbed? The fact that our first shot is of an empty freeway while a voice-over claims it's in gridlock?
Maybe I should start with the dialogue. The dialogue in this movie is some of the silliest I've ever heard. There's inane technobabble, ham-fisted philosophical discussions, contradictory statements, failed metaphors (the one about skeletons in a tin coffin in particular) and nonsensical one-liners. The most memorable exchange involves the main characters discussing the use of "illogic" to stop the renegade robot. I don't have room to transcribe it but it's on the quotes page here. It's a real masterpiece.
The characters are even more ridiculous than the dialogue. There's Willard, the comic relief police robot, Buglar, the psycho police chief, Dr. Corinne Steele, jive-talking janitor Shoeboogie, and ROTOR himself.
ROTOR fails to inspire fear as a villain, instead resembling an amalgam of the leatherman and the cop from the Village People. He is supposed to walk through some chairs effortlessly but visibly struggles. When he tries to grab people he conveniently reaches over their heads. He is supposed to be this emotionless killing machine but visibly shows anger many times. Shoeboogie is this ethnically confused Casanova wannabe who only appears to accidentally awaken ROTOR and then inexplicably disappears.
And then there's Dr. Steele. This character has to be seen to be believed. She is played by a steroid case with a skunk mullet. They try their hardest to feminize this hulking brute by putting her in full makeup, dubbing her voice with a more feminine one and putting her in an ugly dress and glasses but like most everything else in this movie it fails.
The pacing is atrocious. It takes so long to show the hero's morning routine at the beginning that it felt like it was being shown in real time. We spend another five minutes watching him have lunch and dinner with his girlfriend, a character who serves no purpose. We see him fight off random thugs at a mini-mart and we even get to see the store clerk karate chop one of the robbers. All of this occurs before ROTOR wakes up. A third of this movie could be cut, at least.
The production values are no better. Most of the acting is awful. The only passable performance is from Margaret Trigg, who plays the damsel in distress. Richard Gesswein, who plays the male lead, looks like he's perpetually constipated and Dr. Steele barely registers a pulse despite valiant efforts to dub her with a more convincing and emotive voice. Shoeboogie, the oblivious janitor, is the epitome of a jive turkey. As bad as they are, the extras are even worse. The only character I could stand was the police robot, Willard. His primitive design and goofy one-liners actually made him sort of endearing. Fight scenes are hopelessly telegraphed and performed like the actors are on sedatives.
The characters act like idiots. ROTOR's weakness is a car horn yet Sonya, the woman who becomes ROTOR's prey over a speeding violation, is the only one who thinks to use this against him and even she seems to forget when it's plot-convenient. The hero finds her, tells her to drive around aimlessly all night and she does it! Dr. Steele shoots ROTOR once, then drops the gun to fight him bare-handed! The film ends with Dr. Coldyron getting gunned down in broad daylight in front of a police station. ROTOR has an absurd feature called "Sensor Recall," an ability that lets him literally see the past but yet he's weak to car horns, and lastly, the ordinary citizens of Dallas seem unusually hostile towards ROTOR, despite the fact that there's no reason for any of them to suspect that he's anything other than a normal human police officer.
There is ineptitude behind the camera too. They negate the colors to display electric shock, day switches to night at the drop of a hat, many conversations occur over the phone or outside of a car or a building. The ROTOR demo film is an obvious miniature model with bad stop-motion. Dry ice is used for smoke. The obvious scare chords are cheap and hilarious. The climax features multiple lassos appearing out of nowhere to ensnare ROTOR and a showdown between Dr. Steele and ROTOR is filmed out of focus and fifty feet away. Even the credits have mistakes (note the botched copyright notice, the absence of billing for Shoeboogie, and the song sung by "Larry's Dad").
There's so much to talk about in this movie I barely have room to cover the plot. Just picture Sarah Connor being chased by a Radio Shack quality T-1000 while Robocop's OCP corporation and a female Arnold Schwarzenegger go out to try and stop it and you'd be in the ballpark. The filmmakers were sadly so deluded they set up a sequel with Coldyron's nephew and a new ROTOR designed to resemble Dr. Steele. After the trainwreck that is this movie, you can only laugh at such hubris.
In conclusion, this is one of those movies that leaves me conflicted as far as a rating, because in terms of film-making itself, it's a one, but for entertainment value it's at least a seven. It's a shame that so few people know of this movie because if ever there was a movie that was crying out for a midnight showing with audience participation and costumes, it's this one.
In the grand tradition of acronym movies such as C.H.U.D. and C.H.O.M.P.S, but more accurately a regional take on Robocop and The Terminator, ROTOR is mesmerizingly inept but provides fun for those in a forgiving, receptive mood. Starting with "Today's Headlines" written on the screen, in a sort of written take on the verbal version from Cobra (1986) (every five seconds, someone gets shot, etc.) we then learn the coveted secret of the ROTOR acronym: Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research. Apparently we are at some point in the future where crime is rampant. So naturally Dr. Coldyron (Gesswein) develops the ROTOR, a robotic police officer. In a very long scene, he argues with the official Earl Bugler (Michael Hunter) about the future of the ROTOR program. So, ROTOR isn't quite finished and is in storage for the time being. But the ultra-smooth janitor Shoeboogie accidentally unleashes it on the world. Now ROTOR is on the loose and chasing innocent civilians around. So now Coldyron must stop his own creation. So he teams up with muscular transsexual Dr. C.D. Steele (Smith) to chase it down before it causes too much havoc. Back at the base, Willard the Robot holds down the fort. Can they stop ROTOR? Clearly the most obvious question that arises in the wake of viewing ROTOR (out of the many you will inevitably have) is...if ROTOR is a robot that is created by Coldyron, why does he have a mustache? Why would you BUILD a mustache on a robot? Secondly, why does he look so much like Tackleberry from the Police Academy series? I guess he really wanted to scare scofflaws.
Sure, the acting is laughably wooden, and Gesswein as Coldyron has zero charisma, and in actuality, here the people are more robotic than the robots. How ironic. Or should that be spelled ironyic ? The movie opens with Coldyron doing mundane daily activities like making breakfast. Luckily the viewers get to see how many raw carrots he has in his refrigerator. On his desk at work, he even has a little toy robot that looks like Wall-E. ROTOR himself should sue the Disney Corporation. As if the movie wasn't nonsensical enough, the filmmakers chose to give it a bizarre flashback structure with narration delivered flatter than a playing card. Most of the dialogue explains everything, yet nothing, if that makes any sense. ROTOR would have benefited hugely from a name star in the Coldyron role, that would have brought the interest level way up.
By far the best character in the film is Willard, a "happy birthday Paulie"-style robot who wears a hat, answers the phone (not seen) and is even sassy. He dances with Shoeboogie and even hits on chicks ("hey baby, hit me with your digits"). ROTOR is amateurish, disjointed, and at times painful to watch, but we mean this in the best way possible. The idea of a rogue robot could have been executed better, but you can't blame the low budget for the strange pacing and plot flaws. What you can blame it for - or should we say celebrate it for - is the scene where Coldyron is demonstrating his robot technology at a board meeting, and a Terminator/Geoff Peterson-like robot, with the magic of stop-motion KRUMPS! Yes, watch out Rize (2005), you haven't lived until you've seen a krumping robot. It is hilarious, and, like the Wall-E toy, ahead of its time. It will never get the credit it deserves I tell ya.
Sporting some killer box art that probably lured in quite a few suckers back in the video store days who assumed they were not going to get something this silly, and filmed in Texas, ROTOR has funny voice overdubbing, silly character names (Detective Mango?), and some Dan Rather-style pseudo-clever down-home sayings in the utterly ridiculous dialogue. It also predates fellow killer-cyborg-on-the-loose-dressed-in-leather movie American Cyborg: Steel Warrior (1993). But another question arises: who did the filmmakers think would truly care about such a wacky sci-fi action exercise? A film like this pleases neither hardcore fans nor is it appropriate for children, it's true proper audience. So it falls somewhere into silly no man's land. But it has some good music, especially the signature tune, the inexplicable ballad "Hideaway" by Randy & Smith.
This is a movie that should have been released by Troma or AIP, and you can tell the filmmakers put a lot of work and effort into their creation. The end product is laughable, both intentionally and unintentionally.
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R.O.T.O.R. has me completely baffled: it's a dreadful 80s sci-fi film that rips off other better known classics (notably RoboCop and The Terminator), but while there's nothing particularly unusual about that, it is so thoroughly terrible in every imaginable way that it's hard to understand how such a dire film actually came into being. Gesswein's charmless performance; the pitiful action scenes; the lousy 80s music; the embarrassingly bad stop-motion endoskeleton that practises karate; Dr. Steele, the muscle-bound female scientist with the 'skunk-stripe' hairdo; Shoeboogie, the moronic 'American Indian' lab assistant; Willard, the comedy-relief police robot with the peaked cap; the diabolical dialogue (my favourite line being from Coldyron's strangely poetic account to the police "a buttery morning sunlight painted a golden glow through the ranch house windows"; the man sure has a way with words): so much cringe-worthy nonsense in just the one film is hard to take.
Although part of me would like to believe that R.O.T.O.R.'s awfulness was intentional, a calculated attempt to appeal to B-movie fans who lap up such trash, I sincerely doubt it, the film alternating too wildly between complete inanity and total seriousness; part of me would also dearly love this to be a genuine case of bad film-making (the 80s being THE decade for such drivel), but I find it impossible to accept that people can be THAT untalented.
Final word: big guns, motorcycle riding lunatic robot cops, poor voice overs and shallow character depth render this movie highly potent and watchable (maybe not RE-watchable, but you should subject yourself to it at least once in your life).
An action movie of superb cheese factor. If you've been recently let down by "Shotgun" (1989), than do yourself a favor and refresh your pallet with what good inane action is supposed to be all about...watch R.O.T.O.R
It is certainly on a par with, if not slightly better than, Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey'.
This film has a brain and a heart. So rare these days.
The action scenes were way ahead of their time. You can see where the Wachowski Brothers got their inspiration for their 'Matrix' trilogy.
I think this tender and moving religious parable concerns itself with the delicate balance between man and machine.
It asks the audience to meditate on the nature of the soul, on the pain of human consciousness and the heavy weight that human emotions can carry.
It is about love & pain. Hardware, software and an acute study of dystopian paranoia.
It's a tale as timeless as 'The Lord Of The Rings' or 'Indiana Jones'.
It is about life and death and dreams.
But ultimately it asks the most important question of all - "Is there a God ?"
In this respect is film is much better than the similarly themed 'The Terminator' (1984. Dir; James Cameron) I cried when I saw this movie in the former Yugoslavia on New Year's Day, 1990.
And I wasn't the only soldier to break down. There was a lot of emotion in that rustic farmhouse that evening. We talked for hours afterwards. there was so much to discuss.
I distinctly remember our Commanding Officer's face - streamed with tears but smiling.
"Now, it's all so clear" he whispered, his body racked with cathartic sobs, "Now I know what WAR is all about!...."
He left the British Army after seeing this film. Some say he does voluntary work in Iraq now.
Don't take these reviews, both positive and negative, as your guide. Make your own mind up. Take a risk and make the bold decision to seek out a VHS copy of 'R.O.T.O.R'. All the answers to life's complex questions are hidden in this remarkable piece of celluloid gold. But one must stick at it. This is no 'no-brainer' experience ! It took at least 6 separate viewing & discussion sessions before I truly mined the rich resources of this multi-layered epic.
In the meantime I will continue to lobby for this film to be released on DVD.
But this movie truly IS so bad it's good. The dialog is horrendous and sometimes nonsensical. And they really did try to be clever with it, for instance, there's a scene where the hero is giving a presentation on his robot to some scientists - each scientist's last name, along with the name of the place they work, is the name of a Beach Boy, and the dialog in the scene is full of really labored Beach Boys song references.
Once the robot starts following one woman and she calls the police, none of the decisions made by the hero make any sense at all.
Truly a prize turkey.
Man, I've seen a number of "so bad it's good" low budget B movies in my time, but this one really takes the cake. While silly and tiresome at times, it's SO bad it holds a certain fascination. It will likely have its viewers scratching / shaking their heads regularly. It's wall to wall with laughable performances and genuinely bad dialogue (and even some supposed attempts at profundity!). The action is pretty rote: our robotic villain barely roughs up a few people, kills even less, and spends most of the movies' running time relentlessly tracking down Sonia a.k.a. "Sony" (Margaret Trigg), who witnessed the killing of her ex-fiancée.
Gesswein is a dopey, mildly macho hero with a ranch and acres of goofy exposition to deliver. The memorable Jayne Smith plays an unlikely scientist who comes to the assistance of our hero. Trigg is a lovely woman and definitely appealing enough to keep us reasonably engaged through her protracted ordeal. Michael Hunter, who'd had a small role in "RoboCop" (viewers new to this one will likely automatically be reminded of that much more popular film), is the crooked commissioner Buglar, and he's a real ham.
"R.O.T.O.R." must be seen to be believed. If prospective viewers have a high tolerance for general cinematic stupidity, they just might have a high old time with it.
Five out of 10.
I just watched this on THIS channel (see what I did there?) and being from the D/FW area I did an internet search for links to this "movie" and found this in depth review which spells out most of the faults with the film.
The most obvious one was the fact the main actor/director Richard Gesswein had his voice dubbed in to the film by another actor, which is a major "what the heck" is going on here moment once the viewer realizes this.
Add to this the bizarre fact this "actor/director" never made another movie and dropped off the face of the Earth into obscurity, which then begs the question, who actually funded this robotic disaster epic, and why? It's clearly more ambitious than a freshman college film project, yet it's lack of good continuity and gaping holes in the script would have surely gotten the film student a failing grade if it was made by one.
The movie was amusing in a "bad is good" kind of way, and certainly brought back some fond and not so fond memories of that 1989 period when I was roaming over the Dallas area looking for excitement. Unfortunately, going to a bar in 1989 and getting hammered was way more exciting than watching this weird cross between Terminator and Robocop.
the story is just like it was written by some light-headed 15yrs old nerd. the storyline is just very stupid. cool details like rotor is afraid of the sound of car horn.. also, the finnish subtitles are pretty amusing, the translator of this movie has to be both deaf and brainless. i know that's not the filmmakers' fault, but the lousy subtitles makes this film even funnier. i cannot even think of this movie without laughing.
after watching r.o.t.o.r. you probably ask yourself is this really just an extremely dull and idiotic camp action movie or are those guys behind this crap the greatest comedians on earth!
2. Drag my tongue along the entire length of a men's room floor.
3. Have someone nail my hand to a length of 2x4.
4. Drink a whole bottle of nail polish remover.
5. Staple my lower lip to a corkboard.
6. Eat a bowl of nails.
7. Repeatedly smash my forehead against a concrete pylon.
8. Belly flop off a 10-meter tower into an empty swimming pool.
9. Wrap a piece of string around my index finger til it falls off.
10. Get air-dropped into the middle of the Sahara desert with no supplies and wearing only silk boxer shorts.
I watched "R.O.T.O.R." for the second time in the same year. And I intend to watch it many more times in the future. Whenever I've had an especially bad day and need a good laugh. I may even double- feature it with "Breeders," you know, if the first movie... and some alcohol... doesn't do the trick. By-the-way, I've seen "Breeders" at least four times already. And just when I thought THAT movie's script couldn't get any worse/ hysterical, along came "R.O.T.O.R."
Now, just for the record, one should know that the entire soundtrack of "R.O.T.O.R.," both voices and music, was lost- and has been completely re-dubbed (badly) and re-scored (with dramatically over- the-top-80's-pop "action" music!) So the world may never know the ACTUAL script for this film. And as horrible of a plight that might be for most movies... it may have MADE this one. Who knows? I, myself, would pay big bucks to hear or read the original dialogue. But I'm not sure it could be any more tragic.
This film makes microscopic sense. The sets, characters, logistics, conversations (not to mention; narration), music placement, editing (or lack thereof), time-line, look and feel of EVERYTHING in this film could hardly be more WRONG. The best word I can think of to describe the vibe is "Odd." It's all extremely off, or at least, askew. So one should not try to follow this movie in any one train of thought. Just let it wash over your brain like several shots of tequila.
If "R.O.T.O.R." wasn't so mind-numbingly funny on its own, I would have loved experiencing it as an episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000." I'm noticing that I've checked off the "May contain spoilers" box, and haven't revealed any story-line. Well, this is because I want THOSE special people, like myself, to experience this movie at least fairly virginally. (Now that's funny right there!)
I will leave you with this... My favorite quote:
"Look, it took three weeks to get this Shower together tonight. And look achyou. Ya look like ya got both eyes comin' outta the same hole!"
Your guess is as good as mine, folks???? I gotta say, that while perusing these reviews, this quote is hardly ever mentioned. The reason might be that the entire script is one big target. This film is as quotable as Shakespeare, but for all the wrong reasons.
There's so much to love about R.O.T.O.R. Short of doing this as a bullet-point list, it'd be impossible to mention it all. Let's start with the plot. The writing in this movie is atrocious. The character of R.O.T.O.R. is a lazy blend of the Terminator (a seemingly unstoppable mechanical killing-machine) and Robocop (a robotic police officer meant to be the wave of the law enforcement future). The main differences being that R.O.T.O.R. lacks the humanity of Robocop and, whereas the Terminator was sent from the future to kill the woman who will birth a powerful anti-machine resistance leader, R.O.T.O.R.'s mission over the course of this film is to hunt down a woman and execute her as an accessory to excessive speeding. R.O.T.O.R. is slow, stupid, and vulnerable to loud noise (e.g. car horns). That's right, the world's most advanced technology and future "peacekeeper" is easily defeated by the noise of rush hour traffic. I suppose we should keep in mind that R.O.T.O.R. was awoken twenty-five years too soon and his programming wasn't complete. But then, why does he already have a locker (fully-stocked with uniform and sidearm) and his own personal motorcycle (on display in the lobby behind a velvet rope) if he's not even scheduled to be completed for another quarter- century? Why is Coldyron, the man in charge of the R.O.T.O.R. program, surprised to discover that the robot is programmed to be evil? Its prime directive is set as "To Judge and Execute"; it's even got it printed on the side of his R.O.T.O.R.-cycle.
Oh man, that Coldyron. He looks like Ted Danson in a blonde mullet wig and he's the only character in the movie redubbed in post-production. Why is that? Did Gesswein speak a foreign language and needed to be dubbed in English? I feel like this movie was too cheap for that. Was the performance bad enough to warrant redubbing? Am I to understand that the dubbed voice is somehow the "better" performance? Oh man, I've just got so many questions that will go forever unanswered. Did Cullen Blaine and Budd Lewis know they were making a bad movie? Was it done on purpose as a gag? We get hints of it in the film with some self-aware humor from the character of Houghtaling (Stan Moore, who was also the production manager and in charge of stunts), the man who takes control of the R.O.T.O.R. program when Coldyron quits ("What do you think this is? A low budget sci-fi flick? What could go wrong?"). I hope this movie isn't awful on purpose; movies like this are more fun when they were done in earnest. Someone, somewhere was proud of this movie. They were sure not to waste a single cent of the budget, using every little bit of aerial helicopter footage they had on hand and forcing us to listen to an entire (horrible) country tune from start to finish. That country tune, by the way, plays through a painful sequence where we live out an entire morning on Coldyron's farmstead. Just padding that run time with a whole lot of nothing.
I hope this all sounds as crazy to you as it appeared to me. I haven't even gotten to some of the best parts yet. There's a perpetually-stoned wise- cracking police robot and a sassy Native American janitor named Shoeboogie who uses white guilt to hit on women. There's a fantastic stop-motion robot skeleton when Coldyron is demonstrating R.O.T.O.R. to the boardroom. There's a mind-boggling three minutes of exposition in the very beginning (in the form of text crawl and voice-over narration) just to explain what this movie's about. It's nuts. This movie is straight-up nuts. Am I recommending R.O.T.O.R.? 100% yes. Go watch this movie. I'm sure it can be found online somewhere. Get your friends together, get wasted, and watch this movie.