R.O.T.O.R. (1987) Poster


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Excruciatingly bad but it can't help it!
gridoon18 April 2003
There are bad movies that are funny. Bad movies that are boring. Bad movies that are offensive. And then there are bad movies that are just plain incompetent. You can't get angry at these movies, because it's obvious they were made by people who simply didn't have the talent or the budget to make something even halfway decent. "R.O.T.O.R" is one such movie. You know where you stand right from the beginning, where you can spot the most ludicrously mismatched day-and-night shots since "Plan 9 From Outer Space". Thankfully, the "filmmakers" don't take themselves too seriously, as is immediately evident by the continuous flow of campy and corny dialogue (about half of which is hard to understand anyway, due to its mumbled delivery). The leading actor gives an amazingly narcotized performance...and as for R.O.T.O.R., well, if Robocop had been so inept he wouldn't have lived to be in the sequels. I'd give it 0.5 stars out of 4.
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If I ever find that shop assistant...
Neonsamurai3 October 2002
My friend Dave and I went to our local newsagents to see if we could hire out RoboCop. This was back in the days when you could rent videos from newsagents, before laws were introduced to stop the assistants from recommending films. Unfortunately for us, such laws had yet to be invented and this lady behind the counter said that they didn't have RoboCop yet, but they had R.O.T.O.R. Now being young and naïve, we looked at the box and saw that both films had similar letters in their titles and R.O.T.O.R. had a picture of a robot man jumping off a bike and firing a gun. WE WERE SOLD!!

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!!
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This is the worst movie I have ever seen, and I love it.
Iama5yrold9 June 2005
This movie gets a 5 out of 10 not because it deserves five points, in fact, I don't think the quality is such that it deserves one point. But it is just so god damn bad that I love it enough to boost up the points.

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
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You're on my wavelength and your right!
Zeegrade6 May 2009
I've seen my share of bad movies and when I read the entertaining reviews of a truly awful film I am amazed that there always seem to be some knucklehead that gives the film a ten rating even though there is no redeeming value whatsoever. The woefully inept Ben & Arthur is a prime example. Now is the time for me to become said knuclehead as R.O.T.O.R. is one of the most entertaining bad movies ever.

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.
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The ne plus ultra of bad
Barry_the_Baptist18 August 2005
R.O.T.O.R. is one of those films us Homo sapiens should put into a time capsule so that future generations/civilizations can witness a glorious achievement in 'film' which captures the zeitgeist of the nineteen eighties. Forget the Berlin wall falling or the end of the Cold War, R.O.T.O.R. is the greatest achievement of 1989 and director Cullen Blaine was Man of the Year. Not only is this the cinematic gem the worst thing ever put on celluloid, it also shares the dichotomous distinction of being the funniest film ever made. A perennial favorite at 'bad movie nights with friends', this piece of solid gold belongs in a film museum somewhere.
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Awesome Movie. Simply the best!
serialkiller-12 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I knew from the first 15 sec that this movie was going to be good. From the horrible acting to the bad graphics this was going to be a gut buster.

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!
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The Holy Grail of bad movies
ThingyBlahBlah323 May 2011
Say what you want about something like "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" or "Wolverine", but at least they were made by people who knew the basics of movie making. Ya know, little things like making sure that it doesn't suddenly go from day to night to day again from one shot to the next, or the benefits of having two consecutive lines of dialogue that are related logically to each other, or finding actors who don't literally read from cue cards or stare at the floor to make sure they hit their marks.

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.
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If Tommy Wiseau made sci-fi, this would probably be the result
allexand2 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Somebody apparently wondered, "What if Robocop went bad like the Terminator?" and thus ROTOR was born. While the idea of Robocop being evil and going on a murderous rampage has potential, it is a massive failure due to gross incompetence. But at least it has the decency to fail spectacularly.

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.
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Willard The Robot!
tarbosh2200020 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A lot has been written about R.O.T.O.R., and with good cause. We thought we would throw our hats into the R.O.T.O.R. ring with our own take.

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.

For more insanity, please visit: comeuppancereviews.com
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Difficult to comprehend.
BA_Harrison10 May 2013
Police robotics expert Captain Coldyron (Richard Gesswein) attempts to track down R.O.T.O.R., a renegade robot cop who punishes every crime with death.

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.
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Wow. Terrible doesn't begin to describe this
BigGuy13 December 2002
I have seen many terrible movies, most of which can be fun to watch if only to make fun of them. This movie is worse than those. The dialogue is terribly delivered (the best delivery is from the comic-relief robot!), terribly written (contrived, preachy, and generally painful). As an example, the dialogue is littered with things like "I am going to make more noise than two skeletons making love in a tin coffin." And by littered I don't mean a sprinkle, I mean virtually wall to wall, most of it is even completely gratuitous. Also any movie that has a line like "what is this some kind of bad sci-fi flick". Just avoid this movie. It sucks you in. I sat watching wondering how it could get any worse... and it does. Each twist and turn takes this movie deeper into the abyss. 1/10 (which is as low as it goes!)
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A Robot cop breaks loose from unsuspecting scientific rulers, hell bent and half programmed the robot cop goes on an unstoppable, technologically advanced killing spree.
public-6922 May 2005
This movie is hot. It is of poor quality and high entertainment. If you merely want to kick back and watch some good unadulterated nonsense this is your picture, if you are trying to expand your mind and learn more about the world of robotics, than watch Short Circuit, R.O.T.O.R is much too technical for you.

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
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A lot better than '2001: A Space Odyssey'
marksmethurst4 October 2005
This motion picture is one of a handful of truly great Science Fiction features.

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.
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...but it's a TEN on the so-bad-it's funny scale!
myeck11 October 2005
You've heard the phrase "so bad it's good!" Well, most of the time it isn't true. It's so bad, it's just bad.

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.
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"It's like a chain saw set on 'frappe'."
Hey_Sweden9 March 2016
Richard Gesswein is Dr. Coldyron (if there's one thing I love about this movie, it's that name), a scientist working in the tactical / robotics department of a Texas police force. His big baby is the cutting edge robot R.O.T.O.R., which (accidentally) gets put into commission way ahead of schedule and predictably goes on a rampage. The good doctor must now go out and find his Frankenstein monster before it can harm too many people.

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.
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Pure Grade Z schlocky gold
Woodyanders28 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A malfunctioning experimental law enforcer robot gets accidentally activated and embarks on a wild spree in which it issues severe punishments to minor offenders. It's up to rough'n'tumble good ol' boy Coldryon (woodenly portrayed by Richard Gesswein) and the impossibly butch Dr. Steele (the deliciously dreadful Jayne Smith, who sports a beautifully hideous skunk mullet) to stop ROTOR. Boy, does this hilariously horrendous honey possess all the right wrong stuff to qualify as a real four star stinkeroonie: Ham-fisted (mis)direction by Cullen Blaine, an absurd plot that's played ludicrously straight, clunky martial arts fights, an appalling Native American stereotype secondary character named Shoeboogie, a blithely preposterous script complete with unavoidable cheesy one-liners, ineptly staged action set pieces (the awkward fight between ROTOR and three rednecks is simply sidesplitting!), an irritatingly bouncy country rock soundtrack, terrible acting from a hopelessly lame no-name cast, primitive computer graphics, an annoying comic relief robot called Willard, a gloriously ridiculous conclusion, and even a surprise bummer ending. A total cruddy hoot.
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Terminator Meets Robocop With Painful Results
SlickSnakes28 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
http://www.jabootu.com/rotor.htm (spoiler link)

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.
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the funniest camp 'action' i've ever seen
ngfl30 April 1999
r.o.t.o.r. is a futuristic porn-star-lookalike robot cop on a motorcycle. rotor is under development and gets activated by accident. it goes to the streets to kill people, and it chases some woman because of speeding. 'to judge and execute'. 'it works like it's programmed'.

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!
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Ten things I'd rather do than have to sit through ROTOR again
tenthousandtattoos15 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
1. Get smashed on the back of the head with a folding chair.

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.
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Since I'm here, I've just got to say something in defense...
nealnels5 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I'll give this movie 5 stars because it is sooooo bad it's great! Yes, I'm one of THOSE people. Please check out my soon to be written review on "Breeders." Which I will also be giving 5 stars, for the same reason. I am WELL aware that I will be saying very little here- that hasn't been mentioned in the 65 articles written before me. But bear with me... I'm hoping this review brings attention to "R.O.T.O.R." for THOSE that may have missed it. It takes a special kind of mind to appreciate this type of film.

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.
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1989 was a crazy year...
lolo_mcl5 April 2004
This is the worst movie I've ever seen. And I've seen Glitter. But, despite it's flagrant suckiness, I find R.O.T.O.R. quite endearing. It's SO bad it's good. I couldn't keep from laughing throughout...Cullen Blaine is my hero. If you're into cinematic abominations, then I highly recommend this movie. However, this is definitely the type of flick that needs to be accompanied by alcohol. In fact, make it a drinking game. Every time the lovely and effeminate Dr. Steele flexes her massive bicep, throw one back. Try and gulp your drink down for the duration of every awkwardly stretched-out shot (I'm thinking of the elevator sequences here). You're sure to be wasted by the film's end. In short, a must-see!
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A No-Budget Direct-to-Video Treasure
brando64710 April 2016
What would happen if you gave a sixth-grader $50 and told him to shoot a movie based on his short story that incorporates his favorite elements of THE TERMINATOR and ROBOCOP? You'd end up with R.O.T.O.R, a direct-to- video gem from 1987. This movie is amazing in the worst way possible. R.O.T.O.R. seems to have been a joint collaboration between Budd Lewis (who wrote the script and performed as production designer) and Cullen Blaine (who directed the film and conceptualized the "story") with hopes of capitalizing on the two far more popular/successful films. The movie follows Captain Barrett Coldyron (Richard Gesswein), head of the Dallas Police Department's technology lab. As the story begins, he's presenting a status update on his current project, R.O.T.O.R. (an acronym that stands for Robotic Officer something something), to a boardroom of suits. R.O.T.O.R. will be the ultimate law enforcement of the future but it won't be ready for another twenty-five years. But twenty-five years is far too long, according to Coldyron's boss. Investors want results now, so Coldyron needs to finish this project in the next sixty days. Knowing that's a bunch of crap, Coldyron quits. Within hours of Coldyron's dismissal, a janitor accidentally awakens R.O.T.O.R. with his Walkman and the robot officer jumps into action. But, uh oh, someone accidentally set this robot to evil and he murders a man for excessive speed in his first traffic stop. When the victim's fiancé goes on the run, R.O.T.O.R. makes it his mission to find her and put a bullet in her head and it's up to Coldyron to find the machine and put him down before he can do any more damage.

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.
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Very funny scene
boocwirm-129 March 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't going to say anything about this picture because there are currently more than thirty reviews here so what could I possibly add? But none of the reviews seem to mention what I find to be perhaps the funniest (inadvertently funny, that is) scene in the 1980s movie catalog. I have to set this up properly. It's towards the end of the picture, during the climactic fight at the river's edge. Dr. Coldyron, the tough-as-nails scientific project director (who has been fired but is still on the job) for the Dallas Police Department (well known for their expertise in robotics) is trying to comfort Sonya, the damsel-in-distress who has been fleeing ROTOR (the murderous robotic cop who has absolutely no capacity for emotion but nonetheless is constantly getting really angry) while Professor Steele, the brilliant scientist who is built like Jesse Ventura and who sports the ugliest haircut imaginable (aptly described by many as a skunk mullet) distracts ROTOR. The camera is focused on Coldyron and Sonya while ROTOR and Steele fight some distance behind them. What Coldyron is trying to say to Sonya is, translated, "Stay right here and be quiet, we have the situation well in hand" but he mumbles so much and the sound is so bad it comes out like "Stay here...we have the situation mumble something." Whatever the exact words, his comment is meant to be reassuring: everything is going according to plan. However, fully visible behind them, ROTOR is engaged in beating the living snot out of Professor Steele. I'm sorry, I cannot even write about it without cracking up. I find it hard to believe that having the hormone-challenged Doctor Steele (her title changes from time to time) get the daylights kicked out of her is an official part of the plan. But that's par for the course with R.O.T.O.R. Since I'm here anyway, a few other points about this wonderful picture. a) Shoeboogie gets no acting credit, but I know I've seen this actor in a similar role somewhere else. It's driving me crazy. b) It must be tough being a Dallas cop. Wherever ROTOR goes (remember he looks just like a human police officer) some hick wants to fight him. Usually for no reason at all. c) Can you believe Sonya and her boyfriend, the dead speeder, were planning on getting married? They are on screen as a couple for maybe five minutes and have etched themselves permanently in my memory as the most detestable couple I've ever seen, in movies and in life. I could go on forever, but I want to get back and watch that fight scene again while the movie is loaded in the DVD player. "Don't worry, Sonya, just stay here and relax, we have the situation well in hand..."
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What did I just watch? No really I have no clue what that was?
darkegg200520 January 2015
If you want a movie that will keep you in suspense... because you have no idea what the heck is going on in the plot. Then this movie is for you. This movie is so badly put together that it is on IMDb's infamous Bottom 100 list. It currently holds the number 65 slot (http://www.imdb.com/chart/bottom). To be honest, this movie belongs on that list and should be in the top 20 in my honest opinion. It is a good laugh if you have friends over who like to watch bad movies because this one has a plethora of questionable things in this movie to make fun of. I will admit that this movie is worth sitting through to get to the ending of the movie. This is one of those movies that did not have a chance of being a decent movie, but at least we can call it a movie.... Barely. There is a Rifftrax version of this movie that is very funny and I suggest watching that the first time through this awful film.
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If ever there was a movie I wished lived up to it's poster...
cinemacide22 July 2012
ROTOR has moments, just MOMENTS mind you, that could have been cool but bad acting, casting, directing and script bring things down to MST3K level pretty quickly. That said, somewhere beneath the illogical filler and terrible psycho babble is a terminator clone with 80s pizazz that could've worked. A terminator killer on a cool bike racing through the streets taking down anyone in his path? It should have worked. Too bad it never lives up to its awesome poster. I guess that is what budgets are for. Check out Bad Moon Rising or the Wraith for more effective 80s sci-fi cheese. Or tun the sound down and play "Surface to Air" from Zombi while watching.
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