I like my action heroes big. And I also like my action heroes stupid. Sly, Arnold and Dolph all spring to mind, but there is only one man I think is the best. That man is Reb Brown. He has a list of classic BadMovieArt films, from YOR, HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE to SPACE MUTINY to the neo realistic classic HOWLING II.....YOUR SISTER'S A WEREWOLF. But a a little seen film called ROBOWAR, which is an almost scene for scene rip off of PREDATOR is his newest classic.
The film opens with a helicopter flying over some jungle in some distant land. The pilot and co-pilot are desperately scanning the ground for something. Little do they know what they are looking for is SCANNING THEM, but for serious! Suddenly, the screen turns into a pixelated mess and we hear BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. A laser shoot from the foliage and the helicopter is blasted out of the sky! The camera reveals the shooter to be a sorta human looking robot and he is on the prowl for humans!
It seems the US Army has a major problem. A highly sophisticated piece of weaponry has gone haywire (they should have called Tom Selleck in Runaway) and there is only one task force that can bring it down. The BAMS! That is an acronym for BIG ASS MUTHAFUCKAS. Led by Reb Brown they are a mixture of, as one task force member calls them, "a bunch of drug addicts and fags!" They are the mutts of the army. It seems that they Army has sent them on a suicide mission. They are to capture the killer robot, named OMEGA 1 and then the mole in the group is suppose to kill them all. EASY PLAN! On board the vessel carrying them to the jungle, they prove just how drug addicted and faggy they are by smoking joints, sassing the boat crew and Reb Brown EVEN wears a mid-drift tee shirt. No kidding. HOT STUFF. The boat captain steals the movie though. He is a huge, bulging black dude and he is wearing a shirt that reads AFRICAN QUEEN. It seems the boat is named The African Queen II. He should have re-thought the shirt, cuz he might be sending out the wrong message or the right message. I guess it depends on what he is trying to say with his shirt. Does he just have tons of pride in his boat or want to pick up dudes? If it's the latter, he is in luck!
The cast of characters is made up of a sexy fake dark headed Chuck Norris who loses sexy points when he kicks a real bird on the screen. We also have a hot live action Race Bannon and a token Asian and Black guy. There is also a grumpy doctor who doesn't really seem to do anything but chomp on cigars and get in the way. There is a lot of shooting of machine guns and not hitting anything. Tons of bushes and trees are destroyed and OMEGA 1 can't seem to kill any of the crew. But what could make this movie even better? DEAD WEIGHT INCOMING!! How about a pretty lady! Enter Catherine Hickland who surfaced earlier this year in SWEET JUSTICE and acted along side the one and only Miss Linda Blair in WITCHERY. A group of what I thought was American tourist all of a sudden come running down the road and are being gunned down by some rogue military dudes. Everyone gets killed besides Catherine and the boys snatch her. She doesn't have any dialogue for a good 20 minutes and does a lot of method acting with her face. She finally explains why she is there and it seems she is a hospital worker from the states and all the guys who just got slaughtered where her co-workers. They had been working in a village a few miles away when it was attacked. This leads the motley crew to the village and we get a good MISSING IN ACTION interlude via Reb Brown's unclear flashback. It is a bunch on nonsense about his friend dying and he grabbing the dog tags or some shit. Then we are jolted back into the present. EXCITING!!
The jungle is starting to wan on the boys and they are starting to lose it a little bit. OMEGA 1 comes back into the picture and starts killing them off one by one. Real Life Race Bannon has one of many great lines when it comes to their situation. OMEGA 1 is shooting lasers all over the place and Race yells, "YOU BETTER DUCK SHITHEADS, CUZ WE ARE GOING TO SETTLE SOME ACCOUNTS!" A statement I wanted to scream aloud when i went into Bank of America and they tried to tack on some stupid charges when I closed my account there. Another gem from Race is "It's like collard green stew. Once you are in it, you can't get out!" I am not sure what he is really talking about and maybe it was some character development or something, but it sounds like more ROBOWAR nonsense.
So now most of the team is dead and Catherine utters, "SOMETHING WEIRD IS HAPPENING!" No shit! She comes face to face with OMEGA 1 and runs like hell.
Lucky for us, the village has a well stocked chemistry lab and Catherine just so happens to be a chemist and a bionic expert who knows how to mix stuff to make Napalm. IT IS ON!! OMEGA 1's screen time is numbered and as the last of the crew battle it out we get a brilliant scene between Reb and his BBF. After being shot full of holes (no blood, too expensive), his BBF whispers, "Finish me off." Truly brilliant screenwriting. The ending is high octane and full of bullets and man vs. machine crap. You somehow get a feeling like you have seen it all before. OH! Like PREDATOR!!! They even nickname OMEGA 1 as The Hunter.
For all you Reb Brown fans out there and I know there are many, whenever you watch a Reb Brown film you wait for one thing and one thing only. For him to scream! He has the best screaming voice of a man EVER! We were schooled on his amazing screaming voice in SPACE MUTINY and ROBOWAR does not disappoint. It is like, "OH MY PURSE!" times a thousand! He screams SHIT about every five minutes and usually in a group of three.
One of the more fascinating things about ROBOWAR is the script itself. Penned by a woman named Rossella Drudi. She has done a ton of Italian crap fest and even co-wrote the classic TROLL 2! Uncredited! Hints that it was written by a woman are all over the script, which is awesome because it is great to see buffed out men say things like, "OH DEAR!", "PEEK A BOO!" and "It reminds me of geraniums!"
And even the credits are great. I love when a movie ends and then it shows the cast with their name under a little scene with them. CHOPPING MALL does it best, but ROBOWAR is pretty close just in the fact that it spells all the names wrong. Reb Brown's character is named Major Murphy Black, but is listed as MAJ. MARPHY BLACK. Catherine Hickland's character is named Virginia, but she is listed as VIRGIN. It is that eye for detail that really sets ROBOWAR apart. And of course the high tech OMEGA 1 vision!