‘Robo Vampire’ (1988)

Robo Vampire (1988)

One of my all time favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 lines has stuck in my head for so long that I involuntarily think about it on occasion when I am watching a convoluted film. The line is “meanwhile, in another movie.” I generally get a lot of satisfaction reflecting on that when it becomes appropriate. However this line was triggered so often during Robo Vampire it became maddening. Without a doubt one of the most confounding movies I have ever seen, director Godfrey Ho was clearly attempting to produce a film that would cash in on the success of Robocop (1987). He also seems to have made the film with his eyes closed. Light on the problems inherent in the making of this film might derive from one of many telling pieces of dialogue: “Orientals are a stubborn race.”

From what I can gather, there is a guy, and he controls vampires that have some hand in protecting a drug cartel. Somewhere along the way, a drug agent gets killed and is turned into a robot. Robots versus vampires; that part seems pretty clear. The rest of the movie primarily consists of roving gangs of kung fu people who run across each other from time to time. These incidents generally lead to passable karate, incompetent gunplay, or bouncing vampires. Fight scenarios are generally preceded by choice bits of dialogue like: “how dare you take my lover’s corpse powers and turn him into a vampire beast. Now we are condemned to a living death and we can never be together in the afterlife.” Since there is not a lot to latch on to with regards to describing the plot, I will share another favorite line of dialogue. Busting into a hive of drug smugglers, the robot makes the following Robocop-esque demand: “Drop your weapons in fifteen seconds. Fifteen. Fourteen. Thirteen.”Evidently his advanced brain did not process how much shooting can take place in fifteen seconds. What the hell, let me share another gem:”I’d pay a million, but it’s not up to me. The government”ll pay you (holding up two fingers) $20,000.”

This film is a the kung fu equivalent of a Jackson Pollock painting. The plot makes the films of David Lynch films seem like an episode of Flipper. It is too much fun to be missed, especially if you know anyone who has similar brain damage to the main character in Memento. I imagine someone like that would find this film very satisfying. There is much Internet pontification about the fact that the vampires bounce like rabbits. There is little that can prepare you for the sight of them. The big secret at play is that there are no actual robotic vampires. The title Robo Vampire is evidently a lot catchier than A Robot, Some Drug Dealers and Some Bouncing Vampires. This compels me to share one last bit of dialogue I felt was worth recording: “Bless our drugs.”