Bad Movies Done Right – The War of the Robots

Every week Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: Proof that bad movies can be as much an import as an export.

When it comes to bad movies, there’s bad and then there’s bad.

Bad movies can either be enjoyed in one of two ways – in a drunken stupor (the kind where it’s questionable whether or not you’ll wake up wearing pants) or in the company of your most witty friends as your group savagely rips apart a film’s effort. Or, if you do not have any funny friends in real life, you can always substitute Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or any one of the countless spin-offs or copycats).

While intoxication can help wash down the taste of a bad movie it really doesn’t hold a candle to watching a bad movie with a group of friends. Much like one should never drink alone, the sign of the alcoholic, one should never watch a really bad movie alone. Unless, of course, you want to consider thoughts of putting your head in an oven. Which might be a better thing to do than sit through The War of the Robots.

A 1978 Italian B-movie, The War of the Robots manages to take a halfway decent plot, twist it into some garbled science-fiction nonsense and sprinkle in some plagiarism that is downright ballsy in its obviousness.

Before I go any further, let me point out that The War of the Robots is absolutely terrible. I’m not talking in the “so bad it’s good” notion of terrible, either. War of the Robots is flat-out exhausting in its poor production values, shoddy storytelling skills and wild-eyed acting. War of the Robots is the type of bad movie that gives you a headache — and not from laughing so much.

There’s a possibility that War of the Robots could be enjoyed if seen with a group of friends possessed by the reincarnated souls of Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Louis C.K. (yeah, I know the star of Louie is not dead yet, but give it some time). There’s a slim chance that this group of ghostly comic legends could make a movie as bad as War of the Robots funny with their commentary. I have a sinking suspicion that the film’s overwhelming mediocrity would drive the ghosts to leap out of their host bodies and dive straight back down to Hell, where they have a standing invitation to be Satan’s court jesters.  You might just find yourself scratching at the ground in an attempt to join them at the feet of Lucifer by the film’s halfway point.

In the film Antonio Sabato stars as Captain John Boyd, the captain of a star ship on a mission to rescue two kidnapped scientists. The scientists had been working on a way to create artificial life — naturally making them prime kidnapping material for a group of alien robots desperate to become immortal. When your entire race looks like the gayest ABBA cover band ever, why wouldn’t you want to live forever?

Along the way, the astronauts meet up with a group of subterranean dwelling mutants who are at war with the pageboy haircut-wearing kidnappers. Leader of the mole men is Kuba, your standard gold paint-covered Spock stand-in with homoerotic tendencies and an all too keen interest in the sexual relationships of his new astronaut friends.

War of the Robots is an “everything and the kitchen sink” type of science fiction movie. There are aliens, mutants, robots and beautiful women with weird make-up and costuming out of the closet of a drag queen at Comic Con. And what late ‘70s international science fiction movie wouldn’t be complete with a glowing sword fight or a prolonged space battle between TIE fighter wannabes?

If you are a fan of really bad movies like I am, you might be saying to yourself: “Now that doesn’t sound too bad. Surely it’s no worse than the films of Ed Wood.”

And you’d probably be right. I’ll admit that War of the Robots is not the worst movie ever made. Perhaps I was being a bit too hyperbolic in my previous statements.

I’m not sorry though.

I dislike War of the Robots more than most any movie I’ve seen this year — you see, the film did something to piss me off beyond belief. War of the Robots cast a curly-haired blonde as a cowboy boot-wearing Texan and dubbed his voice with that of a man with an effeminate southern drawl. And that alone, my friends, is why War of the Robots deserves a quick kick in the pants.

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