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ROBO C.H.I.C. - Skull
Rated PG-13 (WHAT?)
Copyright 1989 Action International Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 4 March 2001

The Characters:  

  • Robo C.H.I.C. - Wondrous construct invented to "increase entropy on the side of good." Wait a minute, entropy is chaos! She is nothing more than six feet of blonde wig swapping chaos!
  • Dr. Von Colon - Mad scientist working for the good of mankind, if you subscribe to the theory "that which does not kill us makes us stronger." Sometimes he amuses me by yelling at a chair, that's pretty funny compared to other parts of the movie.
  • John Kent - He has high aspirations as a reporter, but somebody needs to teach him not to use words that even confuse me. Just remember, supposedly mainstream America is a hairy guy watching the evening news in his stained wife-beater. Don't throw big words at him; it will only hurt your ratings.
  • Police Chief Morton - Useless little guy with a complex about his height. Imagine a short version of Rodney Dangerfield that is not funny, there is Morton for you.
  • Quentin Thalian - Evil to the very tip of his goatee; what else can you say about a man with dozens of half dressed hookers and a drug empire? Man, if Marion Barry was still the mayor of Washington DC. I had a zinger.
  • Rufus & Dante - Every drug lord is required to have a pair of bumbling hit men. It's the law.
  • Satan's Minions - Biker gangs are usually more frightening than this group. Of course, the misprinted jackets hardly help. Would you be afraid of the inept crowd that rides with Satan's Onions?
  • Harry Truman Hodgekins - He developed some serious social problems while working as a pest control specialist. So, to gain attention, he used his contacts to obtain the materials necessary for building a lot of nuclear devices.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

Having watched this movie three times for the review I have come to a conclusion. The world would be a better place if an asteroid had landed directly on top of the film crew. Earth could probably do without another area shaped like the Yucatan Peninsula, but mass extinction is a small price to pay in the face of this horror. Sam Neill could take a 35mm print of it, enclose the reel in a sphere, and build a spaceship able to cross the boundary between our mortal realm and Hell. It's just that bad.

We open with Harry slowly assembling an atomic bomb in the mechanical room of some large building. Somehow he has gathered enough material to make over a dozen devices, each fitting into a small toolbox. In fact, I was wondering about the nuke's ability to reach critical mass and cause an explosion. I was wondering, the writer was not. Later on a similar bomb will destroy the Great Plains; as in obliterate entirely.

Parallel to the geek terrorist's plot is Dr. Colon's assembly of our title heroine. A crowning moment is choosing which head to use, but indecision breeds confusion. Two women will play Robo C.H.I.C. over the next hour and some minutes, seemingly at random and with little regard to the audience. What possessed them (the film makers) to flagrantly parade the same fluffy wig in front of the camera, but on the heads of different actresses? You want an argument for a Black Ajah of directors? You got it.

Von Colon wrote a helpful reminder on his trusty clipboard. Opening it will reveal "You are a genius" on a single piece of paper. Underneath that is another sheet of paper with the words "But you are still a moron." He went through all the trouble of building a highly advanced robotic law enforcement officer and made her a blonde! Right down to her diodes, she even has blonde diodes! Argggghhhh! Watch in horror as Von Colon spends numerous komedic (that's Russian, they aren't very funny) scenes teaching his creation simple behaviors. Honestly, if I were to invent a woman all that would be part of the basic programming, along with some other choice tasks picked up from Traci Lords.

Harry destroys his first target, a national monument called "Sulfur Dunes" in California. (That's in Cali? I thought it was in New Jersey?) He then calls a press conference in the city park to state his demands. Enough reporters show up in 80's clothes to fool onlookers into thinking a Debbie Gibson convention is in town, but I digress. Police Chief Morton makes the one rational choice available, he throws the third class terrorist in jail. Now that is a fine idea! I'm serious, even though Kent complains about what will happen if Mr. Hodgekins doesn't transmit a disarm code to the next bomb. That's a weak argument. Torture the codes out of the bastard! Give me a few hours with some Craftsman tools and I'll set human rights back several hundred years (only a couple of hundred for Spain), but you will have those disarm codes. Guaranteed.

Watching and considering all of this drama is Thalian. He decides that if Harry is holding the world hostage, he'll just hold Harry hostage. One of the prostitutes first suggests the plan, but the master takes it for his own and smacks the slut for speaking out of turn.

You see this coming right? Well, not all of it. I've only hinted at the part Satan's Onions will play in the plot. Their leader is locked up with Harry; during a normal transfer of prisoners the gang makes an attempt to free the head onion. Amusing hijinks ensue as Rufus and Dante join the fray to kidnap Harry Truman. Watch Robo C.H.I.C. fall over when told to "get down!" See the tense hostage standoff in which any respectable shot would have blown the bad guys' heads off! Moan in terror that you are only halfway through this darn movie.

During the previous scene's tumult the stupid reporter gets acquainted with the stupid robot. Unable to distinguish her from a real blonde woman, he takes her back to the studio. Does he put the moves on her? Oh yes. Do they work? Oh no. Instead they fall in love... darn sweet, but who cares? It isn't like the plot gives anything more than a nod to their relationship anyway.

By now the fact that budget was not an option (notice "not an option" = what budget?) should be apparent. Crowds are often just twenty people standing around, looking bored. How do you manage to shoot a scene in the middle of town and only attract twenty curious bystanders? Probably for the same reason "Robo Car" is a Pontiac Fiero. Not even a new Fiero either, this vehicle would look less out of place in a junkyard.

The world needs Robo C.H.I.C., because Thalian and the bikers have come to an agreement. One group has Harry, while the other has the briefcase full of detonators. So, a bunch of goons are holding us all hostage and their demands are like something out of a Batman episode. They don't want money or power; they just want the police to stand by and do nothing while criminals run the city. (Hey, who is holding L.A. hostage with what?) Assisted by Kent and Robo Car, the two women sharing that wig fight to add entropy to the side of good. Arrggghhh! I've looked it up in the dictionary just to be sure; it still sounds like something bad.

Can Robo C.H.I.C. stop their nefarious plan? Will Dr. Von Colon find a way to disarm the bombs before it is too late? Will YOU IDIOTS STOP TALKING TO THE CAMERA? Screw this, I'm done typing. Go watch it yourself; I hope it gives you cancer.

I would like to thank Peter Johnson (he played the gang member named "Gimp") for... ...loaning me his VHS of "Robo C.H.I.C." to write this review. The tape is on its way back via UPS ground. You might think the packaging a bit strange, but the only shipping container I could find was that hollow stump. Unwrap it, then use a stick and poke around in the holes before shaking the stump violently to move all the contents to one side. Now, roll up your sleeve and reach in to retrieve that wonderful movie you sent me...

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • News anchorwomen are not chosen for their intelligence.
  • There are "How To" books for everything.
  • Rumor-mongering reporters are allowed to roam freely through government buildings.
  • One nuclear bomb, the size of a bread box, can destroy an area the size of Alaska.
  • Being a drug lord/pimp has some perks.
  • Dynamite is overrated as an explosive.
  • Ditzy women are impervious to pickup lines.
  • Police bomb squads get their safety gear from high school football and hockey teams.
  • If you need to disarm a bomb just cut all the wires.
  • Never stand on a plate that appears to be wired with one zillion volts.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 3 mins - Just in case you had a weird oral and foot fetish.
  • 7 mins - I think that this is a continuity error, but proving it would be impossible.
  • 25 mins - For the last twenty minutes a spider has been slowly walking across my ceiling. It's fascinating...
  • 26 mins - I wonder where they rented the forklift from?
  • 36 mins - That was definitely a continuity error. No? What do you mean no? It was the Great Plains? Arrggghhh! I hate this film!
  • 41 mins - Trying to claw my eyes out...
  • 42 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT! (I'm glad blinding myself didn't work, but have a feeling I'll switch my opinion once the boobies are gone.)
  • 43 mins - God damn my eyes!
  • 63 mins - Oh, come on! He was shot! Play by the rules you cursed monstrosity of a film!
  • 81 mins - Those look like the hookers that Robo C.H.I.C. just emancipated, but no way I am going to rewind and double check.
  • 94 mins - "Dear, have you seen my hammer and the big flathead screwdriver? Oh nothing, I'm just going to pound it through my eardrum and then into my brain."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note robochic1.wav Von Colon: "Boy, you're a vision, a miracle!"
Robo C.H.I.C.: "That puzzles me. I'm an optically generated artificial intelligence powered by internal cold fusion in humanoid form with organic augmentation."
Von Colon: "Don't say that, don't ever say that! Don't even think that! You're almost human!'
Green Music Note robochic2.wav Von Colon: "The planar coordinates of twelve-dimensional Wilburt Space...say, you walk even faster than I designed you to! Why is that I wonder?"
Green Music Note robochic3.wav Morton: "You the geek that's been blowing up our natural monuments?"
Green Music Note robochic4.wav Harry: "I ah, I don't want to hurt anybody."
Evil Scientist: "A strange concern for someone who make bombs!"
Harry: "I didn't know anybody I was blowing up. I didn't think about it!"

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Cliprobochic1.mpg - 3.3m
Robo C.H.I.C. is training to become a superhero in these scenes. No, Von Colon is not testing her capabilities; she is supposed to be training. Wouldn't you have programmed her that way in the first place? I would have.

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