|Rated PG-13 (WHAT?)
|Copyright 1989 Action International Pictures
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 4 March 2001
- 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.
|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... ...how 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.
- 3 mins - Just in case you had a weird oral and foot fetish.
- 5 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 7 mins - I think that this is a continuity error, but proving it would be impossible.
- 16 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A SHACK!
- 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!
- 62 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A CARDBOARD BOX!
- 63 mins - Oh, come on! He was shot! Play by the rules you cursed monstrosity of a film!
- 5 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 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 format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||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!'
||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?"
||Morton: "You the geek that's been blowing up our natural monuments?"
||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 image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|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.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
Reply #9. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by nat fowler
Such hatred... I love this movie. I havent watched it in 12 years but man, this was my bread and butter in high school. I only started to search for it again last week when someone laughed hard when i used 'cognosciente' in a sentence where it was obviously out of place. Now my search is on. Who wants to send me their cassette?!!
so many golden moments that i'm remembering;
the 'fish' in jail, "Live und learrn", "f**k off everybody" and "i HATE being bloody obvious!"
how can you hate a movie that has so much love for finishing a disaster?!
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Nat Munari
I posted on this board 2 years ago in my search for the cassette. I found it only days later on Amazon for 3 dollars. As soon as it arrived I threw a big party and 10 of my friends who had met me after high school all of a sudden realized where i got all my quotes. The film is now living among all my other favorites; to its right on the shelf is Paosolini's Decameron and to its left is 2001. Fitting bookends.
More films of low quality (and I work on them so i know) need to have scripts of this quality. Double entendre lines like "..at Van Dyke park, next to the statue of Dick Van Dyke" are worth a million dollars, at least.
It's like an easter egg that keeps on giving.
Reply #11. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Jeff Mandel
I am Jeff Mandel. It is said that I wrote and directed ROBO-C.H.I.C. It is hard to know who’s telling the truth. I directed a film very much like ROBO-C.H.I.C. for almost 2 terrible, difficult weeks before being told that Kathy Shower had died and I had better watch my back. I quickly fled to Los Angeles to attend her funeral. At the memorial service in Beverly Hills I got an odd feeling. The mourners looked worried, not sad. And where was “Hef?” Then I realized the priest was speaking Latin, all right, but it was PIG-Latin! I rushed to the casket and threw open the lid. To my horror, it was ME lying there in the coffin and my big clock had melted.
I approach every film I make as a comedy. But ROBO-C.H.I.C. was already a comedy and so I made the bold creative choice to approach it as origami.
However when I saw some of the footage that had been shot after my sudden, unscripted departure by another director (possibly from another script,) I knew the thing was going down and taking everyone with it.
I instantly called the producers and demanded that my name be taken off ROBO-C.H.I.C. I was told that it was too late, the film had already been playing on USA Network for three years. Now my career was ruined!
Or so I thought.
I’ve kidded around a lot here, but the following is true, so help me:
ROBO C.H.I.C. was made in 1989 or 1990 (depending on who you believe.) Flash forward to March 1994 and I’m stepping off the plane in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong! The land of the stinky bean curd!
While bending over in immigration, I saw a film magazine on the floor. They don’t have prestigious journals like we have here, only fan magazines like “Teen Beat” and gossip rags. But there is one highly-respected quarterly that has the dull translated name, “City Entertainment.” I opened it up and inside were City Entertainment’s Five Laserdisc Picks as the Best Films of the Year. You guessed it: 1. Indochine, 2. Coppola’s Dracula, 3. dePalma’s Raising Caine, 4. Some HK flick and 5 – yes—number 5 was ROBO-C.H.I.C.! I swear to you this is true!
As a result, I was a mini-celebrity in Hong Kong. To this day, I still get a Christmas card every year from John Woo.
On a personal note: I kidded him, but I would like to say that Peter Johnson performed admirably in both ROBO-C.H.I.C. casts and I would like to formally offer him the role of [whatever his character was called] in the upcoming Broadway adaptation, "CYBER-W.O.M.A.N./CYBER-M.A.N."
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Isabella
You say :"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)"
We read this here in Spain.
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by white squirrel
An absolutely brilliant movie!!! I've seen it about a dozen times since the early 90's and it just keeps on getting better! I showed it to my friends at a "bad movie" festival while we stayed up all night playing speed chess (yeah, I was a geek at the time) and we burst out laughing at several of the scenes. ("I'm no Bimbo, Bambi...") Gilbert Godfrey would have been proud. But if you pay attention to some of the characters in the movie, you'll notice a lot of idiotic mannerisms, not unlike the buffoons from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". (e.g. one of the bikers can't shoot his shotgun...he always shoots the ground; Burt Ward/Harry Truman Hodgkins (who played Robin) keeps repeating the same speech about thermonuclear devices when questioned at various points in the movie; the biker gang leader is dislexic as are some of the guards) The real impact of the movie became clear to me, years later, when I read about the local marathon and how a married couple had cheated ... this according to the "running COGNOSCENTE". So if you like bad movies and have an insatiable appetite for inane, mentally retarded humor, then you'll love this flick.
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by bear-lunged moth
I can't quite believe there's ever sb able to think up this...worse:this sb not only reasoned sth that abominable but it was far enough so as to take it real- this flick really exists!
|Re: Robo C.H.I.C.
Posted on August 12, 2008, 05:05:09 PM by peter johnson
Jeffrey Judson Smith, Dawg the Satan's Onion, died August 12, 2008, aged 54. He was in other B films, including "Lock and Load" and "Ah! Marie!", as well as numerous TV commercials. He is survived by his son Stan & his parents and 4 brothers.
Really too young to go so soon . . .
peter johnson, aka Gimp, the Satan's Onion
|Re: Robo C.H.I.C.
Reply #16. Posted on December 19, 2009, 07:59:03 PM by Not Given
Ok here are some tidbits about this movie- Kathy Shower- Playboy Playmate of the year was playing Robo CHic but got mad and quit-Her make up was done by her boyfriend, a champion bicyler from Tour De France. The Directors coat was stolen the first day of filming in Pueblo Colorado, then next day a bum came back to the courthouse where the film was being shot wearing it. He was arrested by local cops who were extras in the movie, Burt Ward aka Robin from the TV show Batman and Robin was the reporter John Kent. Most of the film was shot in 2 days. Finally how do I know this stuff- I was an extra in it. Ran around for 2 days with a 20 pound film camera on my shoulder. I can be seen in the shot with Bert in front of the court house. In the close up I am right behind him.
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