I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

War of the Robots: Worlds Away From a Good Time


by Nicholas Shapiro
May 10, 2016

Captain Boyd races against time to find his captured love interest and the Professor before his alien civilization faces extinction. Along the way, he fights carniverous humanoids with no vision, wrinkly reptilian extraterrestrial who don’t talk and his most unrelenting enemy of all: director Alfonso Brescia’s black hole script. Meanwhile, Professor Carr has just discovered the secret to “ancient immortal life”. But then he has a mood swing and decides to sell that secret to the same creatures who captured the Captain’s love interest. Also these same creatures are a bunch of golden Joey Ramones if Joey Ramone had his hair starched with too much spray paint. They don’t talk either nor are they very punk. Then there’s the love interest, Lois, also known as the Empress, because she, too, has a change of heart about her role in this movie. Power hungry Lois forgets about her Captain, sells out her planet to evil Anthoria, also known as the home to the golden Joey Ramone boys, in exchange for being the Empress. Then she changes her mind. Then she changes it back again. And then she dies maybe? If you’re following me here, then welcome to War of the Robots, the 1978 Italian sci-fi whatever-fest that masquerades as a movie but serves much better as an amusing visual wallpaper.

Over the course of one hundred Earth minutes, War of the Robots presents itself with goofy, synthesizer space disco, Buck Rogers cosmos attire and 5th grade Science fair set pieces. That being said, the first thing any cinephile will recognize is the film’s inherent B-Movie-ness. B-movies exist to stroke the low brow and flip off the higher art above them. Some B-movies do this with a smile, some with a wink and others with both eyes closed. War of the Robots is your most latter option. The film is so serious, so blind in its direction, that it's almost otherworldly to wonder how all the real humans involved agreed to stick with it through and through. But, such is the story of B-movies, or bad movies in general.

What separates War of the Robots from the b-movie, sci-fi pack is not much. I would say the golden Ramones were the most memorable highlight. Their silver, microwavable suits and snake eye faces made for an ideal, disposable cronie. If anything, I personally would have loved to sign up for this role. Seems like little-to-no experience was needed, you and a buncha buddies coulda gotten stone cold, space drunk, walked on set with your best poker face and knocked the role outta the park. While the golden men themselves didn’t look like they were having much fun, they did wield interesting weapons. This brings War of the Robots into the B-movie spotlight. The set pieces, the space ships, the weapons and everything material granted for endearing no money, half-special effects. The laser guns simply lit up, and then someone died. There were lightsabers, too. The word “lightsaber” took on a decidedly more literal take than that of the lightsabers from Star Wars fame, for these blades looked exactly like a saber of light and less than a stick.

Some additional highlights and ideas from Brescia’s production include characters that are off-the-very-beaten-path. There’s second-in-command, Herb, from Texas, who appears to have no identifiable accent of this Earth. Kuba the Alien, the leader of the cavernous blind creatures, who is also completely gilded but is unrelated to the Anthorian goldie Ramones. Then there is Julie, also known as “Julia”, to the actors who call her the wrong name within the movie. Her role is questionable; less than a role, but more than an extra. She’s got short hair and is relatively wife-able.

War of the Robots, as entertaining as one could make it sound, is not all that entertaining. Best recommended for extreme B-movie devouts, this movie has extremely un-quotable lines that somehow almost make it comically quotable considering how flat every line is delivered. It is a B-movie at its most average. Your standard B-movie. If you were to introduce the concept to someone who is unfamiliar, this would be your middle choice. The coolest thing I got out of War of the Robots was the giant slot machine computer that was used to somehow make people immortal, and not rich. Most plot elements are unresolved. And humans actually made this film. So check it out!

My name is Nicholas Craig Shapiro, I'm 22 from New York, New York and I just graduated from SUNY Purchase. I'm currently a janitor/pool attendant/freelance writer/single woman trying really hard to keep busy for on the off chance that I'm not, I will get bored and explode into glitter. I maintain a twitter and that's about it https://twitter.com/glennfeathers