Let's start with the honesty. I rented this movie as a "bad" movie. I'm addicted to bad movies, entertainment masochist that I am. Alternately called "Killbots," this movie has been something that I've wanted to watch for a while. Isn't that rather sad? However, I am about to present to you a group of the most evil robots I've ever seen. If you've heard of this film or have read the summary already, you know that's a bold statement. Let's see if I can follow through.
The box tells us that this is the story of a group of teenagers who plan to spend the night in a high-tech shopping mall, only to meet horrible fates at the hands of rampaging and malfunctioning robotic security guards. Yep. That's right. RENT-A-ROBOCOPS. But let's not get distracted. This synopsis? Absolute crap. Hog-wash. Bull-honky, if you will. This is the kind of fairy tale you tell to your little kid. No one wants to tell an 8-year old that Scruffy was run down by a Buick and was scraped into a Rubbermaid garbage can. People like to deny that bad things happen. The truth? The truth hurts, bitches. Get ready for the bullet.
The truth is that one mall, during the mid-80's, hired a trio of the most sadistic, evil, and intelligent robots ever, and they killed people. Not just killed them. Tortured them. Played with their victims like a cat plays with a legless mouse. (I had a long string of wounded pets, apparently) And those kids? Stupid and horny, you say? Some would agree with you...but if you watch this film you'll realize these kids are almost normal. Most horror movies rely on a monster choosing particularly stupid victims. You know the type. "Bob, is that you? :pause: Honey, is this your blood out here? Baby I'm just going to take a shower, ok?" Yeah, these kids do put the stereotypical "kill me" sign on their backs, but they do so without the "let's search for danger/investigate that noise" mentality that has caused so many nubile women to break a high-heel at the worst possible moment.. So why do they have to die? We'll get to that in just one second. What we have here is a match-up. Machine versus Man. Man versus Machine. Once the game begins, its on.
Lets meet our teams.
The film starts with ACTION! or not, really. A stereotypical "crook" is breaking into a jeweler's window, taking all the cosmetic jewelry he can hold. By stereotypical crook I mean he was wearing a bandana, was rather unwashed, and looked like a member of Guns and Roses. The would-be criminal hears a voice. Not any voice. THE voice to end all voices. Its hard to describe, so let me just put it like this: Darth Megatron orders the band roadie to drop his weapon. Always one to play the part, our filthy crook pulls a pistol, but almost immediately we find that the mysterious robot before us has no fear of guns, as Axle is quick to notice. (Run-on sentence translation: bullets no stop robot.) Bullets ricocheting off his chrome skin, our heroic protector proceeds to run down and electrocute the would-be thief.
Then the acid kicks in: Darth Megatron wishes us a nice day. This is kind of like hearing Mr. T say "I feel so pretty today" or Al Gore say "You best be trippin', foo." It just doesn't fit. Its unnerving and weird. Its also the catch-phrase of the film. Suddenly "THE END" dance before our eyes. We've been watching an infomercial. There are pros and cons to this. On the bad side we're watching a freakin' INFOMERCIAL and that also means that Axle was only an actor, and is out there unharmed somewhere. On the other hand, I didn't waste my money renting a 3 minute movie. Also I would actually watch more infomercials if they sold products such as KILLER ROBOTS. There's got to be a market researcher trying to cash in on my demographic. To that person: I'M RIGHT HERE! I want killer robots and I want them now.
Our host explains the PROTECTORS are not only bullet-proof but come with tazers, sleep darts, gripping claws, and, oh yes, a laser that "can cut through almost anything." That last feature is spoken literally at the speed of light. Its the whole "asphinctersayswhat?" joke---everyone heard it, no one wants to comment because they're not sure. No one there seems to question the need for a rent-a-cop's replacement to have a laser that can cut through anything. Oh, and he does stress that these bad boys are for "neutralizing," not killing. He seems a little flustered and you can guess why....I mean these guys are a hard sell. They are obvious killing machines. So why the hell are they here?
From the moment I heard their voice, I wondered why the hell robots as kick-ass as the Protectors would take on a job as mall security guards, one of the lamest professions I can think of. (Mall rat speaking again, my apologies.) Bulletproof, Lasers, and deadly claws. What the hell did any of those Transformers have that the Protectors didn't have? The Transformers had flight, and they could turn into something that was significantly less cool than an aggressive talking robot. I'm not saying that the Protectors could kick some ass in a universe populated by killer robots, but these bitches could compete, I promise you. While the movie wants you to think that a stray bolt of lightning makes the Protectors go crazy, it's sooooo not the case. These robots are cunning and plotting against all who breathe the moment they appear. So why the hell aren't they out there fighting the good guys or stealing power crystals or trying to destroy the world like the rest of our culture's evil robots? The answer:
Big fish, little pond. The Protectors may be evil to the core, but they're not stupid. Megatron or any number of cartoon villains get thwarted at every turn because they have big goals, big ideals. And the price for those ideals? Every villain who wants to do something big ends up getting thrown on his butt during the last reel every time. So what did the Protectors do? They went someplace where they could be not unlike Gods. Mall freaking Security. Martial law at Macy's. I mean, would James Bond intervene if a criminal genius was interested in taking over Bloomingdale's? Hell no. The Protectors have gone the unconventional route: They will rule their little kingdom. It's not much. But at least they won't be a little fish in an ocean of battling robots. The Transformers had their token weakling...Bumblebee. I mean, even the other Transformers called him their "Little Friend." By Transformer or other fighting robot standards, the Protectors were always going to be the little guys. Nothing good ever happens to the little guy.
PROTECTOR 1: Screw that Noise. Let us smite some teenagers, my divine digital brethren.
PROTECTOR 2: The Reckoning is at hand.
PROTECTOR 3: To the FOOD COURT!