Robowar (aKa Robot da guerra) is a 1988 action-horror hybrid film directed by Bruno Mattei (Hell of the Living Dead, The Other Hell, Shocking Dark, Violence in a Women’s Prison, & Rats: Night of Terror) under the name “Vincent Dawn”. It was written by Rossella Drudi (Troll 2, Zombie 3/4, Hell of the Living Dead, Women’s Prison Massacre, & Shocking Dark) & Claudio Fragasso (Monster Dog, Strike Commando 1/2, Beyond Darkness, Night Killer, & Troll 2). It was produced by Franco Gaudenzi (Zombie 3/4, Night Killer, Shocking Dark, The Arena, & Double Target). It was shot at the exact same time as Zombie 4: After Death with the same crew. It was unreleased here until 2019. Robowar officially got released in the states for the first time with this home video release from Severin Films!!!!
Major Murphy Black (played by: Reb Brown from Captain America 1/2, Uncommon Valor, Howling II: … Your Sister Is a Werewolf, & Sssssss) leads a group of commandos which includes Pvt. Larry Guarino (played by: Massimo Vanni from Zombie 3/4, The Inglorious Bastards, Keoma, & 1990: The Bronx Warriors), Sonny ‘Blood’ Peel (played by: Jim Gaines from Zombie 4: After Death, Black Fire, Enter the Ninja, & Faster), & Cpl. Neil Corey (played by: Romano Puppo from Ghoulies II, Street Law, The Great Alligator, & 2019: After the Fall of New York) through the jungles of an unnamed island. Unknown to all involved but Mascher (played by: Mel Davidson from Strike Commando 2, Get the Terrorists, Eye of the Eagle, & Mannigan’s Force), they are being stalked by Mascher’s robot invention Omega-1. Over the protests of Mascher, the group first saves a volunteer hospital worker Virginia (played by: Catherine Hickland from Witchery, Ghost Town, Sweer Justice, & Millions) from a band of guerrillas. The dangerous robot begins killing members of the commando group one by one. Mascher admits to Marphy that he created Omega-1 & that it was acting sporadically. Black listens to an audio tape given by Mascher, which reveals that Omega-1 is a human/machine hybrid, whose human parts were made up of the brain of Black’s old friend, Lt. Martin Woodrie. The remaining members of the group fight for their survival against the unstoppable killing machine. Can they work together & end this chaos????
Have you ever wanted to see a Predator & Robocop mash up feature? If you answered yes, your dream came true & you will love Robowar. The Italians had no shame when it came to ripping off bigger American productions & exploitation director Bruno Mattei was one of the best at it.You have remember Bruno Mattei & Claudio Fragasso basically made two for the price of one during this time while shooting this with Zombie 4. In the day time, they would work on Robowar & at night they would focus on After Death. This is a very low budget film & it definitely shows after all these years but it’s so much fun. The special & visual fx are outdated but it’s what you would expect from an independent 80’s movie. Omega-1 actually looks more unintentionally funny than scary here. The acting is over the top & they chew the scenery with the ambitious script. If has some familiar faces in it that you most likely recognize from other projects. It has plenty of action & murder to satisfy fans of both sub-genres. Turn off your brain off & get ready to be entertained. They don’t make stuff like this anymore, the rip offs were awesome & brought something different when it came to the originals but now they are just awful, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Severin Films! This 1080p (1.85:1) transfer is scanned in 4K from the original camera negative. I’ve seen a few bootlegs of this back in the day & they all looked really bad. This blu ray release & new transfer is a huge improvement over those & any previous home video release. It has two different audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 & Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 on the disc. It sounds better than expected especially for a low budget 80’s flick. The dialogue is very clean, all the madness is elevated, & the music from Al Festa has a real nice boost to it. If you are familiar with Fatal Frames, the score & soundtrack here are the basically the same. It also has English subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Severin Films! “Robo Predator” is a little over 23 minute interview with co-writer & co-director at times during the production Claudio Fragasso. He chats about how he met Bruno Mattei. He says when they worked together, they would use the same cast & crew for their films. He talks about them shooting two films at once on a decent amount of productions. He brings up working in the Phillipines & some of the movies he shot there. He mentions that he was filming After Death at the same time as Robowar so he didn’t do much on the feature besides direct a few scenes. He says the IMDB credit for him as the Robot is incorrect & that wasn’t him in the suit. He chats about the actors & visual/special fx. He tells a few funny stories. He says both Robowar & After Death share some of the same music because the composer wasn’t paid much for either. He doesn’t shy away for his hate for the Robot in this. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. “Italian Rip Off” is a little over 9 minute interview with co-writer Rossella Drudi. She mentions Bruno Mattei & her experience working with him. She chats about the script being changed & subplots being cut out to go straight to the action. She says they were ripping off Predator & Robocop with this. She jokes about the voice not really matching the body of the Robot villain. She brings up the love it gets from fans all over the world. She was convinced to revisit it after all the praise & she says it actually still holds up. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. “Violence She Wrote” is an almost 22 minute career interview with the legendary screen writer Rossella Drudi. She goes over her career & some of the films that she wrote over the years including uncredited material. She tells a few stories about them, people that she collaborated with, & her experiences on the movies. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. “Robo-Lady” is a little over 11 minute interview with actress Catherine Hickland. She chats about working on the show Texas. She talks about her experience on Robowar, some scenes, & her character. She goes over working in the Phillipines. She mentions her working relationships with the director & the cast for this. She chats about people helping with translations on the set for English. She mentions her interactions with the local kids. She talks about her career & what she does now. She says she has never seen this film before. “Papa Doc’s War” is an almost 13 minute interview with actor John P. Dulaney. He chats about a few of the films that he made overseas especially in Italy. He praises Bruno & goes over his experience with Robowar. He brings up that it was a rip off & someone rip it off now. He says Italians only wanted to eat Italian food & they had their own chef with them. He mentions the locations for the production. He tells a few stories about filming this. He goes into great detail about his relationships with the cast & crew for Robowar. “The Robowarrior” is a little over 9 minute interview with actor Jim Gaines Jr. He chats about working with Bruno Mattei on various projects & always getting along with him. He says he was an actor’s director. He does a rundown of the cast & crew. He brings up that he worked on Zombie 4: After Death at the exact same time as this. He talks about his experience on Robowar. He tells a variety of funny stories & he doesn’t hold back on the details. “War in the Phillipines” is a little over 17 minute interview with stuntman & actor Massimo Vanni. He says he knew both Bruno & Claudio before working with them. He chats about being hired as a stunt coordinator at first then getting offered a role for Robowar. He talks about 15 people from Italy was the original crew & they all different so many different jobs on the set. He goes over the stunts & making sure everything was safe during the production. He mentions his experience & his love for working on action films. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. “Catherine Hickland’s Behind The Scenes Home Movies” is a little over 15 minutes. It features all kinds of cast & crew while making the film. The footage is rough but it’s very fun to watch. It has a “Trailer” for Robowar. The limited edition version which I am reviewing also includes the soundtrack CD from Al Festa featuring 30 tracks. A standard blu ray is available if you are not interested in the CD. It’s available everywhere right now including the official Severin Films site with additional merch, CHECK IT OUT!!!!