Robot Wars Blu Ray Review (Full Moon Features)
Robot Wars is a 1993 cyberpunk/science fiction film directed by Albert Band (I Bury the Living, Ghoulies II, Doctor Mordrid, & Prehysteria 1/2). Full Moon Entertainment & Paramount Pictures teamed up to put this together. It’s considered a “LOOSE” sequel to Stuart Gordon’s 1989 Robot Jox film which was from the same producers as this but it honestly has no continued story connection to it besides robots. Charles Band (Trancers franchise, Ghoulies, Troll, From Beyond, Dolls, Puppetmaster franchise, & Demonic Toys franchise) co-wrote & produced this. Band’s son Charles got him back into directing after a hiatus from 79 to 88. Albert Band was also known as a producer. Some of his credits include: Troll, TerrorVision, Robot Jox, The Pit and the Pendulum, Honey I Blew Up the Kid, Oblivion, & Curse of the Puppet Master.
In 2041, America is in fear over the devastating possibility of a similar toxic gas scare that took place in 1993. Most of the land has been converted into a desert wasteland. A group of raiders known as Centros sabotage transports. The once known as the United States has been put into a Western bloc. It’s called the North Hemi. The rivals are the Eastern bloc also known as the Eastern Alliance. North Hemi is trying to save the economy by creating mini-megs defense robots to sell. They are smaller variations of the giant robots that once took over everything. The MRAS-2 resembles a scorpion. It gives tours & handles laser weapons for defense. It’s controlled by pilots Drake (played by actor turned director Don Michael Paul from Rolling Vengeance, Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, Tremors 5/6, & Death Race 4) & Stumpy (played by: James Staley from Firefox & Assassination). During one of his runs Drake’s mech is attacked by the Centros. Drake would rather use a safer response to this but his boss Rooney (played by: Peter Haskell from Child’s Play 2/3 & The Law and Harry McGraw) orders him to use the mech to be more dangerous & defend itself so General Wa-Lee (played by: Danny Kamekona from Robot Jox, Problem Child, & The Karate Kid Part II) can be impressed with it as a weapon to influence it’s purchase. Most of the passengers think it’s some simulation at first & not a real experience. The chaotic attack during the war causes archaeologist Leda (played by: Barbara Crampton from Re-Animator, From Beyond, Castle Freak, Puppetmaster, & Trancers II) to damage important specimens. She is angry at Drake for his actions & the result of what happened. He is frustrated with his job & what’s going on around it. Drake is called to Rooney’s office & shows him a recovered weapon from the Centros that’s similar to ones used by the Eastern Alliance. Drake said it’s a conspiracy & the other two are working together. His boss Rooney refuses to believe his theory. Drake doesn’t want anything to do with all of this. He is told he doesn’t have the killer instinct required for his occupation. Leda meets up with journalist Annie (played by: Lisa Rinna from Nick Fury: Agent of Shield & Melrose Place), she gets some shocking information about Crystal Vista. A normal town that had no effects or issues from the the toxic gas scare. Somehow, they escaped without a problem unlike everyone else. She discovers materials that were used on the old giant robots that were supposed to be destroyed. Wa-Lee puts together a fighting event & invites Drake to it. Drake confronts him during the battle & it adds more problems between the two enemies. Drake keeps his promise & gives up being a pilot. He goes on a special operation against his foes the Centros. He finds more equipment that resembles the Eastern Alliance’s involvement. Rooney still doesn’t buy his warnings & proceeds to his normal plans. Stumpy adds more fire to the fuel when he gives Drake additional information about his assumptions. Leda & Annie investigate in Crystal Vista. The Centros are catching on to Leda’s sneaky ways. It leads to a destructive confrontation between all groups involved!!!!
Visual Effects supervisor & stop motion animation master David Allen (Laserblast, The Howling, Puppetmaster franchise, Bride of Re-Animator, Ghostbusters II, & Subspecies) completely shines in this production & his work is some of the best moments featured in Robot Wars. This is pure speculation on my part but you have to think this film possibility inspired Guillermo del Toro for Pacific Rim. Especially considering his love for independent cinema & b movies. This was made many years before Transformers had the balls to make it’s own live action version also. Full Moon Features really put themselves out there & took risks back in the day when no one really else did. I really respect all they accomplished in these early productions. Robot Wars is a very short & it only runs about 72 minutes so it’s easy to enjoy. All the action & entertainment keep you watching until tje very end. Nothing dull about this feature. It’s always great to see the beautiful Barbara Crampton in anything & she really helps add to the experience for Robot Wars. Have seen you see this on various VHS & DVD releases over the years? You will be very impressed with the upgraded quality for both picture & sound for this blu ray. Full Moon Features provides a digitally re-mastered high definition transfer from the original 35MM camera negative for it’s best viewing experience it’s ever had for home video! Now, let’s discuss the special features provided by Full Moon Features for this blu ray disc. You get the classic almost 29 minute “VideoZone” with archival interviews & footage covering the Robot Wars production plus other stuff from Full Moon. Charles Band is a creative genius & really knew what he was doing back then when he started doing VideoZone. It added an extra bonus & incentive to check these out on home video rather than just seeing them in theaters or on TV. Almost no one was doing behind the scene footage & interviews when it came to movies. Look at stuff now, it’s included & done for almost everything now. It wasn’t like that when stuff like this was made. I really appreciate these inside looks into how these were created. Next up, you get the NEW 11 minute “The Wizard of Wars: Remembering David Allen” feature. A tribute & discussion from Charles Band about the visual effects & stop motion animation specialist. Also included is a 5 minute 1997 Full Moon Promo. Last but not least, you get trailers for Robot Wars, Castle Freak, Dark Angel, Trancers 2, Puppetmaster 3, Head of the Family, & Specters. Full Moon & Science Fiction fans, I definitely recommend you to add this release to your collection!