R.O.T.O.R.

R.O.T.O.R.

My introduction to this Robocop ripoff was a clip of its titular super-officer walking through rows of chairs set up in a parking garage because of deep and meaningful reasons only known to the writers. I expected R.O.T.O.R. to be bad in the usual dull sense of nonexistent filmcraft, though perhaps with another amusing reference or two to share with those in the know.

I was so very wrong in the best possible way.

R.O.T.O.R. nails the fundamentals of filmmaking ineptitude – wooden dialog awkwardly spoken, nonsensical plot points, stock footage clashing with the narration, scenery and people and lighting warping around from shot to shot. It distinguishes itself with a unique and pervasive absurdity, from the nuances of said ineptitude to cringeworthy one-liners. Topping this off is a twist either pulled out of some highly unrelated ass or generated via randomizer – almost amazing in its senselessness.

I read that R.O.T.O.R. was originally written as a parody, which does explain a fair amount of its quirks. It still holds up as if it had been serious business unintentionally gone in all other directions instead.

To give a sense of what makes R.O.T.O.R. so special, let’s have some introductions.

The Cast

Barrett-ColdyronBarrett Coldyron – hero of the day because his pay scale doesn’t suffice for villainy. He enjoys absurd metaphors, feeding coffee to horses, and hiding guns in newspapers.
ROTORR.O.T.O.R. – judge and executioner with inverted color vision that can replay the past. Robotic Officer Tactical Operations Research – or is it Reserve? I doubt we should expect acronym consistency from a police robot with a weakness to radios and car horns.
CR-SteeleC.R. Steele – scientist, bodybuilder, proud rocker of a skunk mullet. Anyone want to guess who my favorite character is?
ShoeboogieShoeboogie – janitor and dispenser of terrible pickup lines and equally facepalming attempts to riff on ethnic stereotypes for comic relief. I can relate to him on one level. Gots to have my tunes, even if I accidentally free a killer robot cop by retrieving my headphones with a metal comb.
SonyaSonya, Damsel in Distress  Рpossessor of boundless energy and gasoline to facilitate an all-night chase. Her fiance brings more edgy funsies, emasculated by the thought of her taking a job. If only C.R. Steele could have suplexed some sense into him before he became obligatory R.O.T.O.R. fodder.
Earl-BuglarEarl Buglar – Coldyron’s boss. Heavy-handed perpetrator and expositor of political bribery.
WillardWillard – flirtatious, fist-bumping, French fry-eating, and magazine-reading police robot with a duct pipe neck and the most sensible dialog in the movie.

The Verdict

I watched R.O.T.O.R. without the benefit of comedic commentary. Twice. It even dethroned my old favorite cheesefest of Jingle All the Way. Yes, even that part where Arnold fights a warehouse of counterfeit toymaking Santas.

Links

Horribly Amazing Films review – A lovingly detailed recap with images galore.

Rifftrax commentary – One of their best, and not just due to my personal affection for its target.