Film Reviews:


(Luk Kim Ming, HK, 1992)

This Hong Kong take on Robocop also shares similarities with Eve of Destruction - both being about robots that look cute as pie but seriously kick butt. Robotrix opens with a nude female bathing scene - not at all gratuitous and entirely essential for establishing the character of cute cop Selina. Taking reality a few steps forward, the story really begins at a international military trade fair - one that specialises in robots. Countries from around the globe each pushing their own version of roboagent to be used in covert operations. But here not only do the exhibitors display their wares but they get to try them out. Thus we have rival German and American robot technology (cheaply looking like humans with the odd touch of tin foil) slugging it out at the expo for the benefit of potential buyers. Can you imagine what it would be like in real life if they carried this 'product testing' to the extreme?! Anyhow, the American robot goes berzerk (some digital form of post traumatic stress maybe?) but before he can cause any harm the Hong Kong model, a female designated Robotrix EVER27, steps in to save the day - much to the embarassment of the American contingent. Next, an Arab deligation are attacked by a rogue Japanese robot maker who kidnaps an oil shiek's son. The scene is set for Robotrix to step in again to save the day by tracking down the kidnapper and thereby restoring international relations to normal.

Curious to discover her female sexuality, Robotrix insists on going undercover as a prostitute, yet at the same time she manages to battle an evil scientist who has transfered his mind into a robot who aims to take over the world! As you can (hopefully) tell, this is a comedy. I was tempted to say 'action comedy', but by HK standards, there isn't that much, certainly the chopy socky is kept to a minimum. Instead, there are some excellent gags - one scene featuring musicians in a restaurant is a favourite of mine - I'll say no more. In a direct combination of Robocop and Metropolis, a female cop is killed in action and her body is used in a scene mirroring that in Fritz Lang's classic as her identity is transferred to a robot cop. The self-repair scene from The Terminator also crops up at one point. But despite the unforgettable presence of Amy Yip (an actress perhaps as famous for her ample bosom as her performances) in the lead, and the deliberately tongue-in-cheek approach, Robotrix falls short of what the basic idea promises.

Rob Dyer

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