I Saw A Film!
Here’s a kind of Transformers cum mech-warriors fantasy (long before Pacific Rim) in stop-motion animation with a bit of an Ender’s Game competition fantasy layered on it. From the writer of Re-animator and director of From Beyond, a couple of 80s classics, comes this paean to pro-wrestling style competitive patriotic zeal. The human officer from Alien Nation (who I’d totally forgotten about) is a champion giant robot driver fighting, against a Russian “evil” giant robot driver. Yup. And there are a bunch of understudies vying for the position. Our poor Achilles ends up trying to block a stray rocket punch from taking out the audience, but ends up doing more damage to the spectators.
Before long a new champion arises, her name is Athena (Anne-Marie Johnson from In Living Color) and is raring to get her robot license and take on the Russian heap, which is equipped with jack-hammer fists and and a chainsaw ovipositor/penis, like a sawfly. Sadly, not only is the champion’s beloved trainer a double agent (Oh no!) but the entire research and development program looks to be based on an original version of Corel Draw. The future does not look bright.
Our robot fighters in training aren’t concerned about the audience, they apparently sign waivers. Achilles is a bit surprised about that, the new genetically created fight team lack any compassion. Compassion Achilles uses later to rescue Athena as she falters in battle and Achilles takes over, transforming the robot into a rocket that flies off into space, and then all the way back to the little battle pavilion in the desert. To say the effects look cheesy by modern standards is kind of like saying Pete Townsend has a big nose. Watching these robots is a bit like watching the old Rankin and Bass Christmas animation shows with posable dolls. It’s downright quaint.
If you’ve watched any typical action films, or are familiar with a WWE style grudge match set ups (by the way, all the matches are grudge matches) you know what’s coming and only the fact that the film doesn’t end in some kind of bad guy mutters something about the good guy’s woman and this invigorates him to go medieval on his ass is a surprise. It actually ends in peace!
Free on Prime, but unless you need a good laugh, or want to trace the origins of these mech-warrior/ future-soldier stories, should you bother.