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Tagline: Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research
Year: 1988 Runtime: 90 min
Director: Cullen Blaine
Writer: Cullen Blaine (original idea), Budd Lewis (screenplay)
Starring: Margaret Trigg, Richard Gesswein and Jayne Smith
I recently decided to get outside of myself and give something back. I visited the elderly at a local assisted living community and performed stand up comedy. Laughter is the best medicine, right?
My audience was a crowd of perhaps a dozen men and women in the recreation room. I don’t think the staff told them about my “show” because more than a few of them were cutting their eyes at me when the orderly turned off Wheel of Fortune abruptly and introduced me.
I started off with a classic:
“A blind man walked into a bar.” I paused for dramatic effect. “What? Don’t take that tone with me,” I kidded, looking around the crowd, “he was blind for goodness sake. What’dya expect?”
I think one of the two that could hear me chuckled. The rest were a mix of whistling hearing aides and wheezing, staring blankly at me like a dog that I had just tried to explain 401k benefits to.
It was at that moment that I truly understood just how much of a subjective beast humor is.
To make matters worse, for years I have tried to explain the value of b-movies to people through mocking them. I’ve often heard, and used, the phrase, “it’s so bad, it’s funny.” Yet, humor being what it is, so bad, it’s funny means different things to different people.
Then I watched the Rent-a-Center Terminator film, R.O.T.O.R. Suddenly, life, the universe and everything all made sense.
R.O.T.O.R. is a movie that exemplifies the description: so bad, it’s funny. And thanks to this deliciously retarded movie, I think I can finally give a bulleted list of exactly what that means. This list barely scratches the puerile surface of this film, so as to not spoil the whole film. This is one film you have to experience to fully appreciate.
With all that said, R.O.T.O.R. is the type of movie…
…where a hyper-intelligent cyborg scientist, Dr. Capt. Coldyron (they couldn’t decide which sounded cooler so they used both), lives on a cattle ranch, which he runs by himself. I suppose cyborg science isn’t as demanding as it sounds. Nor is cattle ranching. When the cows come in to feed in the morning, he goes out and half-ass blows up tree stumps with his explosive lasso.
…that has the hero, Dr. Capt. Coldyron, wear sunglasses, but only while inside or at night. You can always tell him from the other dufuses in the movie ‘cos he’s the one with the bloody shins.
…that uses lines like the following to sound “scientific”:
“Good vibrations to it’s molecular tonality you can utilize.” and
“How does the chassis [of the robot] animate without gears and motors?” Which is answered with, “This chassis has been given a prime directive.”
…that use the following exposition to explain how to defeat R.O.T.O.R.:
“To combat pure will you’ll have to use purer logic. You will have to let yourself fail. Use your failure against him. Your failure is his failure. Your weakness is his weakness. Then, and only then, can you do something.”
“Great, except I don’t know what any of that means.”
“Let’s hope you never have to find out.”
…that uses the following line for, uhm, I have no idea (it’s a boyfriend talking to his girlfriend as they drive home):
“Look at’choo. You look like you got both eyes coming out of the same hole.”
…that has music “written and performed by Larry’s Dad”
…that is set in Dallas, TX. Come on, really? Dallas, TX doesn’t even want to be set in Dallas.
Being a movie about a futurific cyborg killing machine, here are R.O.T.O.R.’s finer features. R.O.T.O.R. can:
- easily push through neatly rowed chairs.
- with slight difficulty, push open both glass doors, on double glass doors
- unclip velvet rope that is sectioning something off
- use “sensor recall” vision to see into the past
- reach menacingly at women inside cars, drive-up photo booths, and other easy to enter places
- move much slower than Romero zombies when chasing the ingenue
- easily be stopped by honking your horn
- suddenly suffer from molecular memory degradation when in the climactic hand-to-hand fight with an extra meaty woman causing him to put away his gun instead of just shooting her
Check out the trailer for “R.O.T.O.R.”