Ahhh, the sound of rain. Something I haven’t hear in quite some time around here and all I can think about is how much I am not looking forward to going to work this morning. However, that is not for a couple of hours so instead, I am going to focus on today’s movie. As the year starts winding down I find myself at the letter “R” and what better way to start than with a robotic killer. Robots have always been a major factor in the sci-fi genre for decades and of course, it only makes sense to have several robot themed movies in the Sci-Fi Invasion box set. So let’s see how good of a movie I have today as I watch R.O.T.O.R.
The plot: A couple is driving along the road towards Lake Dallas when they hear an explosion and see two injured people, a man carrying a woman, emerging from the smoke. The man sets the woman down and asks the couple to call 911 but as they do, a hunter approaches the scene and points his shotgun at the injured man, saying that he had killed a motorcycle cop. When the police arrive, they take the man, Dr. Barrett Colyron, to Division, where he is questioned about what happens and Coldyron starts telling them what happened. Coldyron works for the police department in their robotics lab and attends a meeting where he showcases a prototype for a robotic police officer, dubbed R.O.T.O.R., that is able to learn in order to make it more effective. As the meeting winds down, Coldyron receives a call from Division Commander Earl Bugler, who tells him that he had received a call from their benefactor, Senator Donald D. Douglas, who wanted a progress report on their project. Bugler told the Senator that everything was on schedule but the Senator wants product to be ready in 60 days, so he can use it to help get into the White House. Coldyron tells Bugler that they are years from a finished product and that it can’t be done so Bugler fires Coldyron and puts his assistant, Dr. Houghtaling in charge of the project. Houghtaling tries to finish work on the project with the help of his robot, Willard, but unknown to them, a accident causes a surge in the system which ends up sending an impulse signal to R.O.T.O.R. Meanwhile, Coldyron meets up with his girlfriend Penny and then heads to the mini mart to get some items for dinner, when he observes some men preparing to rob the store and he proceeds to break up the robbery, killing one of the men who has taken a hostage. As Coldyron waits for the police to finish up with the crime scene, he is approached by Mokie Killion, a street cop, who has Coldyron sign the form and says he will fill it out, then tells Coldyron to stick to the labs and leave the streets to him. Back at the robotics lab, the R.O.T.O.R. unit has activated and dressing up in a police officers uniform, it steals the prototype bike meant for it and drives off into the night. Meanwhile, Hougtaling and Wilbur are trying to figure out how the battery packs in the vault were drained and decide to shut everything down and start fresh in the morning, not seeing the monitor showing that R.O.T.O.R. was active. Greg Hutchinson and his fiance Sonya Garren are driving along a deserted road outside of Dallas when they speed past the R.O.T.O.R. unit, which starts to follow them. When they get into an argument and pull over, R.O.T.O.R. stops and approaches them. Greg approaches R.O.T.O.R., expecting to receive a ticket, but R.O.T.O.R. shoots him and Greg falls forward, managing to rip the name tag off of R.O.T.O.R.’s uniform. R.O.T.O.R. approaches the car to kill Sonya but she presses down on the horn, which cause R.O.T.O.R. severe pain long enough for her to escape. After R.O.T.O.R. chases her down and attempts to attack her again, Sonya manages to lose it and calls the police but says she is unable to stay where she is and instead, tells them where she is headed so that they can find her. Meanwhile, a police officer arrives on the scene of Greg’s murder and after finding the name tag, calls Coldyron after his name comes up when they run the tag through the computer. Coldyron heads to the lab and tries to figure out what happened, even calling Wilbur to learn what happened after he left. Coldyron then calls Butler and tells him that the Senator got his wish early but it is out of control and has already killed one person. Sonya stops at a late night diner and order some coffee but R.O.T.O.R. shows up, attacking the cook before making his way into the restaurant to try and attack Sonya. Sonya manages to escape as R.O.T.O.R. makes it’s way through anyone that tries to help her. Coldyron shows up and tries to save Sonya, but he is overpowered by R.O.T.O.R. Sonya manages to escape and when R.O.T.O.R. moves to kill Coldyron, he is stopped when Coldyron holds up the deactivation key and chooses to chase after Sonya again, but not before Coldyron damages the motorcycle. Coldyron contacts Sonya and tells her to head towards Lake Dallas and hide there while he gets help in dealing with R.O.T.O.R., then contacts Dr. Steele, who designed R.O.T.O.R.’s chasis. Steele flies up from Houston and Coldyron picks her up and they discuss what they can do to stop R.O.T.O.R. Meanwhile, R.O.T.O.R. catches up to Sonya near the lake and she forces him off the road, then starts running through the woods towards the lake and gets on a boat but R.O.T.O.R. drags the boat back to shore. As R.O.T.O.R. prepares to shoot her, Steele shoots it in the back and starts fighting with it while Coldyron gets Sonya to safety. Coldyron uses the deactivation key to try and stop R.O.T.O.R. but when it fails, Steele continues fighting it while he has Sonya throw him his bag of detonating cords. Steele manages to pry open R.O.T.O.R.’s chest plate to expose it’s battery but is killed in the process. With Sonya’s help, Coldyron manages to trap R.O.T.O.R. with the detonating cord and sets it off, causing the robot to explode into pieces. Back at Division Headquarters, Coldyron finishes his report and leaves but is shot in the back by Butler. Some time later, Coldyron’s nephew, Brett, inherits all of Coldyron’s papers and notes about R.O.T.O.R. and starts work on a new unit, R.O.T.O.R. II, which is made to look like Steele.
You know, I read the reviews where some people call this a bad rip-off of Terminator or Robocop, and I have to agree with them on that. This was a pretty bad movie because you absolutely could not think anything else than how much of a rip-off this was. The acting was incredibly stiff and almost as robotic as the main killer. Especially bad was the dubbing job for Coldyron, who was played by Richard Gesswein but voiced by Loren Bivens, as there are several times where the voice was coming out while Coldyron’s mouth wasn’t moving. The plot really did seem a lot like Terminator, with a robot relentlessly pursuing a girl so it can kill her. In fact, all you really needed was some time travel and this would be The Terminator. As for the Robocop similarities, those were basically seen in the premise for R.O.T.O.R., that being a futuristic style cop to handle crimes and keep more people safe. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects, outside of some bad light effects but the action scenes were very poorly done and so slow paced that they were painful to watch. There are hundreds of robot movies out there so you really won’t be missing anything by not watching this one.
Rating: 1 out of 5