By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
50’s B-movie enthusiasts and Robot Chicken fans will most likely love The Killer Robots! Crash & Burn. Trying to categorize this movie is not easy. There’s action, comedy, science fiction and Max Headroom (well, sort of) tossed in this product. To describe it on a different level, I think of this movie as Power Rangers meets Hanna-Barbera meets Michael Bay’s Transformers (in a good way) — or should the style be Warhammer 40K? This product looks like a movie Troma would release.
When considering Lloyd Kaufman appeared in The Killer Robots and the Battle for the Cosmic Potato (2009), I am not surprised that the creative mind behind the band, that movie and this, Sam Gaffin, knows him. This latest flick does not feel like a sequel. If only an added screener of this prior product was offered, I would be interested in finding out if it is or not. Watching this film is about getting an experience over enjoying it for its plot. To feel it can also be found in the crazy insane trailer and this feature is due to arrive on VOD (iTunes, Google Play and Amazon) on July 15th. The full product is just as batty and I love it!
The Killer Robots! is a theatrical rock band based out Florida and they are known for their comic book style antics on and off stage. They are just one of a handful of bands in this age performing Space Rock (think Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd) even though I think their signature sound is more like synth technopunk. In this film, Trog (Charles Harris), Strobo (Samuel Williams), Auto (Sam Gaffin) and Max (Mike McGowan) are mechanical gladiators who met an untimely end but are quickly rebuilt and turned super soldier for a mysterious organization of android adventurers. Although reluctant at first, the mercenaries agree to help out.
Watching this product is like viewing a long music video montage. The tale is broken into chapters, which also serves as titles to the soundscape offered. This group is like GWAR because of the impressive costumes. Being at one of their concerts is even better, but when this film is designed to carry a story instead of being a rock opera, fortunately, this band’s sound permeates throughout. As background music, it works to convey the energy and enthusiasm put into the production. Although I’m more in tune to how KISS shows play out, I’m fairly sure Ace Frehley the Spaceman would feel at home in this world. It has a design and style that recalls the frantic style I love from Georges Méliès work, namely A Trip to the Moon. If I was to compare this to anime, it bears some similarity to Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm). When considering all the mechanical brutes Alita faced, this movie’s diverse cast of mechanoid denizens look like they were made to fight in the roller derby (motoball) games!
Although the dialogue feels stilted and flat, the screenplay works in favour for what this musical group represents. It’s like a golden age comic book come to life! I really have to admire the work put into this product. Much of it was built perhaps out of an environmental concern: the costumes, giant monsters, buildings and spaceships in the film were created from recycled bottles, packaging, plasticware and toy parts! The green-screening is obvious and that does not distract from the overall presentation. This movie belongs in a category of oddball cult fantasies where it deserves a look no matter what. When this band reaches worldwide recognition that GWAR has, they really must have comic books made to further their adventures Buckaroo Banzai style. They deserve it.
4 out of 5 stars.
The Killer Robots!: Crash and Burn can be purchased from:
iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/killer-robots!-crash-burn/id1119811410,
Google Play at https://play.google.com/store/movies/details/The_Killer_Robots_Crash_and_Burn?id=QzmPhgy1rJg&hl=en,
or at Amazon.com.
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