Back in the mists of time, there was a man. A man of morals, of wit and humour. A man with a VideoEzy account and a desire to watch terrible, terrible b-movies. And this man, he had a friend.
This is their story of how they once hired Robot Jox and how it changed their lives forever. Crash and burn, everyone, crash and burn.
Right, back in the 1990s I was a bit of a film geek. People who know me now might ask “What’s changed?”. Well, a lot. For one, I hate going to the cinema these days. Really hate it. It’s not just that the small indie places closed down and the only places to see moves are multiplexes and how that means more people watching more shitty films, all there just because they have no reason to be anywhere else – it’s that I no longer enjoy the process, the ceremony of attending the movies. It used to be an event, where friends and I would plan a night out around going to the “flicks”. The thing is, I get more enjoyment at home watching a DVD on a nice big telly now than I do going to the “pictures” (although I don’t mind going to Dendy as I can have a beer or three to dull my anxiety).
Oh, and I hate ordering a small drink and being told they only have Large, Extra-large and American sizes. I might be a bit slow, but to me, if you only offer three sizes, then then one that holds the least amount of fluid is the small one. And paying $7 for badly popped corn. And the seats. And the people. And the lack of interesting films.
Ignoring the above, continuing with my story of hiring of a VHS tape and watching it at home (or, as it turned out, my friend’s home).
Back in the 1990s I was a bit of a film geek I used to hire a lot of movies and films (movies are pure entertainment, films are entertainment to be discussed afterwards over a coffee and a black cigarette). Lots. I had accounts at half a dozen video stores so that no matter where I was in my pre-car owning days I was only a short walk from a video tape repository. I used to hire classics like:
- Back to the Future 1 & 2
- Taxi Driver
- Beverly Hills Cop
- Escape from New York
- The Ice Pirates
- They Call Me Bruce?
- Army of Darkness
- Flight of the Navigator
- Blade Runner
- The Goonies
- Star Wars/Empire Strikes Back
- Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
- The Stunt Man
- The Man With Two Brains
(can you tell I was one of the popular kids at school?)
And I would also hire the films with the worst looking cases. The ones that you just knew were going to suck. Like:
- Brain Dead/DeadAlive (actually one of the best movies I have ever seen, better than the swords & sorcery muck that Peter Jackson has made since)
- Up the Creek (doesn’t suck so much as it doesn’t deliver what a horny early teen/mid teen/late teen/old man needs)
- Cherry 2000 (looked like crap on the box, turns out to be pretty sensational)
- Puppet Master
- The Class of Nuke ‘Em High
and Robot Jox.
The weird thing is, back then I wouldn’t have been able to look at that second list and tell you any of the films had anything in common – apart from the fact I had really low expectations for them. But today I can tell you that there is a link between Troll, Puppet Master, Eliminators, Re-Animator and Robot Jox.
That link?Â Charles Band.
You go read that Wikipedia page as it will tell you more about the man than I can/want to. And it will likely tell you with less swears and poorly thought out puns and metaphors and similes and smilies and shit I can’t think of a way to tie them all up like a Girl Guide on rope-tying day 😉
Back to the main gist of my point of my story. My friend and I hired Robot Jox. A film where war has been replaced with a spectator sport consisting of poorly developed giant robots piloted by barely protected and illiterate “jox” beating the ever living snot/shit/wind out of each other.
It was horrible.
We loved it. We laughed at it. We greeted each other with “crash and burn” (a phrase that gets overused in the film) for at least, well, a day. We even tracked down the semi-sequel Crash and Burn. We didn’t do it intentionally and until recently I didn’t know the two films were actually related. I had just assumed one ripped off the other but we saw it in the video store, thought, hmm that looks like Robot Jox and off we went. We watched maybe 15 minutes of it.
So, whilst I can’t remember anything of substance of Crash and Burn I can remember details about Robot Jox as if I only watched it again yesterday. Because I just watched it again yesterday. And you know what, it doesn’t suck as much as it did. The giant robots look silly, the stop motion is painful at times and I can’t get over the lack of thought that went into the design of the pilot’s cockpit area, but overall it was a considerably better film than I remembered it being.
That being said, I cannot recommend that anyone ever watch any of it.
Here are some highlights:
And, here is the trailer:
P.S. Doesn’t the main character just seen like Billy Bob Thornton’s younger, handsomer and more talented older brother?