Friday, July 25, 2014

Robo Vampire, China's answer to Robo Cop

I found Paul Verhoeven's "Robo Cop" a bit preachy and self-serving.  Apparently the Chinese did as well, because the next year (1988), "Robo Vampire" was made in China.  A cross between Lucio Fulci's "Zombie" and "Robo Cop," this film capitalizes on the gore and violence without pushing forth an agenda.  Badly dubbed, and really corny martial arts only act to heighten the charm of this Asian cinematic achievement.
The plot: When you watch this film, don't worry about the plot....believe me...it'll come together eventually.  Mr. Young runs an international heroine operation in the middle of Asia's "Golden Triangle."  Vampires, who look more like Fulci zombies, are created by Young to guard their operation.  The vampires hop like rabbits, hold their arms straight out, are adept at martial arts, and munch rather than bite.  Young's people have created a super vampire which looks more like a hopping gorilla than it does Bela Lugosi.  Unfortunately, the girl who the gorilla-vampire was supposed to marry, died.  Now this unfortunate soul comes back as a ghost.  She agrees to serve Young if he weds these two poor saps...which he does.  Enough of this foolishness for now.  Drug agents try everything to get to Young's jungle compound.  Young's people kill two of the top agents and kidnap another, the sexy Sophie.  Instead of killing Sophie, Young wants to slap her around a bit (see photo below) and subject her to Chinese water torture.  
One of the dead agents is immediately converted into a robot (see photo below).  The robo-agent (actually not a vampire) then pursues the Young organization in order to free the helpless and vulnerable Sophie.  The agency also hires a band of mercenaries to free Sophie from Young's tortuous clutches.  Young dispatches his henchmen, who all run into gunfire, and the super-gorilla-vampire and his bride...the ghost, to fend off and destroy Robo Vampire. This all sets up an exciting jungle-combat conclusion with lots of gunfights and explosions, not to mention world-class martial arts.
Will Robo Vampire and the mercenaries be able to rescue Sophie before Young has his way with her?  Will our newlyweds (the ghost and the gorilla-vampire) break away from Young and join the forces of good?  This film is tons of fun and very violent.  If you liked those badly dubbed kung-fu movies that used to play on Saturday mornings, "Robo Vampire" is the film for you.

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