Sunday, May 7, 2023

Robotropolis, Machine Apocalypse on the TV News

Our technology develops a mind of its own and rebels.  Not an original theme, nor a new one.  Remember the HAL 9000?  Well, that computer was minor league compared to the robots in our film today.  Throw in an Elon Musk figure, and a remote island in the South China Sea...a great looking TV news crew...and a lot of carnage.  Limbs will be severed...heads crushed...innards ripped get the picture.  Today we look at 2011's "Robotropolis," directed by Christopher Halton.

On an island in the Pacific, an oil company has created a "company town."  Even better, the island is serviced by humanoid robots,  The things serve as cops, EMTs, oil rig workers, crossing guards...thousands of them.  These things are the creations of Elon Musk-esque Gordon Standish (Lani John Tupu). A TV news program arrives to do a story on this.  Seems the robots are loved and function perfectly.  When info-babe Christiane (Zoe Naylor) interviews peeps, everyone is happy.  During one broadcast, live, she exalts the wonderfulness of the robots...but in the background a robot blows away a soccer player.  Oops.  Now war starts.  Christiane and her crew are on the run.  Her camerawoman, Sky (Tonya Cornelisse) is also blown away.  Now Christiane, her sidekick Danny (Graham Sibley), and producer and lover Jason (Edward Foy) are on the run.

The robots massacre everyone.  Some of this may be hard to watch as even a kiddie birthday party is sliced up and dissected by the fiends.  The oil platforms are all in flames and the robots march through the city and murder everyone they find.  Christiane and crew try to stay on the air to report on it but their crew is shrinking.  Gordon, now facing bankruptcy as the massacre is on live TV, desperately tries to find a way to turn thousands of these now killing machines off.  As thousands lay in pieces in the streets, the killer 'bots hunt Christiane, Danny, and Jason.

Will info-babe Christiane, if she survives, be cast as the lead host in a reboot of Entertainment Tonight?  Will either Danny or Jason survive to have pre-marital sex with Christiane?  Will one of the robots look to Christiane with some other intention rather than murder her?  Dark, grim, and big on commentary about our reliance on technology, "Robotropolis" is a bloody fable we can all learn from.  

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