Saturday, May 2, 2015

Robot Revolution (live action movie), on DVD

Robot Revolution is a sci-fi movie. I spotted it at Walmart and ignored it for a few weeks before I finally broke down and bought it. This was a bad decision.

The DVD box art looks decent, but don't be fooled: that is not what this movie is about. The only visible robots in the movie are the cleaning bot and Argus. Heck, that android isn't even Argus – in the movie, Argus's design makes him look a bit like he's wearing a WWII era gas mask.

Review:

Hawkins, a police officer, and her android partner, Argus, enter an apartment building looking for a woman named Vic who may be involved with a terrorist group. First, though, they have to scan and talk to every single person they encounter along the way. When they finally make it to Vic's apartment, they only have a short while to speak to her before her terrorist clients arrive. After that, the situation pretty much falls apart.

The thing Vic was working on was a nanovirus intended to infect and take over machines. This includes the chips that are implanted inside every person over the age of 18. When a shootout between Hawkins and the terrorists happens, the nanovirus is let loose. Hawkins, Vic, Argus, and several others find themselves having to battle nanovirus-produced zombies and an infected floor cleaning robot (which inexplicably has a laser cannon) in order to get out of the building.

When I bought this, I was expecting a low budget action flick with lots of robots. What I got was a boring zombie movie with often terrible sound quality and very little action. The only pluses: Hawkins looked cool (although I kept thinking of her as more an excellent cosplayer than as a kick butt cop), the special effects for the floor cleaning bot were better than I expected (although it was barely in the movie), and a few of the actors were decent. My favorites were probably Virginia Logan as Hawkins and Mary Murphy as Vic.

The trip up to Vic's apartment took almost 20 minutes and felt pointless. It was meant to introduce viewers to all the characters who were gong to be affected by the nanovirus, but it had the additional effect of making Hawkins and Argus look like they were taking their sweet time to do their job. Considering that Vic had a security setup that allowed her to watch everything going on in the halls, she should have been long gone before they finally made it to her place.

Both the visuals and the sound needed work. You can't tell from any of the screenshots on the back of the DVD box, but most of the movie was filmed from Argus's POV, meaning that there was random robot scanner stuff superimposed over almost every scene. The movie also frequently cut to some sort of static-filled screen.

The sound quality issues were particularly annoying because the movie did not include English subtitling. The background music had a tendency to overwhelm characters' voices just enough that it was difficult to understand what they were saying. Also, during the beginning of the first scene between Hawkins and Vic, Hawkins sounded just fine, while Vic's voice was muffled and tinny. When the terrorists entered the building, Vic's sound quality suddenly and noticeably improved.

The few “action” scenes were confusing and boring, consisting of noise, reaction shots, and slow motion views of people being shot in the head. The most bewildering one took place when one of the group members decided to leave and take his chances. He shot his way through a horde of nanovirus zombies, and then everything cut off as Argus shut down for some reason (Argus was a delicate flower of an android, randomly becoming “unconscious” several times throughout the movie – for a supposed police android, he was extremely unimpressive). When Argus came to, Hawkins told him that several people were killed. Then everybody moved on as though nothing had happened. Even the guy who was supposedly friends with one of the people who was killed barely seemed fazed.

The final reveals were a confusing mess. I didn't know enough about the rebel/terrorist/government/whatever group to care about them. I'm also still not sure why the modification Hawkins made to Argus helped. How was she able to plan for something she hadn't predicted would happen? I was left feeling like the filmmakers had cheated.

All in all, this was a boring and lackluster movie that didn't deliver what the title and DVD box art promised.

Extras:
  • Trailer for Robot Revolution

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