80’s robot is a promising movie theme to begin this column. Basically any movie with this combination could fit in the Best-Worst category but I’ve managed to narrow it down to the three most satisfying.
Rocky 4 (1985)
Directed Sylvester Stallone.
Like the Godfather trilogy, the Rocky series seems to have poor connotations with anything made after the sequel. Upon revision, Rocky 4 does hold some merit and somehow was the highest grossing Rocky. Stallone’s Orson Welles-like efforts in addition to one of the most unintentionally hilarious 80’s-robot characters in any movie makes Rocky 4 a true gem. In this part of the series Rocky blames himself for his friend Apollo Creed’s death and heads to the Soviet Union to settle it the only way he knows how: in the ring. Rocky is set to fight killing machine Ivan Drago, a killing machine with priceless cold-blooded one-liners. Apart from Drago, Rocky’s innocent, profound mumblings, Adrian’s discouraging rants and an epic training session on the snowy Russian planes, the only comparatively amazing thing in this movie is the robot Rocky purchases as a birthday present for Pauly and leaves to baby-sit Rocky Jr while overseas in a fight scheduled for Christmas day. About ¾ of the movie feels like an 80’s montage, making Rocky 4 not just the best 80’s-robot movie, but in my opinion, the best Rocky.
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
The time is the future. The place, is crime-ridden Detroit and cop Alex Murphy has been brutally killed by a street gang. Luckily, they have the technology to rebuild him as part man, part robot and he sets off to fight crime and stop super villains. True as the tagline “Part man. Part machine. All cop” and somehow nominated for two Academy Awards, Robocop is basically an 80’s million dollar man and worth every penny.
Short Circuit (1986)
Directed by John Badham.
What happens when an experimental military robot is struck by lightening? He gains consciousness and self awareness of course! Johnny Five sets off on a journey to avoid being recaptured and convince his creator he is truly alive and plead his new found life. Despite Johnny being a little obnoxious, the film is interesting enough in concept and hilarious enough in retrospect. Kind of like is E.T. and A.I. merged into one hilariously bad film.
The Best Worst Movies: The cheesy, the awkward and the ridiculous. A column for film lovers who get more enjoyment from cinematic failure than average, decent or excellent movies. Complete dedication and appreciation to movies so bad they are good.
– Melanie Kozlan