Robot Wars (film)
|Directed by||Albert Band|
|Written by||Charles Band (story)|
|Starring||Don Michael Paul|
|Music by||David Arkenstone|
|Distributed by||Paramount Home Video|
Shout! Factory (2011 DVD)
Robot Wars is a 1993 American cyberpunk film directed by Albert Band and written by Charles Band and Jackson Barr. It tells the story of a hotshot mech pilot in a post-apocalyptic 2041 who must stop mech hijackers from provoking global war.
By 2041, North America has been ravaged by "the great toxic gas scare of 1993": large swaths of land have been turned into inhospitable desert, where bands of raiders called "Centros" attack transports. The former United States have been assimilated into a Western bloc called the North Hemi. The opposing Eastern bloc is known as the Eastern Alliance, and the North Hemi is planning to salvage its economy by manufacturing defense robots called "mini-megs" for the Eastern Alliance. These robots would be smaller offshoots of giant "mega-robots", once ubiquitous in warfare but now reduced to a single specimen, the MRAS-2 (which looks like a mechanized scorpion).
MRAS-2 conducts tours for civilians, and carries laser assault weapons to defend itself. It is operated by Drake (Don Michael Paul) and his copilot Stumpy (James Staley). During a transport run, Drake's mech is ambushed by Centros. Drake opts for a defensive strategy, but his boss Rooney orders him to attack so he can show off the robot to general Wa-Lee (Danny Kamekona), a visiting dignitary from the Eastern Alliance sent to negotiate the purchase of the mini-megs. The violent rocking motions of the mech during the battle cause an archaeologist passenger, Leda (Barbara Crampton), to drop and break her valuable specimens. When Drake brings the robot to port, Leda angrily confronts him about the specimens, but he dismisses her with flirtatious remarks.
Drake is summoned to Rooney's office, and shows him a recovered Centro weapon which appears to be of Eastern alliance origin. Drake deduces that the Eastern alliance is conspiring with the Centros, but Rooney disbelieves him. Drake pressures Rooney to stop the MRAS-2 tours to avoid risking more lives, and when his boss refuses, Drake vows to quit piloting the robot. Meanwhile, Leda has met with her journalist friend Anne, and exposes some suspicious activity going on in Crystal Vista, a perfectly preserved 20th-century town that survived the toxic gas scare: the town is built on a layer of 21st-century materials which are impenetrable to satellite imaging, and she has found components similar to those of the old MEGA-1 robot, which was supposedly dismantled.
Later, Wa-Lee holds a traditional fighting ceremony and invites Drake, who apparently has long-standing animosity against him, to fight. Drake accepts, and knocks Wa-Lee down before the battle begins proper, cementing the tension between them. Drake then makes good on his promise to Rooney and gives up pilot duty to volunteer for a special op against the Centros; there he recovers more Eastern-manufactured equipment. Despite Drake's insistence that the MRAS-2 is under threat from Centros, Rooney allows the tour to proceed, and even has Wa-Lee taught how to pilot the robot as a courtesy. At a bar later on, Stumpy tells Drake that his grandfather was part of an effort to hide MEGA-1. Meanwhile, Leda and Anne have ridden the MRAS-2 to Crystal Vista. There, they go underground through the basement of a schoolhouse, and find the micron transponders of the MEGA-1. Anne returns to catch the MRAS-2 return trip, while Leda stays behind to continue the investigation.
Suddenly, Centros appear and chase Leda. She escapes for a while, and the rest of the Centros head for the Crystal Vista robot port. There, they join Wa-Lee's officers in a mutiny and kill the North Hemi security, proving Drake right about the Eastern alliance's duplicity. Wa-Lee hijacks the MRAS-2, taking the passengers hostage, and begins destroying strategic targets. Rooney pleads with Drake and Stumpy to retake the robot, and they agree upon learning that the Centros have captured Leda. The general heads for Crystal Vista to kill Drake, who has freed Leda, found the MEGA-1 intact, reactivated it and is now piloting it.
The two robots meet in the desert and begin fighting. Drake removes the MRAS-2's cabin, saving the passengers, and eventually manages to subdue the general. The film ends happily as he and Leda admit their attraction to each other.
- Don Michael Paul as Drake
- Barbara Crampton as Leda
- James Staley as Stumpy
- Lisa Rinna as Annie
- Danny Kamekona as Wa-Lee
- Yuji Okumoto as Chou-Sing
- J. Downing as Lt. Plunkett
- Peter Haskell as Rooney
- Sam Scarber as Lt. Pritchard
- Steve Eastin as Boles
- Burke Byrnes as Technician
Robot Wars was originally released on VHS by Paramount Home Video. It made its DVD debut in the 2007 box set Full Moon Classics: Volume Two. The film was also featured in the limited edition box set Full Moon Features: The Archive Collection, a 20th anniversary collection which featured 18 of Full Moon's most popular films. The film was released on DVD again by Shout! Factory on June 14, 2011, as a double feature DVD with Crash and Burn. The film was released on Blu-ray by Full Moon Features on December 15, 2017.  
- "Overview for Robot Wars (1993)". Turner Classic Movies. Time Warner. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- "Robot Wars Blu-ray". FullMoonDirect.
- "Albert Band's 'Robot Wars' is Coming to Blu-ray! - Bloody Disgusting". bloody-disgusting.com.