AKA Robot Jox 2 : Crash and Burn
Director: Charles Band
Starring: Paul Ganus, Megal Warn, Jack McGee, Eva LaRue, Bill Moseley .USA. 1h 25m
Originally being a concept for the follow up to Robojox, a much harder end of the world scenario is placed in Band’s post apocalyptic sci fi thriller. Crash and burn does recycle some aspects from Robojox, most noeably the stop motion aniated robots themselvees but it slaps a can of terminator and max mad on to it’s murder mystery plot.
The film is set several years after a global economic collapse, and after Covid it’s easier to imagine than it was in 1990. All of fears of the future from the classic writers are dropped throughout the film, global warming, nuclear poisoning and corporation control all raise their ugly heads and Crash and Burns gives us a glimpse of what it might be like to try and live with all these oppressions but there is hope, a group of freedom fighters attempt to jam TV signals and promote messages for people to rise up against the corporations. The world is pretty dismal, it’s hot, sueper desert hot all the time, there are frequent power cuts and water is hard to find and when you drink it is probably recycled only hours before. Kids learn via some kind of interactive TV and have no connection with each other. it’s life but not a happy one.
Everything is property of Unicom in this dismal future, and when a lonely Unicom delivery driver gets stranded at a Unicom TV Station when a storm hits he’s forced to fight for his life when someone or something begins to violently kill the staff.
The driver, Tyson Keen (Ganus) is incredibly resourceful and teams up with the teen hacker and TV stations all rounder Arren (Megan Ward) the pair make more of a big brother duo more than romantic but the sexual tension is all laid on Winston (Jack McGee) a husky sweaty self proclaimed playboy who, in his crowning glory moment is seen fishing water out the toilet for a drink with a festering hand, laidies line up! What is extraordinary is is that Daddy Walton, Ralph Waite is the guy leading the TV station, and his class of acting really sets the bar.
The undertones of the movie are very Orwellian but with an android on the loose picking off the locals it’s very Terminator too, Crash and Burns melds together all the future ideas we really don’t want but as history has proven to us, we just seem to run our asses into the apocalypse so buckle up and get your Unicom corporate uniform on.
Charles Band paces his movie very carefully, allowing the temperatures to store and pushing the characters to ten of their theirs before unleashing the pain. Everyone is fed up, hot, exhausted and then finally trapped inside an industrial bunker with a sneaky killer machine with no mercy! the film would make a perfect duo with Richard Stanley’s Hardware.
A some point the dream team have to engage and illegally operate one of the redudnant robojox machines and it’s brilliant seeing this relic of the past ressureced on a commondor 64 styled computer, but this hardcore old tech sci fi is really intreguing, when the advanced machines are switched off at least we’ll have our PS1’s to fall back on. Charles Band does his very best with a limited amount of special effects and while I have no issues with what is presented, gashed hands, parted skulls etc it’s skillful but could more gore have made it better?
for the 90’s era there was a push towards trying to be a full on Mad Max 2 (1981) apocalypse movie or the alternative was to chuck your cast on a spaceship,what’s refreshing is the Silent Runnings (1972) down to earth eco approach, look at the shitty future you’re forging for your children and look at how you’ll be treated if you let the big corps win.. in the meantime we recall when a robot starts slaughtering school teachers but we’ll praise Bezos for popping into space only to return back to earth and cruise on his megayacht.. it won’t be long before we’re changing Go Unicom Go!
Related: Robot Jox (1989), Hardware (1990), Mad Max 2(1981), Assassin (197?) Lists: Global Warming Cinema
Spotlight: Bill Moseley