Oh, hey, Robo Vampire!
Yeah, Robo Vampire.
It gets less exciting every time you say or think it. The first time you see a title like Robo Vampire, you’re all excited but then you think about it and you realize that there’s no reason for a robot to turn into a vampire because robots don’t need blood. And the idea of a vampire becoming a robot …. I mean, how the Hell would that even work?
I watched Robo Vampire and I’m still not really sure how it all worked. This film came out in 1988 and it was directed by Godfrey Ho, who is apparently known in some circles as being the Ed Wood of Hong Kong action cinema. The film …. listen, I watched this thing and I don’t have the slightest idea what was actually happening for the majority of it. The friends with whom I watched the film explained to me that Robo Vampire was actually a compilation film, compiled of scenes that were shot for several different Godfrey Ho movies. That would explain why there was next to no continuity for scene to scene and why the plot was the most random hodgepodge of concepts that I’ve ever some across.
What little plot that there was in this mess dealt with Tom Wilde, a narcotics cop who gets blown away in the line of duty. However, Tom’s superiors decided that they can salvage him by turning him into a robot with no memories of his past. Before you can say “Wait a minute, what about Robocop?,” that’s exactly what they do. Tom is now a cyborg. For his first mission, he’s sent to the Golden Triangle to take down a drug lord who is holding another agent hostage.
So far, we’ve got a robot. But where are the vampires?
The vampires show up once the drug lord realizes that he’s going to need some help defeating a robot. So, he has his people cast come magic and soon, there’s a bunch of zombie/vampires hopping around. And when I say hopping, I mean that they literally hop around. I noticed the same thing about the zombies in Kung Fu Zombie. In the defense of that film, though, Kung Fu Zombie was kind of meant to be a comedy. Robo Vampire seems to take itself pretty seriously. (Watching the film, I thought I recognized a few shots that had apparently been lifted from Kung Fu Zombie but I haven’t been able to independently verify whether that’s really the case. Some day, when I think I can handle the punishment, I’ll sit down and watch Kung Fu Zombie and then Robo Vampire and compare the two for myself.)
Eventually, Tom gets around to launching his rescue operation. There’s a lot of shooting. There’s a lot of scenes of Robot Tom wandering around robotically. There’s a lot of hopping vampires or zombies or whatever they’re supposed to be. But, as far as I can tell, there were no robot vampires. Now, I say as far as I can tell because the film was edited so haphazardly that it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that there was like a hundred different versions of Robo Vampire floating around. Who knows what have happened in the director’s cut?
Anyway, Robo Vampire is petty much impossible to follow and the film does itself no favors by inviting you to compare it to the original Robocop. That said, the hopping vampires were kind of cute and this is truly a one of a kind movie. You should watch it just so you can say that you did.