International Horror Review: Robo Vampire 2: Devil’s Dynamite (dir by Godfrey Ho)


There are some films that just defy description.

Sometimes, as with the films of David Lynch, it’s because the films themselves are so surreal and visually stunning that there’s no way to actually describe them.  They have to be experienced.  The same can be said of films that are so experimental and unique that they simply have to be watched.  For instance, if I told you that Derek Jarman’s final film Blue, was 70 minutes of people talking over a blue screen, you’d probably think it was pretty boring.  But if you’ve actually seen the film, you know that the opposite is true.

And then there are films that are impossible to describe because they don’t make any damn sense.  These are films where the storyline is so nonsensical and the direction is so random and the editing is so ragged that it is essentially impossible to understand what’s going on from one scene to the next.  That brings us to 1987’s Robo Vampire 2: Devil’s Dynamite.

And really, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Robo Vampire 2 is impossible to follow.  It was directed by Godfrey Ho, the Hong Kong director who built a career out of his ability to build a brand new film out of stock footage and unused takes from other movies.  If Robo Vampire 2 feels like it’s a dozen different films rolled into one, that’s probably because it actually is a dozen different films rolled into one.

As you can tell from the title (one of the many titles that the film was released under), this film was sold in a few territories as being a sequel to Robo VampireRobo Vampire 2: Devil’s Dynamite does feature a cop who wears a uniform that makes him look like a knock-off Robocop and it does feature vampires but otherwise, it has little in common with the first Robo Vampire.  (Indeed the cop is actually referred to as being the Shadow Warrior, instead of a cyborg as was the hero of Robo Vampire.Robo Vampire 2 deals with the plans of Madame Mary (Angela Mao), who is concerned that her criminal empire will be taken down by a combination of the cops and a rival gangster named Steve (Tsung Hua).  Madame Mary employs a monk who creates an army of vampires.  When the vampires go on a rampage, killing cops and threatening random children, Alex (Lin Yun) turns into Shadow Warrior and fights them off.

Interestingly, no one is surprised to see the Shadow Warrior, so I guess he’s a pretty well-known figure.  But it’s never really clear whether everyone also knows that Alex is the Shadow Warrior nor is it ever that clear just how exactly Alex became the Shadow Warrior in the first place.  (The film’s title would seem to suggest that Alex is the meant to be the same hero from the first Robo Vampire but the hero from the first Robo Vampire was a cyborg whereas Alex is not.)  Even more surprisingly, no one is shocked by the sudden appearance of the vampires so I guess vampire attacks are a common thing in the world of Robo Vampire 2.  Why would Hong Kong’s biggest crime lord need to create any army of vampires in the first place?  The film never quite says.

That said, there are a few entertaining fights.  Even better, the vampires hop from place to place and they usually have their arms extended in front of them, like kids pretending to be zombies.  That’s actually kind of fun to watch.  If you’re going to unleash any army of vampires on a town, at least make sure they hop.

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