Robot Bastard! (2001)

Nothing pisses me off more than discovering a movie I find to be one of the most unique and original creation in years to discover that it’s actually pretty old and quite well known. Not only do I feel more out of the loop than ever, at that moment, but I also kick myself for not looking into independent short flicks better. Life dictates my internet usage, I’ve accepted it. Thanks to a happy accident, I discovered “Robot Bastard!” for the first time and couldn’t believe my eyes. Here was a movie that was so weird, and so unusual, and yet so funny, and so damn cool.

This could be a series, this could be a movie, hell this could be a series of movies, and I want it! Rob Schrab, creator of one of the most critically acclaimed comic series of all time, “Scud,” brings us another oeuvre that is beyond anything you’ll usually see an independent director make, and yet really hearkens back to his comic creation. Robot is a storable almost defunct mechanical creation who is brought out of hibernation and called into duty every so often. This time he’s been called by his commander to retrieve the kidnapped daughter of a Senator, and relies on his skills with the handheld weapon to get through a horde of menacing soldiers. Schrab’s film has such a great visual style somewhere between fifties chic, and C Grade science fiction, and he takes the small budget and uses it as an advantage, creating a hell of an appealing world for the viewer. Robot is a hilarious variation on Dirty Harry who is old and tired, and yet can’t help but enjoy the job he’s called in to do.

Like every hero epic, Robot has the damsel in distress to contend with and he savors every moment to challenge an impossible foe with special guns at his disposal. Robot Bastard looks like a kid’s fifties tinker toy, and shoots like a John Woo character, and though obviously low-tech in appearance, he is one damn cool superhero to watch. He’s unorthodox and incredibly far from obvious in design, but Schrab turns a cliche of a robot design into a potentially well known anti-hero for the underground. Robot’s battles with foot soldiers in an attempt to confront the mysterious Blood Mama is mainly built around the formula of point, shoot, and spouting one-liners. Schrab really doesn’t have many resources at his disposal in the short time frame, but there’s not much of a story to tell.

“Robot Bastard!” is mainly a shoot ’em up actioner that will help the science fiction fan boys and fan girls foam at the mouth and revel in the wry dialogue and great performances from Kurt Scholler who is great as the gruff and easily irritable Robot as well as Robia Lamarte (who you may remember as the late Ms. Calendar on “Buffy”) is a great villain and successfully sells this utterly zany science fiction short with her sexiness and ability to stand out as a great first nemesis. Watching “Robot Bastard!” twice, I really want something from this. Hell, a series, an animated show, a comic book, whatever it is, I want it and I want more of Robot’s universe. I’d love to be the one person who discovers this and spreads the good word, but I’ll settle for being one of the many in the last six years to happen upon and fall in love with Rob Schrab’s excellent science fiction short film. I want more of Robot.