By 2041 the United States was divided into two factions. The North Hemi and the Eastern Alliance. In a form of a cold war these two factions are discussing trade. The North Hemis have what they call a mega-robot to defend their territory from raiders they refer to as Centros. It is the only mega-robot left and it is fully weaponized. The scorpion shaped mega-robot‘s full name is Mega-Robotic Assault System-2 or MRAS-2. It is used to safely transport civilians to a tourist site called Crystal Vista. Crystal Vista is an old pristine town that was evacuated during the toxic gas scare of 1993. Everything in the town is exactly as it was in 1993.
To help their flagging economy the North Hemis are planning on manufacturing and selling smaller versions of MRAS-2 called mini-megs to the Eastern Alliance. The smaller robots would not be as lethal as the MRAS-2. General Wa-Lee (Danny Kamekona), from the Eastern Alliance is in negotiations with Lt Plunkett (J. Downing) for the mini-megs.
Captain Marion Drake (Don Michael Paul) is one of the MRAS-2 pilots. He and General Wa-Lee have a history that was and still is antagonistic. Leda Fanning (Barbara Crampton) is an archaeologist that believes there is something strange going on in Crystal Vista. Drake is interested in Leda and Leda pretends not to be interested in Drake. After a conflict with some Centros Drake thinks that they may be in league with the Eastern Alliance. Plunkett doesn’t believe him.
Disgusted with Plunkett, Drake decides that he wants nothing to do with piloting the MRAS-2 anymore. Instead he volunteers for an assignment investigating the Centros. He finds that the Centros have been getting arms from the Eastern Alliance. Still not believing Drake, Plunkett arranges for the General to drive the MRAS-2 on one of its trips to Crystal Vista in order to get a handle on how the mini-megs will work. Once the General knows how to work the MRAS-2 he takes the robot over.
When Drake finds out that Leda is in Crystal Vista he and his co-pilot Stumpy (James Staley) head to the tourist site to try to save her. On the way Stumpy tells him about a story his grandfather told him about how there was an effort to hide parts of a MEGA-1 robot before it was taken and salvaged. When they find Leda she tells them that she saw transponders from a MEGA-1 under the school house. Now if they can find the supposedly mythological MEGA-1 and get it to work they may have a weapon of their own.
“Robot Wars” was released in 1993 and was directed by Albert Band. It is a science fiction movie. The film is also part of a sub-genre called cyberpunk.
The science fiction sub-genre cyberpunk usually reflects a dystopian future. It usually takes place in an atmosphere where high tech gadgets and a break down in society bring about different warring factions. Quite often this breakdown of social order is the result of a post-apocalyptic event.
“Robot Wars” has gotten a lot of flak for being crappy and it kinda, sorta is, but in a good way. Yes, the dialogue is kinda stupid and the acting is sorta bad but there are some good things about the film too. The robots are cool looking and the stop motion and miniatures are pretty decent. The music score is also a plus. It’s also rather campy, although I’m not sure if that’s on purpose or not. Another point in its favor is that it’s short. At about an hour and ten minutes it moves along rather briskly. You don’t have to worry about character development or good plot devises so you can just enjoy the robots.