BadAssGeek here. The rock and roll fable holds a small but well-loved place in film. The 70s brought us movies like Tommy and Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park. The 80s and 90s brought us films like Pink Floyd The Wall and the bombastic costumed carnage of Gwar. Seriously, if you’ve never seen Gwar quit reading now and look em up. I’ll be here when you get back.
Now we have a new entrant into the rock movie pantheon. Ladies and gentlemen I present to you The Killer Robots: Crash and Burn starring, you guessed it, The Killer Robots, a theatrical rock band based out of Orlando. This kinda movie is critic proof, as well it should be. If you are watching this film with a highly critical eye you are missing the whole point. This film is a true labor of love made by people having a lot of fun and wanting you to join the party.
That’s not to say the quality of this movie should be overlooked because there is a lot of quality to be found here. Directed by Sam Gaffin, this movie has an infectious good humor that should make you smile.
Our story starts with our four android heroes – Auto, Max, Strobo and Trog – played by the band members themselves, fighting and being destoyed in a mechanized all-robot gladiator arena. The guys are subsequently revived and sent on a mission by what amounts to cyber-God to stop cyber-Satan from unleashing a virus which could destroy their cyber world. I think. Honestly, the plot doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the really cool visual style that Gaffin, who also did visual effects, brings to the table. This thing brought to mind all kinds of retro goodness. Take The Wall, Monty Python, Heavy Metal: The Movie and The Ice Pirates, throw in some 1980s Flash Gordon and a touch of Japanese anime, smother it with geek love and bake for too long at too high a temperature, and you get the picture. The costume design is inventive, mostly created by recycled water bottles and discarded toys, and the computer generated early 80s post-apocalyptic setting is spot-on. The performances by our four leads is reliable and funny with the band members giving these big lugs individuality and likability as they battle one mechanized weirdo after another.
Are there things I could criticize? Sure. Is it too long? Oh hell yeah. At over an hour and forty minutes, it’s like they are daring you to finish. I’m sure this would have worked much better as an extended short. Could it have used a stronger narrative? OK. But you know what? It just doesn’t matter. This movie had one goal in mind: to be fun and cause smiling. Mission accomplished.