A Complete Illustrated History
of Robots in the Movies
|Film/Year, Name of Robot and Film Description|
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991)
"Evil" Bill and Ted Robot Doppelgangers
In this sequel, future tyrant Joss Ackland (Chuck De Nomolos) from the 27th century created "evil robots" that were android doubles (robot doppelgangers) of two heavy-metal rockers:
The two were sent back to the year 1991 in San Dimas, CA in order to murder and replace the Wyld Stallyns band members. T
The two robots were successful, sending Bill and Ted into the afterlife where they had to defeat the Grim Reaper (William Sadler), outwit the Devil ("the Dude Downstairs"), challenge Death (with games like Battleship, Twister, and Clue), talk to God, and defeat their evil counterparts with "good" robots created by a pair of hairy, oval-shaped Martians.
Eve of Destruction (1991) (aka Terminator Woman)
Scientist Dr. Eve Simmons (Dutch actress Renée Soutendijk in her first US film) created a state-of-the-art, super-strong, sexy android robot in her own image. It was named Eve Vickers or Eve VIII (also Soutendijk), designed originally as an anti-terrorist and military surveillance mechanism by the government.
But the robot went on a killing rampage when damaged during a failed bank robbery test. Eve VIII actually had a thermonuclear warhead inside of her, threatening to destroy many blocks in the city of Manhattan within only twenty-four hours if not disarmed, by a group led by Jim McQuade (Gregory Hines) accompanied by Dr. Eve Simmons.
With various neuroses derived from her creator, she would often say: "I'm very sensitive" or become super-violent when called a "bitch."
The Guyver (1991) (aka Mutronics: The Movie)
The film's story was derived from a Japanese manga series, taking the tagline: "Part human. Part alien. Pure superpower."
Its title referred to an alien artifact or device (a top-secret weapon from the Chronos Corporation) that was absorbed into the skin of college student Sean Baker/The Guyver (Jack Armstrong). This occurred when he put the control medallion of the guyver on his head, causing him to 'grow' a costume or suit of malleable, bio-mechanical metal armor that had incredible strength, giving him superhuman fighting skills and making him invulnerable to damage.
When unactivated, the metal retracted to a place behind his neck.
The film was followed by the sequel Guyver: Dark Hero (1994).
Terminator Model T-800
In this second film in the series set 11 years after the first film, it opened with the 1997 nuclear holocaust event. Then the time frame shifted to the year 2029, in Los Angeles, where a silvery, skeletal, humanoid machine held a massive battle rifle - it scanned the black horizon of the war-torn terrain, revealing its red, glowing eyes. A battle was in progress between human guerrilla troops fighting against the stalking robots (terminators), tanks, flying HK's and death-hungry machines.
When the film returned to the pre-holocaust year 1995, two cyborg terminators were sent from future Earth back in time:
The sleek, more modern android was composed of poly-mimetic metal, meaning it could take on the shape, color, and texture of anything it touched (such as a porcelain-tiled floor), and could also mimic human behavior, such as imitating the voices of its victims. It could transform its hands into jaw-like blades to impale victims, and completely absorb shotgun blasts to its midsection or head - thereby self-healing after being damaged.
It was sent back in time by Skynet (a 21st century computer warring against the human race and causing a nuclear holocaust) to destroy the young, 10 year-old future leader of the human resistance, John Connor (Edward Furlong).
At the end of this film, both Terminators were destroyed in a vat of molten steel, although the T-800's demise was a self-sacrificial death.
Robotic skeletal machines
Bishop, and Bishop II
After his demise by being ripped in two by the Alien Queen at the end of Aliens (1986), an irretrievably-damaged synthetic humanoid Bishop 341-B (Lance Henriksen) briefly appeared in this second sequel, after its E.E.V. escape pod was ejected from the USS Sulaco and crash-landed on the bleak and windy planet of Fiorina or "Fury" 161 (a Weyland-Yutani outer-veil mineral ore refinery - and a maximum security correctional facility).
Sole-surviving Lt. Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) confirmed from the reactivated droid, who accessed data on the flight recorder, that a stowaway Alien had been with them on the Sulaco and on the E.E.V. ("It was with us all the way"). The humanoid then requested that Ripley disconnect him, claiming: "I could be reworked, but I'll never be top of the line again. I'd rather be nothing...Do it for me, Ripley."
However, a second Bishop, named Bishop II (also Henriksen) appeared in the film's final scene, looking exactly like the earlier android Bishop. He claimed to be human and the android's designer from the Weyland-Yutani Company: "I'm not the Bishop android. I designed it. I'm very human."
Bishop II attempted to coax Ripley to allow the extraction of the queen embryo egg-layer gestating inside of her by having her undergo surgery to extract it and then destroy it - but she didn't believe him. He confirmed her suspicions about the company's intentions when he then said: "We can learn from it. It's the chance of a lifetime. You must let me have it. It's a magnificent specimen." Bishop II's status as a human or as an android robot remained unclear in the film's theatrical release.
Director Barry Levinson's ambitious, off-beat adult fairy tale (and box-office flop) had its setting in a toy factory. It starred comic Robin Williams as whimsical, fun-loving, and inventive son Leslie Zevo (Robin Williams) of the ailing toy factory's eccentric founder Kenneth Zevo (Donald O'Connor), pitted against his fanatical career soldier uncle General Leland Zevo (Michael Gambon) who only wanted to produce war toys and military games.
By the film's end when a large-scale toy battle was conducted between the original wind-up tin toys and Leland's militaristic weapons, it was revealed that Alsatia Zevo (Joan Cusack), Leslie's kooky 'toy' sister, was a robot constructed by Kenneth to provide Leslie with a sister after the death of his mother.
Universal Soldier (1992)
UniSols, Deveraux as GR44, and Scott as GR13
The two muscle-bound stars of this early Roland Emmerich action/sci-fi film were featured as semi-android "universal soldiers" (UniSols) or elite bionic anti-terrorists:
Both were re-animated by the military (in a top-secret project) 25 years after killing each other during combat in Vietnam, to serve in a high-tech SWAT army of previously-dead soldiers.
Their memories of the combat robots were supposedly wiped clean, but they suffered flashbacks. They were also mostly pain-free, emotionless, and extraordinarily strong.
The film was followed by TV sequels and the theatrical sequel Universal Soldier: The Return (1999).
Cyborg Cop (1993)
Cyborg Assassin, also Quincy
Kickboxing cop and DEA agent Phillip Ryan (Todd Jensen), while on the remote Caribbean island of St. Keith, was taken captive during a failed drug raid against international drug cartel and drug lord Dr. Joachim Kessel (John Rhys-Davies).
Ryan was turned into an invincible, emotionless cyborg warrior/assassin and killing machine ("half-man, half-machine") with a steel arm that had sharp knife-fingers. It was part of an experiment to create an army of robots. One prototype cyborg already created was named Quincy (Rufus Swart).
There were two sequels: Cyborg Cop II (1994), and Cyborg Cop III (1995).
Robot Wars (1993)
Mega-Robot 1 and 2 (Mega-1 and MRSA-2)
Set in the bleak post-apocalyptic year of 2041, a scorpion-like, large-scale Mega-Robot 2 patrolled the nation's borders against ill-defined evil rivals called the Centros.
The giant robots were piloted, like in Robot Jox (1990), by human jockies, and were capable of carrying tourists/passengers around the perimeter.
In the climax of this tale, a renegade 'Megarobot' 2 pilot named Drake (Don Michael Paul) defeated the giant MR2 robot that was taken over by one of the leaders of the Eastern Alliance, evil revolutionary Wa-Lee (Danny Kamekona). Drake used an earlier, resurrected "good-guy" MR1 model to save the planet.
Damon Wayans starred in director Mike Binder's superhero comedy Blankman (1994), (a parody of Batman) with its title character boasting in the tagline: "Coming to Save Your Butt!"
Nerdy appliance repair-man Darryl Walker (Wayans) created a new persona with weapons and gadgets, calling himself Blankman (his original idea was Brotherman). He also constructed a robotic assistant named J-5, with a short life span when its bomb disposal mode was activated and it was blown up.
J-5 was made out of an antique Westinghouse washing machine (with roller) on two wheels, decked out with a cap, lights for its eyes and blue hair.
Star Trek (The Next Generation or TNG) films (1994-2002):
Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) was one of a number of androids (the others were Lore - Data's younger brother, and Data's childlike older brother B-4) created by human cyberneticist Dr. Noonien Soong (also Spiner).
The sentient artificial life-form was a heroic character in all four of the Star Trek TNG films from 1994 to 2002.
Data was a science officer onboard the starships USS Enterprise-NCC-1701-D and E who was created in the year 2335. He was a yellow-eyed, golden (or albino) skin-toned, hyper-intelligent, super-strong android with a "positronic" brain, a prodigious memory and super-human vision, who wished to emulate and experience human emotions (eventually fulfilled with an 'emotion chip' that was implanted into him in Star Trek: Generations (1994)).
In the fourth Star Trek film in which he appeared, he died in the year 2379, sacrificing his own life for the 800 crew members onboard the starship USS Enterprise.
Death Machine (1995, UK)
'Warbeast' Death Machine
In this low-budget, cyber-punkish, violent, sci-fi action film set in futuristic 2003, a rogue weapons research lab of Chaank Armaments Corporation (with the slogan: "Hard Tech for a Hard World") was run by psychotic, stringy-haired mad scientist and weapons designer Jack Dante (Brad Dourif). It was threatened with closure following protests over its malfunctioning cyborg soldiers (Robocop-like super-warriors - ex-soldiers with erased minds, developed in the covert "HardMan Project").
The new CEO Hayden Cale (Ely Pouget) met with the board of Chaank and argued for full disclosure of their research. She entered Dante's ultra-secure Vault 10 of the lab with a stolen security card, and removed Dante's security and computer clearances, causing disgruntled Dante to retaliate by releasing his ultimate weapon, the Death Machine (a "front-line morale destroyer").
It was an 8 foot tall, non-humanoid killer robot named the 'Warbeast.' The carbon-steel robot (with high-speed razor-sharp claws/talons and jagged chomping jaws with teeth, similar to a T-Rex) pursued tough heroine Cale and leftist eco-terrorist Sam Raimi (John Sharian) and others through the high-rise corporate building in the tense climax.
This popular Sci-Fi Channel action/sci-fi film's tagline: "It was supposed to be a game" referred to the film's plot about a robot named Evolver that existed in a virtual reality videogame (similar to laser tag) made by the Cyber-Tronix Corporation.
Teenaged hacker and videogame whiz-kid expert Kyle Baxter (Ethan Embry) won an Evolver videogame contest (that he rigged), and a real-life prototypical version of the robot he had defeated was delivered to his house.
Evolver (voice of William H. Macy) was an Atomic Robot with a built in Laser Tag-BB-paintball combo gun, smoke machine, and electrified claws.
Kyle was unaware that it was programmed with Defense Department military software programs (S.W.O.R.D. or "Strategic War-Oriented Robotic Device"). The competitive Evolver soon became a deadly killing force as it evolved to 'win' and 'play for keeps.'
Robots in Film
(chronological, by film title)
Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12