Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 8th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1987 (Devil’s Dynamite), 1988 (Robo Vampire)
Director: Joe Livingstone
Cast: Angela Mao, Richard Phillips, Walter Bond, Mick Stuart (Devil’s Dynamite), Robin Mackay, Nian Watts, Alan Drury (Robo Vampire)
DVD Released: April 25th, 2006
Approximate Running Time: 90 minutes (Devil’s Dynamite), 90 minutes (Robo Vampire)
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame (Devil’s Dynamite), Letterboxed Widescreen (Robo Vampire)
Sound: Dolby Digital Sorround
DVD Release: Deimos/BCI Eclipse
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98
Robo Vampire: Tom is an anti drug agent who is given a second chance as a robot after he is murdered during an undercover mission. His first mission as a robot is to rescue Suzie a co-worker of his who is being held by an diabolical drug overlord Mr. Yeung in his impenetrable golden triangle. Saving Suzie will not be easy since Mr. Yeung has trained vampires to protect him from any outside interruptions.
Writing a plot summary for Robo Vampire is not an easy task as the film lacks any cohesive plot and it tries to mix too many genres into one melting pot. Robo Vampire was directed by hack director Joe Livingstone who style as a filmmaker most resembles Ed Wood. The acting is atrocious and the English dub only adds more in the way of comedy instead of helping make sense of what is going on.
This film is not all bad in fact it is endless parade of marital arts and action sequences that make for this film’s only enjoyable moments. The action is full of fire power as the body counts rise as we approach a grand finale that one know will ever forget for some time. The special effects are all over the place as they look anything from pretty good to god awful. The concept of a Robot like cop verse vampires should have been more entertaining and the end result is a film that is best watched as if you were watching Mystery Science Theatre.
Devil’s Dynamite: After spending ten years in prison Steven Cox has recently been released and his former colleagues will do anything to find out where he stashed his fortune. His former mistress now rules the underworld and she plays the various fractions against each other to maintain her power. One of the locale drug lords has hired vampires to protect him and keep his drug smuggling business thriving. The vampires pop up around town as they along with various other thugs try to knock off Steven Cox and fid the whereabouts to his gold. There is a stranger in town that dresses up like a space age super hero who aligns himself with Steven Cox as they take on together the corrupt underworld.
First things first Devil’s Dynamite is not a sequel to Robo Vampire which came out a year later. There is no half human/half robot crime fighter in Devil’s Dynamite and in fact the closest thing to a robot would be a man in astronaut looking suit who shows up helps those in need.
The story is stronger and more engaging then Robo Vampire. The acting is solid with the main characters especially the Steven Cox character. The marital arts action is high flying and first rate in its execution. The vampires and their purpose in never fully realized as they just seem to appear form time to time. The direction in this film is superior to that of Robo Vampire which was also directed by Joe Livingstone and one has to wonder what happened to him after this film. Overall Devil’s Dynamite is not a film without faults and if you go into this one without any great expectations you just might enjoy this bizarre oddity.
Fans of films that are so bad they are almost good and just awful cinema in general will want to check out these two films ASAP.
Robo Vampire is presented in a letterboxed format that frames the image on the top 1/3 section of the screen instead of centering the image. The action remains in frame with no noticeable cropping. The image is soft and colors are adequate. The source used is pretty clean with only a few minor instances of print damage.
Devil’s Dynamite is presented in a full frame aspect ratio and while this is most likely not the films original aspect ratio the action outside of a couple instances remains in frame. Colors looks washed out/muted and the image lacks detail. The source used is pretty clean with only a few minor instances of print damage.
Both films come with only one audio option an English dubbed audio language track which is presented for this release in a Dolby Digital stereo. Robo Vampire fares better of the two films’ as it is free of any hiss or distortion and dialog is crisp and easy to follow. Devil’s Dynamite suffers from muffled audio which forces the viewer to adjust the volume form time to time.
Each film comes on their own single layer DVD and they are in a keep case that comes with an outer sleeve that slips over the main box. The box art for this outer sleeve is exactly the Same art used for the main box.
Deimos pares together two whacked out films by schlock filmmaker Joe Livingstone and even thought the films are pretty bad at least they are available at a more then affordable price.