Part homage to fifties robot movies, part softcore erotic film and one hundred percent campy adventure flick; Jamie Luk Kin-ming’s Robotrix (1991) is one of a kind, even by Hong Kong standards. There’s a real David DeCoteau/Stewart Raffill vibe to the film that helps to balance the comical scenes of robotic antics with the sequences of a more disturbing nature. Robotrix isn’t a film for the faint of heart, but if you can stomach it, you’ll probably be able to find plenty else to enjoy.
The plot of Robotrix revolves around the process of transferring a dead person’s mind into a robot, granting them a second life as a kind of super human cyborg. The first scientist to do this in the film is, of course, the villain. The good guys, who are predominantly female, are quick to follow suit, transferring a fallen police woman’s mind into a robot.
The highlight of the movie is the serious butt kickings that Dr. Sara (Hui Hsiao-dan) and her two robot warriors Ann (porn star Amy Yip) and super police woman Selena (Chikako Aoyama) unleash on the murderous, rapist robot Ryuichi Sakamoto (Billy Chow). Along the way there’s lots of silly slapstick humor where Dr. Sara, Ann, and Selena get the better of the male members of the Hong Kong police force.
There’s a serious commentary underpinning the narrative of Robotrix that suggests the process by which women are commodified by capitalist society. However Jamie Luk Kin-ming forgoes that discourse favoring the sexploitation spectacle at hand. This isn’t surprising given the motivations behind the making of Robotrix (money), but in many respects the suggestion of this political theme is enough to render the film more compelling than its cheesecake visuals.