After posting on Invasion of the Bee Girls last week I pondered for some time about the “what else is there in the soft sci-fi/hard sexploitation genre?” (Perhaps it’s a stretch to call it a genre, but to my mind anyway it deserves recognition.) And then a light bulb went on. Of course: Robotrix! Another movie that clearly has the courage of its demented convictions.

Naturally this “Category III” product of Hong Kong’s extraordinarily prolific Golden Harvest motion picture company seemed worth blogging on.

The movie runs something like this: an hyper-rich Middle Eastern potentate is hosting a international contest in Hong Kong among different robot design teams — the winner gets to design the potentate’s “robot legion.” When the American entry malfunctions and starts running amok, the potentate is rescued by a female robot created by Japanese engineer “Dr. Sara.” Congratulations all round, to Dr. Sara, her robot, and her other robot assistant “Ann,” who looks exactly like Amy Yip.

Amy Yip in Robotrix

It’s a no-brainer that Ann looks exactly like Amy Yip. Since Yip was probably the most JPEG’ed starlet in the East at the time of this movie’s release (1991), there would certainly have been an abundance of, uh, physiometric data on which to base a simulation.

All is not well in Hong Kong’s robot community, unfortunately. The potentate’s playboy son has been kidnapped by a sinister, leather-clad figure (played by Billy Chow). In the course of the kidnapping, policewoman Selena Lam (played by Chikako Aoyama) is gunned down. A videotape left at the scene reveals the connection. The kidnapper is mad roboticist Ryuichi Sakomoto. The reason he’s mad is that he’s been excluded from the competition by his government. A videotape left at the scene of the kidnapping reveals his sinister plan. Sakamoto has killed himself and uploaded his mind into the leather-clad kidnapper who, as it turns out, is one very tough and nasty robot.

Well, there’s nothing for fighting a robot like a robot, and Dr. Sara has a plan. The plan involves uploading the mind of now-dead Selena into one of Dr. Sara’ female robots. Hurrah! Mad Science Transformation scene!

transformation scene in Robotrix

Happily it isn’t just Selena’s mind that transfers over.

two female robots in Robotrix

[Bacchus intrudes in his role as photo editor: “Hey, we’re getting screwed by the wide angle shots here. Can we get a digital pan-and-zoom, please?”

amy yip as nude robot

“Ah, that’s much better.” — Ed.]

All well and good in itself, but meanwhile things are getting even worse, because robot Sakamoto turns out to be an utter psychopath, who seems to devote most of his time to raping and murdering prostitutes.

robot rape of a prostitute

The Hong Kong police assemble a team consisting of Dr. Sara, Ann, robot Selena, Selena’s clueless cop boyfriend Joe, and a group of comic-relief cops to deal with these various crises.

robot dream team

Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for at least one hot date between Joe and Selena.

robot sex

I should like to note that there is a long dinner plus and extended sex scene between Joe and Selena. Bizarrely, Joe is completely unaware at this stage of the movie the Selena is a robot (no one has bothered to tell him that the biological human Selena is dead and buried). From this I can only conclude that either:

(1) Dr. Sara’s technology is really, really good; so her robots can convincingly emulate the way a biological woman looks, acts, feels, smells, etc., or

(2) A horny-enough man will just not notice that someone has turned his girlfriend into a robot.

Ann, who’s always been a robot, asks Selena the next day about her hot date, and concludes that she might like to try sex with a human. (I’m sure hearts stopped all over Hong Kong when she uttered that line.) Meanwhile, someone on the Hong Kong police decides it might be a good idea to have Ann pretend to be a prostitute in order to lure in the killer of prostitutes.

Of course it’s a good idea.

sex with a robot prostitute

Much death, destruction, and insulting-to-physics martial arts battles later, the police finally subdue and capture Sakamoto, who is transported to Dr. Sara’s laboratory, partially disassembled, and subjected to what former Vice President Cheney and the New York Times like to call “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” to reveal the whereabouts of his kidnap victim:

torturing the head of an evil robot

The cops head off to rescue the captured prince, while Dr. Sara announces that she’s staying in her lab to “study” Sakamoto.

And here we arrive at the Lesson of the Day. If you ever happen to have a partially disassembled, psychopathic humanoid robot in your laboratory, do not store its head anywhere near its body, unless you want to get yourself into a really sticky situation.

Because it might have developed wireless.

headless robot self-repair

And then something like this can happen:

kidnapped by evil robot

Followed by bad bondage physics like this:


Followed still further by things I shall leave to the reader’s imagination, although the movie itself doesn’t. Needless to say, it’s tough on Dr. Sara:

forced sex with robot - bondage blowjob

doctor sarah in robot bondage

The cops return, There’s a big battle in which Selena is “killed” again. Then another battle which is the end of Sakamoto. Another lesson: if you are a criminal robot and a large part of your composition is ferrous metals, do not place your criminal headquarters in a junkyard where they have one of those giant magnet-on-a-crane thingies. You’re just asking to be pwned.

There’s even a happy ending of sorts, because before leaving Hong Kong Dr. Sara builds a new version of Selena with her memories and personality restored from backup, but only back to the moment of Selena’s first resurrection. The happy couple bicker comically as Dr. Sara and Ann drive off into the sunset, or at least off to the airport.

There’s enough weird stuff in this movie having to do with personal identity to keep one of Derek Parfit’s graduate seminars going for a whole semester, and in fact I think I’ll suggest the idea to him if I should run into him again. Derek might not be all that impressed by the concept, but for my money this movie would earn the price of its admission on any one of its three female leads alone.

Naturally, I welcome suggestions of any similar material in the comments.

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