Sunday, December 16, 2012
Today's SAW, Chopping Mall, is also known by the title Killbots, in some regions. THE END...Wait, what? I still have to watch it? Fine. But you guys are paying at least part of my therapy bills. Oh...and "SPOILERS"!
The first scene shows a thief preparing to steal all of the treasures that Link fetched for Zelda over the past few decades. He smashes the display case to smithereens(Yay! I got to use "smithereens" in a sentence!), then grabs handfuls of jewels, and stuffs them away. He boldly walks away with a huge shit-eating grin plastered on his face, until a voice orders him to stop.
The voice belongs to a security robot, which I while now attempt to describe: Imagine Stewie Griffin's head encased in metal, KITT the talking car's red front panel as the "eyes" of the robot, and Johnny 5's body from those Short Circuit movies. That monstrosity is a Killbot, ladies and gentleman, in all of its' 1986 glory. Forget it, yer payin' for ALL of my therapy bills!
The dumbass thief shoots at the robot, but aims at the place where it would have feet. Yeah, because you wouldn't want to shoot out it's electronic eye, or its' claw-like hands. Hell, just hopping on top of it and bashing it with the butt of the gun would cause more damage than what this guy did.
The guy runs around a corner, passing a McDonald's and a nondescript "Vitamins" store. Irony, or coincidence? The robot shoots a taser into the back of the fleeing criminal, and we discover that the whole thing was a demo reel, in an attempt to try to sell the security guard robots to investors and mall owners.
An attractive blond steps up to a podium, and introduces the audience to the president of the corporation that developed the technology, and he in turn unveils 3 prototypes that will soon be "guarding" the local mall they happen to be using for the demonstration. A skeptical couple in the audience refer to the robots as Moe, Larry and Curly.
Then there are concerns among the crowd over how the security 'bots would know the difference between, say, a thief and an average schmoe who just happens to be working late. One of the robots is activated, and the corporate guy uses an ID tag to identify himself to the robot. He then assures the crowd that "absolutely nothing" would cause the robots to go against their programming. Gosh, is that a note of ironic foreshadowing in the script?
Then the title and theme music start up. The scenes in the credits montage show how "wacky" malls can get: the film being sped up, meals getting spilled, a guy tripping on an escalator when several beauties in bikinis travel in the opposite direction. Yup, those malls sure can be zany locations, huh?
Anyway, the story resumes at the imaginatively-named "Restaurant". There, we meet Alison and Suzie, 2 blond waitresses. Suzie is trying to convince Alison to go on a double-date with her that evening, but Alison isn't too sure about going.
We leave them for a short bit of nonsense involving the technician who switched on the security robot earlier. After several lightning strikes, he tries to concentrate on a newspaper crossword puzzle, and is oblivious over the number of times the lightning hits near the mall and the mall's power lines. Nice job, man...you're going to live a long, full life.
His control panel begins to smoke. He freaks out and turns around, only to realize that one of the robots "woke up", and is ready to attack. It plunges a prod through him, and he exits the movie. Farewell, generic technician guy, your work here is done...
*moment of silence*
Okay enough of that nonsense, we need to return to the movie's nonsense. As more lightning strikes try to destroy the mall and the city it was constructed within, 3 more characters are introduced: Ferdy, Greg and Mike, a trio of young fellers who work in a clothing store. They also discuss a newlywed couple who are meeting up with them and their dates for an after hours party in the mall, Rick and Linda.
Speaking of Rick and Linda, they're stranded by the side of the road, because something's wrong under the hood of their pickup truck(According to the side of the vehicle, they operate an auto repair business together...). Rick tries to fix the engine, until Linda pushes him aside, then repairs it in seconds. They kid each other about who has the best skills to do the job right, then hurry off again to meet up Suzie and the rest of the late-night revelers.
As the mall prepares to close for the night, Mike sneaks up on his girlfriend Leslie, and gives her an embrace and a kiss. She seems to like it, but her father is less than thrilled to see them together like that. Leslie lies to Dad, claiming that Mike was going to gallantly escort her to a birthday party for Suzie, but the old man still acts like a crab towards both of them. Dagnabbit! Consarnit! Flibberty-gibberty! Get off my lawn, you kids!
After a brief, unsatisfying scene in a womens' locker room, we see a guy in a lab coat walk into the security room, looking for Marty, the guy who was impaled. This is technician Nessler, and he's played by the grossly underrated Gerrit Graham(Seriously: check him out in CHUD II or the defunct television series Now and Again. He's a very gifted comedian.), who doesn't even look up as he enters the dark chamber. After eating the remnants of a doughnut that Marty had started on, Nessler sits down at the control panel to read and hang out.
That's followed by a long bit where Nessler gets paranoid, and looks around the room. This happens about 100 times in a row. Finally, Nessler is killed by one the robots, when a taser gets him in the back of the neck, and yanks his head backwards. Ouch.
The mall party goes into full swing, and Alison and Ferdy are introduced to each other. They get all gushy around each other, and find a nice, dark spot in which to....make small talk. At one point, they almost get drowned out by their friends having sex. Ferdy offers to take Alison home, and she responds by removing his glasses, and cuddling up instead.
One of the janitors, Walter, is then seen mopping up the floor before leaving for the night. A pair of his co-workers walk by, and tease him as they head for the exit. Apparently, past a certain time, the mall doors are sealed automatically, and anyone left inside would have to wait until the next morning to get out again. Gee, that seems like a crappy design, at least for anyone working late.
Walter continues his mopping, unaware of a security robot approaching him from behind. The machine spills his bucket of water, then demands to see Walt's employee badge. Walt shows it, then gets electrocuted while standing in the filthy water puddle. For a brief moment, you can even see a cartoony, silly image of Walt's skeleton as he gets zapped. After he falls down as a smoking heap, Mike and Leslie debate over smoking after sex. Heh.
They get somewhat dressed, and Mike goes looking for a pack of cigarettes. At a cigarette vending machine, he is confronted by a robot, and quickly shows it his ID. He gets tasered, then the robot approaches his body. Leslie shows up soon after to look for her boyfriend, and finds him on the floor with his throat cut.
A security 'bot chases her down the corridor, and her friends hear her frantic screams. Just as Leslie gets back to the store, the psychotic machine blows her head up with a laser beam. Yeah. A laser beam. Then BOOM. Only then do her friends realize that something might be wrong. The surviving group run away, and the robots shoot out the glass storefront to pursue them.
The robots use their lasers to blow up everything in sight: furniture, counters, lamps, televisions...it's like a Seagal film, but the robots are better actors. The teens run into the warehouse area, and then hear the security doors at the entrances slam shut for the evening. They pile as much heavy furniture as they can find in front of the door, then look for another exit.
They find an air duct, and the guys help their dates to climb up into them. Suzie gets claustrophobic, and the other girls try to encourage her to keep moving, lest the robots decide to roast them alive in the narrow space. That doesn't sound like much fun!
The guys, in the meantime, decide to get some makeshift weapons from a nearby sporting goods store. they break in, and go directly over to the handguns and rifles. We get a gun montage(MONTAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), plus they also grab a propane tank. One of them fires a couple of shoots into the air, then they wait for the attack to commence.
One measly robot shows up, but between the 3 of them, they can't seem to make even a dent in it. Ferdy rolls the fuel tank into the path of their opponent, and they aim for that instead. BOOM! goes the robot!
The women hear the ruckus, and Suzie loses her cool yet again. Didn't see THAT coming, huh? She decides to turn back, and rejoin the guys. Tired of listening to her, they all go back. One of the bots hides in a dark corner of the mall to wait everyone out, while the guys load up an elevator with gasoline and weapons.
The security bot that fell onto its' side, manages to get upright again, using its' extenders and gears to push off of the floor. As the 3 men try to rig up a trap in the elevator, the hiding sentry reveals itself to terrorize the women. Suzie continues to be loud and useless, tripping and spilling fuel all over herself. The robot sets her on fire, and they all run away again.
Alison shoots at the elevator, setting off a chain reaction where a tiny explosion occurs, the elevator plummets to the ground, and a much bigger explosion rocks them around. They find a resting spot, yell at one another, then decide to go back out and start the process over again. One of the guys is launched over a ledge, but the rest escape into a large department store. The robots try to trap them by choosing several access points.
While waiting to die, Alison proposes a new plan: Gather several mannequins together, and use them as a blockade to temporarily confuse the machines. The survivors then fire at the kill-bots from behind the mannequins, before running for the zillionth time. The main robots gets fried and blows up, but not before electrocuting both Mike and Leslie(I think). Awwwwwwww!
In the dark corridors behind the main mall, Alison and Ferdy sneak around in different areas, apparently looking for trouble. A robot advances on Alison, and she screams. The sound helps Ferdy to pinpoint her location. Grady shatters the thing's eye plate, and it tries to track him by sound. Alison watches Ferdy get cornered, and he is swiftly dispatched.
Alison hides beneath a display counter, and the killer bot goes away. She makes a noise, and tries to confuse the bot by hiding in a pet store, hoping that the animal noises will mask her own. Then she changes her mind, and decides to dangle on a railing instead. Her hand slips, and Alison crashes into a display beneath the railing.
She must have been injured, because she now limps her way into a paint store. She open many buckets of paint, creating quite a mess on the floor. She waits for the bot to follow her into the mess, then she escapes and lights a flare. After flinging it, the paint shop erupts into an inferno.
Alison stumbles her way to the exit, only to see Ferdy pop up again, very much alive. They exit together. THE END.
A mediocre horror-comedy, saved by a terrific, out-of-nowhere headsplosion. And, hey, it did have an impressive number of victims. Still pretty awful as a movie, though, so I'm giving it 2.75 killer trees out of 5. Bah humbug!
And what did I learn from Chopping Mall?
-Lightning is magic.
-Mannequins are easily mistakable for human beings, what with the similar body heat, range of movement, and all.
-When going to the Mall, remember to stop at the Vitamins Store, get a nice outfit from from the Clothes Store, then finish the day enjoying your meal at Restaurant. Low-budget is fun!
No clue what my next movie will be. Hopefully, it'll be somewhat more coherent than this one was.