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Archive for October 15th, 2012

aka Roboforce

The Hero Gang led by the evil Lam and his lover Maria is a villianous organization that sends it’s giant robot named Van out to rob a bank in HK. With the police helpless against the marauding robot and Lam threatening more chaos if the authorities doesn’t hand over a load of cash to them, a trio of bumbling heroes go into action. They are eccentric inventor Curly, a newspaper reporter and Whiskey, an ex member of the Hero Gang determined to right his past wrongs. The Hero Gang in the meantime have created another decidedly different robot. This one is patterned after female gang member, Maria. This robot is sent after our goofy trio, but in the process it’s nearly destroyed. Curly reprograms Maria to go after it’s creators when they send in the heavy artillery including Van to look for her. Who will come out on top in the robot showdown?

Despite the title which may suggest a romantic story, this is in fact a sci-fi action comedy with some shades of Robocop and a nod to the classic movie Metropolis. It tanked big time when it was initially released in HK but has in fact gained a cult following over the years. Stories about its troubled production is well known amongst HK movie fans with producer Tsui Hark getting rid of director David Chung at some point during filming and taking over the directing duties himself and even reshooting large chunks. The movie starts with a bang as the massive hulk of a robot Van goes on a destructive rampage around Hong Kong and this is only the beginning of the fun you’ll have in watching this. It’s quite an imaginative romp with not only a giant robot appearing but also a flying motorcycle armed with a set of machine guns. The movie is not meant to be taken seriously one bit and Tsui Hark doesn’t let the comedy overshadow the great action sequences which includes a hilarious scene in which one of our heroes tries to escape through trees on swinging vines ala Tarzan only to be pursued in the same manner by the villains with machine guns. The clash between Maria and Van is also very entertaining. It does turn a little bit dark at times with it’s violent content but the majority of the movie is lightweight and harmless. The special effects looks a bit dated though but with only a small budget for the movie the filmmakers did the best they could. The rubber styrofoam walls and rubble on display does look bad! The robots (Van and Maria) are fantastic creations with their jet pack boots, hidden missiles and extending fists. I found it to be such a creative movie with the array of gadgets on display. The wacky and slapstick comedy was fine, I did find it to be a bit repetitive at times especially when two of our heroes regularly get electrocuted for touching the robot Maria. This movie though belongs to the beautiful Sally Yeh who plays the dual role of the evil Hero Gang member Maria and her Metropolis styled robot counterpart. She’s really good at playing the robot role using just a few expressions on her face and even gets to sing a few lines as well. The trio of heroes played by Tsui Hark, John Sham and Tony Leung Chui-Wai are also excellent in keeping the storyline chugging along and there’s great chemistry between them.

I Love Maria is a unique piece of HK cinema which is well worth checking out just for it’s mix of wackiness and action. I had a lot of fun watching it.

Sadako’s Rating: 3 stars out of 5

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