So way back in 1988 Hong Kong had their own awesome version of Robocop, an ass kickin’ lady cyborg named Maria! Yes, the action/sci-fi flick ‘I Love Maria’ aka ‘Roboforce’ is easily one of the best 80’s movies I’ve seen coming from that region of the world since I started going down the rabbit hole of odd ball Hong Kong cinema a while ago. I must admit, a lot of Hong Kong films during that era are usually pretty hit or miss, many with confusing, nonsensical plots & often weird slapstick potty humor that likely loses something in the often rudimentary english translation provided. However ‘I Love Maria’ definitely hits the right beats on the humor, action & plot to make it stand out as not merely a foreign remake of Robocop but a uniquely charming little sci-fi adventure all of it’s own. The plot’s indeed pretty outrageous, but to a large degree that’s what makes it a so much damn fun. It’s also filled with some memorable characters that at the end of the day, leave you with some warm fuzzy feelings about friendship & the importance of true camaraderie. So what’s it all about you ask?
So the vicious “Hero Gang”, is a downright nasty criminal terrorist organization (I know odd name for the gang then huh?), hell bent on wreaking all out havoc upon the streets of Hong Kong with their unstoppable killer robots: Pioneers 1 and 2! While Pioneer 1’s a giant hulking armored unit, Pioneer 2’s been modeled after “Maria“, the Hero Gang’s devious second in command. When Pioneer 2 gets damaged during a secret assassination mission, it’s taken into the custody of a curious hi-tech weapons inventor employed by the police force named “Curly”. He secretly repairs & reprograms her with new coding that triggers changes to her logic center. Pioneer 2 begins to develop her own unique heroic personality and soon Curly finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly battle against The Hero Gang. Banding together with a drunken ex-gang member named “Whisky” & “T.Q.”, a bumbling news camera man, the four of them embark on a dangerous mission with the fate of Hong Kong in the palm of their hands!
‘I Love Maria’ is a must see for fans of odd 80’s sci fi, the three main human characters have some great chemistry together, one of which is cult director Tsui Hark (Detective Dee, Double Team, Once Upon a Time In China), who hams it up thoroughly as the heroic alcoholic ‘Whisky’. The special effects work is pretty stunning as well, especially when it comes to Maria battling the ‘Pioneer 1’ robot. They bash though walls, fire rocket launchers for their arms and fling eachother around like rag dolls on the streets of Hong Kong. They never skimp on spectacle here either as there’s a plethora of explosions, Hi-tech weaponry, martial arts battles, car chases & of course awesome robot beat downs to behold here. There’s also a pretty interesting duo of villains, the brother & sister leaders of The Hero Gang who also happen to be in love. Throw in “Mr. Vampire” himself, Lam Ching Ying in the mix to showcase his always amazing kung fu and you’ve got yourself a frenetic sci-fi action flick here that never lets up.
That all being said the real star of the show is clearly the charismatic cyborg Maria, who not only lights up the screen with her robotic butt kicking but also with her curious charm. A largely forgotten rad 1980s female action hero that more people need to discover. Hunt this one down, especially if you dig over the top, 80’s, sci-fi action stuff that really fires on all cylinders: unique characters, stunning practical fx, sets, locations and just pure cybernetic mayhem a’ plenty . Stick around all the way through the end credits as well, where you’ll some of the sweetest scenes of the movie. Someone needs to jump on releasing and cleaning up some of the amazing Hong Kong horror/sci-fi stuff out there from the 80’s & 90’s, there’s so many forgotten, rarely seen gems for fans of cult cinema in the USA. Until then this one’s actually pretty hard to find, but definitely worth the effort!
Hey isn’t it awesome we finally have gotten a good look at the new Robocop costume for the upcoming remake?! You’d think so huh? However this seems quite the contrary with this new pic that surfaced today. It feels like I just saw this new incarnation of the character recently though…like in The Dark Knight Rises!!!
It’s not Robocop its fucking BATMAN!!! Seriously folks this is the best they could do for Robocop in 2012?! I think they forgot…um…he’s supposed to be a damn ROBOT! My verdict is a big thumbs down thus far! I don’t know about you all but I will gladly take my 80’s Robocop over this loser any day! UGGGGH Hollywood remakes….
I have just seen the Kickstarter video for legendary stop motion / effects master Phil Tippett’s latest movie he’s recently started working on again and it looks incredible!Seriously before you read on check out the Kickstarter video! Phil is famous for his work on little films called The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Jurassic Park & Robocop to name a few.
All I really need to say watch this teaser and if you’re interested check out the interview with Harry Knowles. It’s even better news to know the movie reached it’s funding goals on Kickstarter! So it will be a reality and most likely one of the most amazing little movies of current times…
I just came across this awesome video today of the Marvel Superhero float from the Macy’s Day Parade in 1987! I was actually pretty impressed with the costumes, the whole re-enactment and all the different heroes and villains. One thing I don’t understand is why Robocop is hanging out with them on the float?!! Get your own float robocop! Anyway this is pretty rad-enjoy!