The worst movie of all time

ROTORYears ago, when people actually rented movies from the video store, my brother and I would scan the aisles of our family-owned shop looking for weird movies to rent. One film, in particular, was like a siren song to two young boys – a cool box, the promise of action and a wicked title: R.O.T.O.R.

For years, we debated on whether to rent this movie. There usually was something better around, and so ROTOR sat, waiting patiently for its turn to be acquired by the Smith Bros.

And then one fateful day, we decided to head on over to the Brook Road video store to finally rent this slice of cinematic cheese. Boy, what a mistake that was.

To say ROTOR is a bad movie is an affront to all the thousands of bad movies merely wallowing in mediocrity. No, ROTOR is on another level – sitting on the throne of cinematic hell.

Currently, the Internet Movie Database has ROTOR ranked No. 13 on its worst movies of all time list. I find it impossible to believe that there are 12 worse movies out there than this. The No. 4 film, “SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2,” is horrifically awful but it’s got Jon Voight in it – an Oscar winner! That has to count for something. ROTOR has Richard Gesswein!

As is usually the case with historically awful films, ROTOR is a vanity production. Cullen Blaine was an animator who decided to make the foray into live action film, and so in 1989 he wrote, directed and produced this “Terminator” and “RoboCop” knockoff, punching his ticket to infamy.

Comically inept, woodenly acted, completely nonsencial and embarrasingly cheap, ROTOR’s biggest flaw is that it takes itself far too seriously. Blaine is under the impression that he is making an IMPORTANT film about a marauding robot, yet the film is deadly dull, bogged down by ludicrous speeches from actors who couldn’t memorize their grocery list much less scientific discussions.

The film gets off to a bad start, as we are introduced to our hero, Dr. Coldyron on his ranch. OK, sounds good. Except this scene goes on and on and on, as we see him making breakfast, playing with his horse, drinking coffee – all the while being treated by a twangy voiceover extolling the benefits of the place. Huh?

After some jumping around in time, we discover that Dr. Coldyron has invented a prototype police robot (Robotic Officer Tactical Operation Research),  that the government is eager to get its hands on – so eager in fact, they push Coldyron to move up the launch.

There are so many awful things that occur in this scene – the failure of the actor to adequately read his lines, the random use of Coke and cigars, the strange cutaways to Coldyron and his toys – but our absolute favorite part occurs from 1:40-1:50, when Coldyron delivers these three classic lines: “What?” “Why” “Nowwhywouldhedodat?” Sounds funny right? Well, the actor who played Coldyron had his voiced dubbed, leading to some strange intonations.

Of course ROTOR escapes, and it’s up to Coldyron and assistant Dr. Steele (Jayne Smith, who would later cap her acting career with an appearance in “Flesh Gordon 2”) to stop “a killing machine gone berserk, with only a go button and no compassion.”

ROTOR is chasing a woman named Sony, for no apparent reason other than her boyfriend (which ROTOR executes) was speeding. This chase scene will take up the remaining film and it is truly riveting horrific. Watch ROTOR wreak havoc on chairs and doors below.

Amazingly, Blaine had the hubris to think there would be a sequel, leaving the “action-packed” finale embarrassingly open for a sequel. But who in their right mind, after watching Blaine’s opus, would ever contribute any time or money to that endeavor?

There are so many questions: why do they call the robot “Roter”? Why does ROTOR look like a redneck playing dress-up? Why does Dr. Steele have a skunk do? Why would you dub the voices of both your leading actor and actress? Was this film ever in theatres?

Ah, R.O.T.O.R. The memories still haunt me, 10 years later. Trust me, it doesn’t get any worse than this.


~ by Elliott on May 29, 2009.

One Response to “The worst movie of all time”

  1. Omg! This R.O.T.O.R. movie has been airing on old movie channel so i decided to watch it. Ive been in ent. Industry a long time so was giving this movie the benefit of the doubt. Plus it is difficult to get any movie on board with great distribution so I personally dont want to bring anyone down, even the director of this film. He came from an animation background so knowing this explains why the movie looks the way it does including the characterz. I’ve watched this movie keeping humor in mind but after I read the review above i cant help but basically agree and fell into the floor laughing my ass off. The person that reviewed this film is pretty spot on Im sorry to saybut it struck me so funny… I couldnt help but comment. Maybe its a bad movie so to speak but given enough exposure maybe it should have already become a cheesy culture classic, i dont know and its difficult to figure out because Ive been laughing so hard, sorry.

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