Tuesday, December 23, 2008



5) HAL 9000 - "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968)

HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic Computer), was the sentient, on-board computer system that regulated the inner workings of the spaceship 'Discovery' in Stanley Kubrick's awesome film adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's '2001: A Space Odyssey'. If it wasn't for HAL, this list would probably read the 'Top 5 "Robotic" Movie Villains of All Time'. That was HAL's edge. Being an omnipresent computer, he was EVERYWHERE at all times, watching the crew through a series of glowing red eyes (see above). This gave him (it?) a psychological advantage over his human counterparts; he could read their lips, deliberately malfunction, or deprive them of air on a whim. Setting the bar for evil computers thereafter, HAL was a menacing, all-powerful presence, made even creepier by the friendly tone in which he delivered his lines.

Below: Spaceman Dave, ensuring himself an epic electronic ass-whuppin.


Let's see, what did Mechagodzilla have going for him? Being a robot copy of Godzilla was a pretty good start. Breathing fire? Check. Lazer beams shot from eyes? OK. Fingertips that shot missiles? Word the fuck up. M.G. was pretty much a massive, deadly, killing machine, a biomechanical warrior worthy of placement on any early 90's Death Metal album cover. Like any decent robot would, he turned on his puny human creators, meeting his defeat at the hands of the very creature he was created to destroy. Oh, the irony.
Mechagodzilla returned many times through the course of the Godzilla films, in many different manifestations, but I prefer the '74 version. The future of 1974 was a much more interesting place than the future of 1998, or even 2008.

Below: Later, lamer Mechagodzillas.

3) ED 209 - "ROBOCOP" (1987)

ED 209: "The Cop of The Future". The future of 1987 wasn't such a shabby place to be, either. Cyborg cops roamed the streets, battling giant robots in a struggle for the safety of New Detroit. ED's first film scene obtained him a permanent spot in the collective memory of the movie-going public, malfunctioning and brutally icing an investor right off the bat. ED 209 scared the shit out of me in 1987. To be honest, ED still kind of scares the shit out of me today.

Below: ED 209 poses with evil dickhead Dick Jones.


How bad-ass is the concept? A fucking crazy killer android from the future, sent back in time, who doesn't hesitate in the slightest to do insane shit like walking into a police station and offing a bunch of cops. Dude.
Schwarzenegger became THE MAN in this role, and remained so until approximately 'Kindergarten Cop'. Cold, monotone, and deadly, Terminator's robotic detachment from human emotion was his greatest asset, and his willingness to massacre screaming throngs of innocent bystanders to achieve his goals made him METAL. The sequel(s) were weak, casting the original T-Man as a good guy was a terrible idea, and Robert Patrick's CGI villain was nowhere near as cool. But 1984 Arnie Terminator was the classic, a killing machine of the highest degree without any hang-ups about SHIT.

Below: Apparently this guy is now some sort of high ranking official in California state government.


Unicron was the sweetest villain of them all. Basically a sentient Death Star who could transform into a giant robot whenever the Hell he felt like it, Unicron was equally dicky to both Deceptacons and Autobots, a bad guy who was even a bad guy to the BAD GUYS. And having the voice of Orson Welles didn't hurt either.
As far as sheer destructive power goes, you can't beat Unicron, who could suck up an entire planet like an oyster shooter. He summed up all the good stuff about electronic villains, he was huge, mean, and ready to kill. Unicron was your worst nightmare. Unicron was SWEET.

Below: Don't call me UNICORN, BITCH!!!

Honorable Mention: Box The Evil Robot from "Logan's Run" (1976)

Nefarious, but kind of a pussy.


Erik said...

Dude, Unicron also has, by far, the most badass death sequence of any villian, robot or not. When it's my time to go, I only hope that I too will explode in slow motion to Stan Bush's smooth rock jam "You Got The Touch."

Shelby Cobras said...

I'm sure you you will, Erik. I'm sure you will.