Top 10 Ass-Kicking, Killer Robots in Film
“This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.”
– HAL 9000, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
In honor of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (opening June 24th, 2009) AND “Terminator Salvation” (opening May 21st, 2009), film critics The Massie Twins examine the 10 greatest ass-kicking movie robots (and cyborgs and androids and such). “Short Circuit” was too long ago to remember and WALL-E just didn’t have the heart to kill anyone.
Runner-Up. Maximilian from The Black Hole (1979)
The cold, robotic leader of a squadron of cold, robotic drones (who were once humans before they were lobotomized and turned into cyborgs), Maximilian is the main henchrobot for an unusually deranged, mad scientist – both ready to commit murder when necessary. And this is all in a Disney movie!
10. IT-0 from Star Wars (1977)
General Grievous from “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” was admittedly pretty formidable, but Lucas’ second trilogy is so pitiful in comparison to the original features that the lightsaber-wielding Kaleesh alien (despite having a truncated fight against Jedi Obi-Wan) has to step aside for the standard issue Imperial interrogator droid, IT-0. This floating ball of pain was, however, no match for Princess Leia’s strong will and feistiness.
9. M.A.R.K. 13 from Hardware (1990)
Armed with sharp weaponry and a deadly, injectable toxin, the M.A.R.K. 13 prototype combat droid could reconstruct itself from any available machinery and terrorize the occupants of a post-apocalyptic apartment complex. Plus, you have to be pretty bold to take on a metal-armed Dylan McDermott and rip off “The Terminator” and “Alien” all in one fell swoop.
8. Omnidroid 10,000 from The Incredibles (2004)
Mowing down Metroville with lasers and an impenetrable exoskeleton resembling a giant bowling ball with legs, the superintelligent droid went renegade from its creator, Syndrome – and it took an entire family of Supers to finally take it down.
7. Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet (1956)
The 7-foot robot was never better than in his menacing debut in this 1956 classic. Hobbling around and providing an imposing figure more than an actual nemesis, the twisting-gear-headed android influenced countless robots to come. And what a gent he was with the ladies.
6. Optimus Prime from Transformers (2007)
Retaining the same bold voice but losing the too-colorful 2D-animated look, Optimus Prime gets a 3D makeover in Michael Bay’s summer smash and mops up the city with the Decepticons. Too bad he needed help from a sex-starved teenage boy.
5. Roy Batty from Blade Runner (1982)
This one’s a grey area, since Philip K. Dick used the term “android,” yet director Ridley Scott and writer David Peoples substituted that concept for a new word: replicant. Additionally, despite being given model numbers and serial numbers and programming, the replicants aren’t actually made up of computer chips and metal parts; instead, they’re more like bioengineered clones. Nevertheless, the leader of the renegade Nexus-6 replicants – adorned with Rutger Hauer’s quietly menacing persona – gave protagonist Deckard a run for his money. Hauer is generally bad-ass in everything he does, so his inclusion on the list is a no-brainer. Not to mention, “Blade Runner” is one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time.
4. Bishop from Aliens (1986)
Lance Henriksen portrayed the calmly cool android in Cameron’s other sci-fi/horror masterpiece, proving that not all “artificial people” in the Aliens universe were out to get Ripley. Ash from the first film certainly made a bad impression for robo-people. Plus, he managed to survive after getting ripped in half by a pissed-off Alien Queen (though he fares a bit worse when the opening credits of “Alien 3” play out).
3. HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
The movie is either a drug-induced psych-job or a drug-induced science-fiction masterpiece, but either way, the demonic HAL computer runs the show. Killing off occupants of the Discovery on a whim and sporting an eerily serene voice, HAL 9000 reimagined the fear of technological usurpation and hyper-intelligent, mistrustful supercomputers.
2. ED-209 from RoboCop (1987)
Yeah, Robocop was a badass, but he was essentially a guy in a clunky metal suit. ED-209, on the other hand, was a hulking giant who could gun down an office full of businessmen in a matter of seconds. He wasn’t too good with stairs though.
1. The Terminator from The Terminator films (1984-)
Who’d you expect, the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz”? When it comes to robots kicking ass, no one did it better than Arnold in James Cameron’s sci-fi/body-horror masterpiece, “The Terminator.” In rare sequel form, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” showcased the Governator against an even more advanced model, the T-1000 (unforgettably played by Robert Patrick), who could morph into metal objects and stab the crap out of people. The female terminator in “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” had her moments, but we’d rather forget that one existed. To top it all off, the TV show “The Sarah Connor Chronicles” revamped the awesomeness of Judgment Day mayhem, paving the way for further postapocalyptic adventures. Even without Schwarzenegger, it seems this franchise isn’t down for the count.