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Film / R.O.T.O.R.

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"My objective was pure enough: To make the streets of the city a little safer. Where gangs of punks, dope dealers and the rest of society’s scum could be effectively controlled, and hopefully eradicated. A controlled army of police robots could stop the slaughter of the hundreds of policemen who sacrifice their lives every year in the protection of those they serve. But how do you stop a killing machine gone berserk, with only a go button and no compassion?"
Barrett Coldyron
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Robot cop goes berserk. Creator hunts it down. You know the drill.

Barrett Coldyron is a cyberneticist with the Dallas Police Department. To save society from itself, he works to create a perfect robotic lawman, codenamed Robotic Tactical Operations Research. It will be four years before the kinks are worked outnote , but Coldyron is a patient man. Unfortunately, a conniving politician demands that the prototype be released in its current form, and Coldyron resigns in protest. The project is taken over by a couple of bumbling subordinates, who accidentally launch R.O.T.O.R. on a killing spree. It's up to Coldyron to stop it.

R.O.T.O.R. was written, produced, and directed by Cullen Blaine Houghtaling, who had previously worked mainly as a storyboard artist for Saturday morning cartoons. It was released in 1987, quick on the heels of RoboCop. It started getting a reputation as classic trash, making the rounds of bad movie sites such as Jabootu, Bleeding Skull and Monster Shack. In 2013, it was featured in an episode of Best of the Worst, where its cheesy charms were revealed to a new generation of B-movie enthusiasts. In 2014, the film became the subject of a comedic commentary by RiffTrax. After languishing in obscurity for a quarter of a century, R.O.T.O.R. continues to languish, but not in quite as much obscurity as before.

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Tropes:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Coldyron retires from his job after an argument with Bugler. He rejoins the force shortly after when R.O.T.O.R. goes berserk.
  • The '80s: Depressingly so. The reason the R.O.T.O.R. project was even able to get funding is because crime is so rampant that even with twenty-five years as a projected completion date, it just sounds like a direly needed weapon for law-enforcement and thus a sure-fire political move.
  • '80s Hair: Mullets... mullets everywhere.
  • Acronym Confusion: On the Bond One-Liner "Justice delivered. C.O.D.". The film doesn't seem to know "C.O.D." means "cash on delivery", and it's unclear what the film is confusing it for (D.O.A.?)note 
    • Exactly what R.O.T.O.R. stands for actually changes during the film (the second R is alternately "Research" or "Reserve").
  • Action Survivor: Sonya, who spends the whole movie running away from the Killer Robot and the only true weapon she has is a car horn (amusingly, it's the only weapon she needs).
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: Coldyron learns a valuable philosophical lesson, albeit at the cost of R.O.T.O.R. killing or maiming several people.
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  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Predictably enough, though it's unclear how much is not having had the years of bug-testing Coldyron projected he'd need and how much is the robot being activated suddenly thanks to the actions of an oblivious janitor.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Due to faulty programing, R.O.T.O.R tries to execute anyone who breaks any law whatsoever. In one scene he kills a guy for speeding, and, somewhat oddly, tries to kill his passenger for what it considers resisting arrest.
  • Almighty Janitor: Definitely averted with Shoeboogie. He fancies himself a ladies' man with a trove of 'Indian lore', but he's just an annoying loser whose clumsiness activates the killer robot.
  • Anachronic Order: The film starts with Coldyron emerging from the woods after having destroyed R.O.T.O.R., and the main story is recounted in an extended flashback while Coldyron is being interrogated at police headquarters.
  • Androids and Detectives: Willard and Houghteling have this kind of relationship.
  • Antagonist Title: R.O.T.O.R. is the name for the robot cop.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: "The metal itself can learn, remember, and teach itself. It doesn't need motors, gears, and tubes."note 
  • Asshole Victim: Sonya's fiance is given one scene to establish that he's a dickhead, then he's shot dead by R.O.T.O.R.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Barrett Coldyron, Detective Glorioso, Dr. Corrine Steele, Detective Mango, and of course, Shoeboogie.
    Bill Corbett: Detective Mango?! Is this a Jimmy Buffett mystery?
  • Badass Bystander: An ordinary-looking woman is taken hostage by a thug. After she is freed by Coldyron, another thug appears, and the woman attacks him with martial arts moves. Her skills are so ludicrous, it seems odd that she would have been taken hostage by some petty thug in the first place.
    Mike Nelson: Forget R.O.T.O.R.! I want to see a movie about her!
    • R.O.T.O.R. is not a film with many cowardly people willing to knuckle under. Throughout the film, numerous people come to Sonya's defense and bravely attack R.O.T.O.R. They tend to fail and get severely injured and even killed for their efforts, but, hey, points for trying. Plus, the truck driver even manages to successfully shoot R.O.T.O.R. and (briefly) injure him.
  • The Bait: Sonya, because if she's in police custody, R.O.T.O.R. will start to focus its attentions elsewhere and kill more innocents.
  • Belated Backstory: Coldyron reveals late in the third act that he spent much of his childhood on "the Indian reservation", apparently to justify his ability to find R.O.T.O.R. in the woods.
  • Big Eater: In one scene, we see Coldyron and his ladyfriend having lunch in a restaurant. The next time we see them, it is early afternoon of the same day, and they are preparing to cook themselves two steaks the size of toilet seats. Welcome to Texas.
  • Brain Uploading: Apparently part of Coldyron's mind is in R.O.T.O.R. Steele says that it would be a good idea to exploit this ("your [Coldyron] failure is his failure"), but nothing ever comes from it.
  • Brawnhilda: Steele, to the degree that she looks like she's in unconvincing drag when wearing a dress.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A trio of rednecks think that R.O.T.O.R. is merely a human police officer, so naturally they pick a fight with him. Because, you know, threatening just a human police officer is wise.
    Redneck: Hey, faggot city cop!
  • Butt-Monkey: Coldyron's destruction is prearranged by his corrupt superiors. His victory over R.O.T.O.R. only briefly postpones his fate.
  • Calling Card: Conveniently for the investigators, the Asshole Victim somehow managed to grab the “R.O.T.O.R.” nametag off the killer robot after being shot in the head.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Early in the film, we see Coldyron blowing up tree stumps by lassoing them with primacord rope. This is what he ultimately uses to destroy the killer robot.
    • Shoeboogie tells a story about how his ancestors would quarter a condemned man by tying his limbs to four horses and driving them in different directions. A similar technique is employed by Coldyron in restraining R.O.T.O.R. during the climactic scene.
      Mike: Just as the prophet Shoeboogie foretold!
  • Cock-a-Doodle Dawn: Justified, in that Coldyron lives on a ranch.
  • Conflict Ball: The snarling Commander Bugler seems to exist entirely for this purpose. He orders Coldyron to finish R.O.T.O.R. within sixty days, although the project is not slated to be complete for four years - and has a personality to deal with an assumed societal breakdown in 25-40 years (!). Bugler's unreasonableness and unexplained hostility seem calculated to initiate drama and cast Coldyron in a sympathetic light.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Sonya is shown stopping her car at a gas station to call the police, which suggests that she doesn't have any on-board means of communication. In a later scene, she steals a car which happens to have a C.B. radio in it. Nobody finds this strange.
  • Cop and Scientist: Coldyron combines both characters in one.
  • Cop Killer: After destroying R.O.T.O.R., Coldyron is arrested on suspicion of having murdered a cop.
  • Covers Always Lie: Look at the trope image. R.O.T.O.R. doesn't have RoboCop's body armor, and it doesn't take place during a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
  • Crapsack World: Everyone takes it for granted that the future will be a hellish dystopia where killer robots are the last hope of humanity.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Villainous version with R.O.T.O.R. Why? Who knows.
  • Crush. Kill. Destroy!: R.O.T.O.R., big time.
  • Delaying the Rescue: Coldyron leaves Sonya to continue her flight from R.O.T.O.R., explaining that he needs to use her as bait.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: For R.O.T.O.R., minor traffic violation + $20 bribe = death.
    • There is also Bugler killing Coldyron with a shotgun at the end. If not for a couple of very quick and very vague moments that imply that he's doing it because Coldyron knows too much about R.O.T.O.R. and thus needs be silenced, you wouldn't be wrong to assume that he's doing it because he hates Coldyron's guts that much.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Coldyron gets killed out of nowhere by Bugler mere moments on a sunset shot after he gets acquitted of R.O.T.O.R.'s rampages and with little foreshadowing and provocation against Bugler.
  • Downer Ending: Bugler kills Coldyron with a shotgun at the end because He Knows Too Much.
  • Dull Surprise: Every character in the film, but Steele tops them all. Her "My God" is so flat you'd think she was reacting to not getting ketchup for her fries and not the murder of an innocent civilian.
  • Establishing Shot: The Movie! Especially during the “Thursday morning” section, where the film dawdles over the picturesque minutiae of Coldyron's ranch house, his mildly zany morning routine, and his commute to work.
    Rich Evans: They had to establish the prairie, so they could establish the farm, so they could establish the farmhouse, so they could establish the kitchen counter.
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Especially steaks and shoulder pads.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: R.O.T.O.R.'s Establishing Character Moment includes a moment where it walks through several rows of empty folding chairs to try to present itself as an Implacable Man... unfortunately, it is pretty easy to see the actor had difficulty doing so.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: Coldyron and Steele engage in this in the most stilted, monotone way possible.
    • A sampling:
      Coldyron: A brain without a heart. A conscience without recognition. A will without a soul.
      Steele: If I miss, you’ll be fighting your own base instincts. To combat pure will, you’ll have to use pure illogic.
      Coldyron: What do you mean?
      Steele: You will have to allow yourself to fail. Use your failure against him! Your failure, is his failure. Your weakness, is his weakness. Then, only then, can you do something.
    • Then you have this gem from Coldyron:
      Coldyron: Remember what I said at R.O.T.O.R.’s christening? First prototype of a future battalion, on the battlefield highways of the future. He’d be the Judge, Jury and Executioner. Now I’ve got to wonder, were we playing God, breathing life into our artificial Adam? Or have we lost sight of Paradise? What was it Milton said? "Did I request Thee, Maker, from my clay to mold me Man? Did I solicit thee from darkness to promote me?" Is it his fault he is what he is, or is it ours?
  • Filming for Easy Dub: A lot of dialogue is dubbed over exterior shots of cars driving. This is also probably the explanation for all the phone call scenes, where an off-camera character delivers a speech as another character sits on camera, listening.
  • Funny Background Event: The climactic battle between R.O.T.O.R. and Steele takes place in the background while Coldyron helps Sonya to safety in the foreground.
    Jay: This is like a Zucker Brothers gag!
  • Genius Bruiser: Steele is introduced as a genius scientist, but all she does is physical fighting.
    • From Bleeding Skull:
      Dr. Steele, will you be my friend? I don’t want to push. Who knows where this could go? I know: You are huge. You could pick me up and toss me across the room. And, frankly, I would love every minute of it. Your skunk mullet would draw attention to us at restaurants and people would say "Who are they who believe they can flaunt societal decorum?" and I would tell them to "Cram it!" because you and I should be friends. Good friends. I’m making you a mix tape, downloading it to my MP3 player and sending it, online, to your heart. Call me?
  • Good-Times Montage: Coldyron and his ladyfriend enjoy a leisurely dialogue-free date, set to a smooth eighties ballad.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?:
    Shoeboogie: Either I'm an Indian or I'm a sissy!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Steele is killed by R.O.T.O.R. after she rips it open to expose its innards - rather than picking up the de-activation key Coldyron dropped right there. Rather than remote offing the machine, she gets a killer bear hug instead.
  • Herr Doktor: Bugler calls Coldyron this literally, but Coldyron doesn't fit the trope.
  • Hitler Cam: Used on R.O.T.O.R. to make him seem huge and threatening.
  • Hollywood Law: The cause of the movie's problems begin because Coldyron's benefactor, Senator Douglas, wants to unveil R.O.T.O.R. and ride the publicity to win a Presidential election in six months — or else Douglas will have everyone associated with the project jailed for graft and corruption. Never mind that such a move would likely get Douglas in trouble as wellnote , how would the Senator become one of the major parties’ candidates for President just a few months before an election?
    • And then there's doozie number two that is the R.O.T.O.R. Project core programming ("All Crimes Are EqualKill ’Em All"). Even with a very generous prediction window of twenty-five years minimum (from the late part of The '80s) before society goes to hell bad enough that such a set of directives will be needed, the thing is pretty much a walking civil liberties lawsuit (which makes the first point even more baffling).
  • Hypocrite: Bugler sends a heartfelt letter to Coldyron's nephew telling him of his uncle's passing, despite being the one who cruelly gunned him down in cold blood, and establishing early that he hated Coldyron's guts.
  • How We Got Here: Almost the entire film is Coldyron being debriefed by Dallas PD and telling them what happened.
  • Idiot Ball: No one ever uses R.O.T.O.R.'s Weaksauce Weakness until the very end of the film.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: There are a few jarring discrepencies between dialogue and on-screen imagery.
    • During the establishing shots of Dallas, a traffic reporter describes severe traffic congestion, while the viewer can see that the highway is clear.
    • Coldyron claims that R.O.T.O.R. has no 'tubes', precisely as the camera is panning over the robot's... tubes.
    • Coldyron claims to have "crippled" R.O.T.O.R.'s motorcycle. Meanwhile R.O.T.O.R. zips away at full speed, totally unscathed by Coldyron's bullets.
  • Implacable Man: R.O.T.O.R. won't stop until he executes his suspect.
  • Inflation Negation: The gas station advertises gas for 69 cents a gallon.
  • Informed Ability: Coldyron and Steele are supposed to be geniuses. They show no such traits - if anything, they run around with the Idiot Ball all film.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "The difference between a hero and a villain is the amount of compensation they take for their services. At our pay grade, I'd say we're heroes."
  • Interrogation Flashback: The film is mostly framed by the interrogation of Barret Coldiron by the Houston Police after the apparent death of a police officer at his hand (who really was the titular Killer Robot).
  • Ironic Echo: "Justice delivered. C.O.D."note 
  • It's All My Fault: Coldyron blames himself completely, except he stated that R.O.T.O.R. was four years from completion, and Shoeboogie was the one who activated it. It's probably his fault for allowing a minor accident to allow the robot to get activated, but basically, it's all Bugler's fault.
  • Jerkass:
    • Sonya's fiancee.
    Mike: (as R.O.T.O.R.) You have exceeded all douchebaggery protocols.
    • Also, not many people notice because of his comedy relief, but Shoeboogie is a pretty good example too. He spends most of his screentime harassing a co-worker and accuses her of being racist for not putting out.
  • Jive Turkey: Shoeboogie, a (self-described) Apache who talks like a character from a blaxploitation film. (Ironically, he resembles an East Indian more than a Native American.) RiffTrax compares him to Huggy Bear.
    Shoeboogie: Once you go red, you never get out of bed!note 
  • Karma Houdini: Shoeboogie's janitorial negligence is responsible for activating the killer robot, but he seems to escape cosmic comeuppance. So does Houghtaling, Willard the robot, Commander Bugler, and everybody else who directly contributed to the robot's going berserk (and in Bugler's case, blowing away Coldyron). The only people who suffer are innocent bystanders and the two most competent and noble scientists.
  • Lampshade Hanging: "What do you think this is, some low-budget sci-fi flick?"
    Mike: Gah! The movie is becoming self-aware!
  • Leave the Camera Running: The film is padded with long, dialogue-free scenes of Coldyron puttering around his house, having a leisurely dinner with his ladyfriend, and driving to work.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: After Coldyron indulges in a long Fauxlosophic Narration, Steele's response? She's changed into camo offscreen, and growls, "Let's do it!"
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: "We're all prognosticators of the future. And since our particular purpose of vision belongs to the creed of law enforcement, we open inroads into tomorrow, in ways and means of those who would serve and protect justice and order."
  • Metaphorgotten:
    • Many, but Coldyron's threat to "make more noise than two skeletons making love in a tin coffin" is a masterpiece of confusing analogy.
    • "Look at you! You look like you've got both eyeballs coming out of the same hole!" comes a close second.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: R.O.T.O.R's most far fetched ability is something called "Sensor Recall" which allows him to see into the past to view events that happened in whatever area he's looking at, which he mainly uses when trying to hunt down someone in order the check if they had been through said area recently. Ignoring the fact that such a power seems more like magic than anything vaguely scientific or technological, you would think whatever designer discovered such an ability would use it for more things than just a cop robot, as, to name just one thing, historians could use it to see into the past and find out if some famous historical even really happened the way everyone things.
  • The Mockbuster: Of such films as The Terminator and especially RoboCop (1987), which premiered earlier the same year.
  • Mood Whiplash: The, ahem, "comedy" moments clash with the science fiction, er, "drama". For example, a short order chef for whatever reason has huge fake buck teeth. Why? Because huge fake buck teeth are funny, dammit!
  • Mugging the Monster:
    • This happens a lot with bystanders attacking R.O.T.O.R.
    • The holdup man at the mart had no idea that his Badass Bystander hostage was a martial arts master. He's overwhelmed so quickly the viewer will probably feel sorry for him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Steele, with a heavy dollop of Dull Surprise.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Coldyron's nephew is studying at the "science department" of Oxford University.
  • Only Sane Man: Willard, who twice mocks how idiotic the R.O.T.O.R. project is and bails the moment things turn sour.
  • Opening Scroll: And it imparts information that is later repeated in expository dialogue, so... real useful.
  • Phone-In Detective: About half of Coldyron's interactions with other characters take the form of telephone conversations.
    Mike: The movie Phone Booth had fewer phone calls!
  • Plot Hole:
    • A small one in the beginning, but the police officers tell Coldyron sitting in the back seat to "buckle up". Firstly, there doesn't seem to be any seat belts in the rear seat, but more importantly, Coldyron is handcuffed. How was he going to buckle himself up?
    • When trying to run a diagnostic on R.O.T.O.R., Houghtaling tells Willard to go punch and punch in a few codes on a keypad. Jabootu phrases it best: "A more obvious concern, I’d think, would be how Willard intends to 'punch in' the codes, given that his arms are about as functional as fellow mechanoid Tom Servo’s."
    • Coldyron says that he has never met Dr. Steele, and their dialogue makes it clear that they are meeting for the first time. But at a certain point, Coldyron says, "Remember what I said at R.O.T.O.R.'s christening?" Why would Steele remember, if she and Coldyron had never met before?
    • How did the single length of primacord rope suddenly turn into five lasso ends? Even if Coldyron was able to spend the few seconds lassoing R.O.T.O.R. up in five places, how did the rope suddenly have five ends?
  • Police are Useless: Sorry, ma'am. If the killer robot is out of our jurisdiction, we can't lift a finger to help you.
  • Psychic Powers: R.O.T.O.R. has "sensor recall," meaning it can look at a scene and see events from the past. Keep in mind that he can't bend at the waist or tolerate the sound of car horns.
    Mike: So they were years away from having a ready product, but already nailed down recreating the past just by looking at stuff.
  • Punny Name: The two main characters are Coldyron ("cold iron") and Steele.
  • Purple Prose: Coldyron's "cowboy poetry".
    "The day started like any other day. The fresh October morning breeze blew across the ranch, the cattle were coming in for the morning feeding, and a buttery morning sunlight painted a golden glow through the ranch house windows."
  • Reckless Gun Usage: At the mart hold-up scene, Coldyron sticks a Desert Eagle gun in his pants. For those of you not familiar with the model, the thing weighs 10 pounds. It's a good thing the gun Coldyron has is a plastic movie prop.
  • Red Herring: Steele tells Coldyron that since apparently part of Coldyon's mind was used in R.O.T.O.R.'s brain he will have "to use his own failure" to defeat it. That never happens, and comes off as just a Rule of Cool statement. Instead, Steele just tries to pound R.O.T.O.R. into submission.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Willard, at least personality-wise. He sighs, moans, and even asks for his co-worker's fries. It's almost as if the role was written for a human character.
  • Robo Cam: R.O.T.O.R.'s POV is represented by a handheld camera shot with inverted colors and crosshairs in the middle of the frame.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Coldyron has a little robot on his desk, but what the heck is with the griffin statue on Bugler's?
  • Same Language Dub: The actors who play Coldyron and Steele are dubbed by other actors.
  • Scare Chord: A big sting is heard when Shoeboogie jostles some random piece of equipment in the robotics lab. It turns out that disturbing this item is what causes the killer robot to awaken.
  • Scene Shift Caption: After every cut to a new time or location, the screen displays the day of the week and the time of day, for example FRIDAY 7:30 P.M. This information is by no means required to follow the rather simple and straightforward plot.
    Bill: Are we going to be tested on the specific times everything is happening?
    • Jabootu helpfully laid out each time stamp chronologically as it related to the film.
  • Science Hero: Both Barrett Coldyron and Steele. Allegedly.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Coldyron informs Willard, aka Robot Cop, that R.O.T.O.R. has escaped, he immediately announces his resignation. Over the phone. Coldyron hangs up on him mid-resignation speech.
  • Sequel Hook: After Coldyron is shot, his papers are sent to his nephew, an aspiring roboticist who seems intrigued by his uncle's research and willing to continue his work. R.O.T.O.R. II resembles Steele.
  • Shirtless Scene: The last of the rednecks to attack R.O.T.O.R. in the diner dramatically removes his suspenders and tears off his t-shirt to reveal a buff chest, pronouncing, "Let's see you deal with a real man now." The moment comes off as extremely homoerotic, but the whole thing is undercut by the fact R.O.T.O.R. takes him out easily.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: After his story is over, Coldyron is unceremoniously gunned down in a parking lot by Bugler.
  • Shout-Out:
    • For whatever reason, there are a ton of The Beach Boys references during Coldyron's briefing with scientists, including lines like "Good Vibrations", "God Only Knows", "I Get Around", "Heroes and Villains", "Rock and Roll", and so on.
    • At one point Willard decries how stupid the R.O.T.O.R. Project idea is by snarking "I think this is how The Terminator got started". The irony being that Willard is a robot himself.<
  • Skunk Stripe: Worn by Steele.
  • Snarky Non-Human Sidekick: Willard the non-killer robot.
  • Standard Police Motto: R.O.T.O.R.'s motto is "To Judge and Execute." Nope, nothing wrong with that at all...
  • Stock Phrase: One hick actually says, "Feet don't fail me now!" when fleeing.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Statum is playing Pitfall on work time, but the sound effects coming from the monitor is from the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man.
  • Super Reflexes: Averted with R.O.T.O.R., as his reflexes are super slow. In the climax of the movie, he threatens Coldyron with his gun, Coldyron ducks away, about two or three seconds later (which is much longer than it sounds) R.O.T.O.R. unfazedly and spectacularly fires a shot into emptiness, completely missing Coldyron.
  • Suspect Is Hatless: When Sonya calls the police for help, she doesn't give them much to work with.
    Kevin: She's alerted a cop that can't help her that she'll be driving south away from the murderer or maybe toward him in some kind of vehicle.
  • Techno Babble: There's lots of it, and it's all worse than you can imagine. "Is there some good vibration to its molecular tonality that you can utilize?" and "I can’t run a sequential circuitry test without the impulse feed chain." are just two examples.
  • Tempting Fate: Invoked by Steele when she changes her hotel room number because it's identical to R.O.T.O.R.'s badge number. Tempting fate how is never revealed, and "tempting reality" is just a nonsense phrase.
  • Theme Naming: Coldyron (Cold iron) and Steele. We get it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sonya. After R.O.T.O.R. kills her fiancé, she flees with her car an R.O.T.O.R. follows her with the intention to kill her. She shakes him off and then stops on the open road and is looking for her purse (!) when she sees a police officer in the rareview mirror although she knows R.O.T.O.R. (looking like a police officer) is still following her. She only survives because R.O.T.O.R. somehow forgets to use his gun and lets her escape quickly.
  • The Unintelligible: R.O.T.O.R., who mumbles its lines and has a robotic reverb added.
  • Vague Age: Steele's Skunk Stripe and initial outfit seem to imply that she's meant to be several years older than her actress, but her general appearance is just so bizarre that it's difficult to tell just what the filmmakers were going for.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Largely averted. Coldyron's computer uses an ultra-minimalist command-line system. However, font size fluctuates wildly depending on the importance of the text.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: The plot is set in motion when a villainous unseen politician decides to sabotage the R.O.T.O.R. project as part of some elaborate scheme to get himself elected president. Coldyron spends the entire film reacting to the resulting disaster.
  • Wacky Sound Effect: When R.O.T.O.R. swats away the cop who was trying to sign him up for the policemen's ball, a cartoony 'boink' is heard.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Although he was designed to patrol the highways, R.O.T.O.R. is incapacitated by the sound of car horns and loud noise in general (one scene has it stunned by a boom box playing country music). Even more bizarrely, although Sonya repeatedly exploits this weakness, she apparently does so unwittingly, and never realizes that she can disable R.O.T.O.R. indefinitely just by leaning on the horn. Instead, she honks the horn a few times and then stops, allowing the killer robot to recover and continue chasing her.
    Mike: It's like if Lex Luthor had Superman cornered with a kryptonite gun, then decided to trade it for beans.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite being featured in several early scenes, Coldyron's girlfriend vanishes from the film at the halfway point and is never mentioned again. Likewise, Sonya isn't mentioned again after R.O.T.O.R. is defeated.
  • Zombie Gait: R.O.T.O.R. sometimes walks normally, but whenever he is pursuing someone on foot, he shifts to a slow, stiff-limbed shuffle, as if to remind the audience that he is a robot. However, at another point, R.O.T.O.R. runs, which makes one wonder why he didn't before.
    Kevin: He's in casual attack mode.


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