1990 / Director. Charles Band.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Before Charles Band started pumping out movies about demonic toys, murderous puppets, evil bongs and killer gingerbread-men he used to make quality B-movies. Right throughout the 80s and early 90s he produced and directed a heaps of DTV sci-fi thrillers and CRASH AND BURN is one of them. It came towards the end of the whole robo-era that had been exploited following the success of TERMINATOR and ROBOCOP. The movie takes place in a future following an economic catastrophe. Earth lays in tatters and in an attempt to revitalise society all computers and robotics have been banned. Associating with either is punishable by law. When a cyborg infiltrates one of the few TV stations remaining, the employees find themselves in a fight to survive. The premise is very "same-ish" and we've seen it all before (ASSAULT ON PRESCIENT 13 meets CYBORG) , but the beauty of CRASH AND BURN is it's simplicity. With a low budget and pre-CGI attitude, the story is kept tight and it moves along at a nice little pace. The cast are all good with Bill Moseley being the obvious stand out. The poster art is misleading with a giant robot looming over the characters, but the truth is that the only giant robot in the movie itself is one that lays dormant on the ground. Instead the movie uses set up and suspense to pull the wool over our eyes. There is very little action and yet by the end of it you feel like you've seen a fair bit of it. The grungey, industrial set design and atmosphere do wonders in keeping it all together and the ludicrously heightened soundtrack lifts it up into that classic Charles Band B-Movie stratosphere. Upon it's release the title was changed in many territories to ROBOT JOX 2 in an attempt to capitalise on the success of Stuart Gordon's film (produced by Band). There is NO correlation between the two movies and so if you find ROBOT JOX 2 in a box set collection, go ahead and watch it. Heaps of fun.