DIRECTOR: David Chung (with Tsui Hark uncredited)
CAST: Tsui Hark, Tony Leung, Sally Yeh
YEAR: 1988
LANGUAGE: Cantonese
RUNTIME: 96 min

DATE: February 15th, 2017
VENUE: The Royal Cinema
FORMAT: Digital Print

Hong Kong cinema is rarely celebrated for their forays into science fiction, but we at THE LASER BLAST FILM SOCIETY love when the delirious action and spectacle of a flying swordsman flick is applied to flying motorcycles and rocket-launching robots and fortunately, Hong Kong's brilliant, and oft demented auteur Tsui Hark (ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA) delivers on this prospect in spades with the exceedingly entertaining ROBOFORCE.

Also known as I LOVE MARIA (the film was initlaly conceived as an homage to the robotic Maria from Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS), the story concerns a villanous group of bank robbers - the self-proclaimed "Hero Gang" - and their efforts to build two robots to perform their evil bidding. The first is a hulking red-eyed metal monster, while the other is an eerie duplicate of the Gang Leader's sister Maria (Sally Yeh). As the fates would have it, the robot Maria is discovered by two bumbling losers (Tsui Hark and John Shum), as well a handsome photographer (Tony Leung), and it all gets hilariously convoluted from there the film ricochets between assassination plots, goofy slapstick episodes and legitimately endearing romance.

It's the same brand of manic "anything goes" storytelling that Laser Blasters should recognize from last year's FUTURE COPS screening, though delivered with a far defter touch by Tsui Hark, and credited director/cinematographer David Chung.