Robocroc gets some hang time!
Robocroc! So much promise in that title, and yet what we get is a complete mess saved only by the high caliber actors being awesome. But sadly they are not awesome enough, and Robocroc becomes less worthy of your time. Recent SyFy films have focused on gimmick kills and ridiculous premises. Robocroc doesn’t really feature either of them, but they wouldn’t have helped, as the real problem is the confusion as to how the film is brought together. Minus commercials, it’s almost 29 minutes before we get a confirmed kill by Robocroc (though dialogue later establishes that other characters died. Characters we don’t see get killed!) One of the great pieces for advice for storytelling is “show, don’t tell”, and we should have seen the soldiers getting killed. Even if you avoided that, you could imply things enough that we knew the soldiers were getting killed. Instead, all that is shown is what looks like someone injured.
There was a famous story years ago about the formula for SyFy films (back when they were SciFi Channel films), and the rules included that we see the monster all the time and there needed to be a kill every few minutes to keep the audience interested. Robocroc violates the second rule, which is surprising for what looks like a film especially made for SyFy. I don’t fault a film for deviating from the established guidelines, but I prefer when films do, that they do so because it makes the film better. And while I was surprised several characters lived, the story didn’t really take any risks. But maybe I’m being too hard on Robocroc.
It’s fun watching Corin Nemec, Steven Hartley, and Dee Wallace act the crap around everyone else. What looks like a good chunk of the cast was hired locally wherever it was film (Bulgaria?), and a few of them are dubbed over and have the acting skills of paint drying. Yeah, I don’t know what that expression means, either, but it fits. Corin Nemec is awesome, obviously having a fun time being a cool zookeeper and completely avoids becoming a Steve Irwin clone, despite the hints from the script that it is what the writers had in mind. It is a good choice, allowing the character to be unique. Dee Wallace’s sinister scientist character makes you wonder just how far she’s willing to go to test her weapon. Then you watch her blow right past that and get even more evil. All she needed to be the most evil was to feed babies to Robocroc. Steven Hartley was just awesome, acting like a grizzled military commander who has probably fought all sorts of random robot monsters doing retrieval work.
Robocroc does get some props for calling out of the behavior of the creepy guy who is friends with Rob Duffy, every other character (except Rob) treats him like a horrible person, and Rob isn’t very fond of how Creepy Guy keeps getting him in trouble. Creepy Guy’s attempt to perv on some bikini babes gets him dunked into the pool. Later he gets grabby on the dance floor and that gets him locked in the bathroom. Creepy Guy is just a character you want to die. And the film teases and teases and then… Well, sometimes life ain’t fair!
Robocroc has a bit of social commentary on the use of drones/automated weapons. It seems to be against them, because they’ll turn into killing machines that will kill anyone.
Part of Robocroc‘s confusion is just what kind of park they are at. It looks like a random zoo, which is usually just a zoo. But in fact it’s part of a huge entertainment complex that is largely a water park and ATV range. We aren’t told this, we just suddenly cut to those things and wonder why Robocroc is running around there, until later in the film explaining it’s all part of the same complex. I guess they did show, not tell. But this could have been explained in a simple line of dialogue or even a voice announcement! Gah! Robogah!
Ah, man, EVERY waterslide in this park has a monster…
The rocket is launched! Abort abort abort!! Luckily the payload ejects, unluckily it lands in a zoo and a swarm of nanobots fly out and enter a nearby crocodile named Stella…
“What is that?” – A zookeeper named Chef upon seeing jet contrail in sky. Really?? Someone with a tin foil hat needs to explain to him about how the UN is poisoning us all because of Agenda 21 and the New World Order!
No time for that, Stella suddenly moves super fast and knocks down a fence and chases the chubby Chef all across the zoo – which apparently has no one else in it. Also, there is a section with a sign called “Birds of Prey” and lots of birds attack Chef as he runs through it. No fences or cages or anything. This is a weird zoo. Chef hides in a sewer pipe. The birds do not attack Robocroc, for those of you wondering if we suddenly were in Birdemic 3.
Jim Duffy arrives at work and his boss Mr. Marshall takes him and new biologist Jane Spencer over to meet the huge amount of government troops and agents who arrived on site while explaining about Stella being loose. There is typical posturing from military not wanting the zookeepers involved until Jim Duffy and Jane Spencer manage to scare them into letting them help subdue the crocodile before they search for their downed spaceship debris.
Jim Duffy hits Stella with a tranq dart, and she should be out for an hour. Thanks to Monster-Vision, we see that Stella has now gotten Terminator-style information updates and her nervous system is being rebooted. Jim and Jane spend this time trying to find out what happened to Chef. They also find some of Stella’s skin that has become metallic. The model for Robocroc/Stella becomes less organic and more metallic as the movie continues. This is a nice touch, but unfortunately it’s not clear right away that it is what is happening. Stella awakens and attacks some of the soldiers around her. All we see is a guy who is injured later getting medical help, so there is no confirmed Robocroc kill yet.
Duffy is confused that Stella woke up so quickly. The government people have already figured out the crocodile is different and is their target, though they continue to conceal information from Jim Duffy.
Also the zoo also has a huge water park filled with hot college kids in bikinis who are partying at 10am like all college kids do. Including Jim Duffy’s son Rob Duffy and his creepy friend Hud. Hud uses his cell phone to film some hot girls in bikinis. This is less than humorous to their two dubbed boyfriends, who proceed to toss Rob and Hud into the pool in a protest against r/creepshots.
Social justice, thy name is Robocroc!
Jim and Jane spot Chef trapped in tunnel below the lion pit where the lion, named Berlisconi of course, and Robocroc are both hanging out. Duffy and Jane go to rescue him to get Chef’s set of keys because Duffy forgot his keys at home. Of all the days to have a terrible hangover…. Robocroc attacks the lion as Chef is saved. Poor Berlisconi, but amazing that Chef lived. Double amazing considering he was wearing crocs at the beginning of the film and they even joked about his shoes angering Stella.
Duffy then hits on Jane for a while, showing his crocodile bite scars in one of those scar comparing scenes that are all the rage in movies.
Because of all the water being connected in this entertainment complex due to water recycling, Robocroc can go anywhere. So she goes to a calm lake where people are fishing and Robocrocks a drunken fisherman (aka a normal fisherman) with out first confirmed on camera kill, 29 minutes in!
Rob and Hud dance it up, with Hud grabbing and grinding on the hot women and become a nuisance. So much so that the dubbed boyfriends grab the two and throw them in a bathroom and lock the doors. Hud delivers some terrible lines in response.
This zoo has an ATV track? Excuse me, this Entertainment Complex has an ATV track? Yes it does, and two ATV riders get Robocrocked!
Despite the danger and the army and the knowledge that Robocroc could be anywhere in the entertainment complex, no one has bothered to make all the customers leave.
Robocroc attacks the 10am dance party at the water slides! Screams and terror and many many dead lying bloody by the pools. The entertainment complex then goes into lockdown mode, slamming shut gates and trapping people inside. This has lawsuit written all over it. The only people we see locked inside after the sequence are the two hot bikini girls and the two social justice bros. Sydney is the bikini girl with the realistic blonde hair, while the one with the obvious dye-job doesn’t rate a spoken name. Neither do the two bros, and while Dye-Job is obviously in love with her boyfriend, Sydney doesn’t express excess physical displays of affection. Which is good, because the bro she’s connected with gets Robocrocked! The best part is her friends let her cry while they get all huggy snuggly for a bit before Dye-Job finally decides to comfort her. They let Rob and Hud out of the locked bathroom (which probably saved their life) to have Rob help them escape, as they know his dad works here due to prior dialogue.
I’ve worked at several jobs where I don’t think I could tell you the emergency exits, and they were in buildings nowhere near the size of this Entertainment Complex. But I get lost in my own house.
Colonel Montgomery wants to kill Robocroc, but Dee Wallace is like “NO! Take it alive!” Colonel needles her by saying she wanted this to happen, but she says she was denied a field test, but hey, free test, and she won’t pass it by.
Despite a long scene saying the military won’t explain the top secret stuff to Jim and Jane, they explain it in the very next scene. These nanobots were designed to go behind enemy lines, fine a host, do objectives. But this test only had the basic objective “survive”. Which Robocroc seems to be doing very well.
A helicopter arrives. Countdown until the helicopter is destro– Hey, Robocroc destroyed it before I could even finish typing that sentence!
Colonel Montgomery’s new plan is to zap the lake with a giant electric pulse, which shuts down Robocroc.
Huzzah, we’re done! They send some dudes to go collect Robocroc’s body, except they don’t, and the audience wonders why we still have 30 minutes to go…
Rob finally calls his dad and lets him know he’s in the park.
Dr. Riley reboots Robocroc with her iPad, and the zoo manager gets Robocrocked! Dye-Job gets Robocrocked! Rob, Hud, Sydney, and Surviving Social Justice Bro get on ATVs and outrun Robocroc. Then they decide to go to top of waterslide because Robocrocs can’t climb. Where did you hear that, Rob? Also we saw Robocroc jump up and knock down a helicopter, so Rob’s plan will end up with someone dead. Probably the character who doesn’t have a name!
The army won’t help rescue Rob because the operation is over with Robocroc being shut down. Even though Robocroc isn’t shut down and they haven’t collected the body. This is just a lazy excuse to keep the kids in danger so there can be more victims. And it works, because the 100% robot Robocroc climbs up the water slide and chomps on the surviving Social Justice Bro. I would like to point out that all these characters deserve to die for enjoying their ride down the water slide while a robotic crocodile is attacking it far too much.
Jim Duffy will take an EMP close to Robocroc to stop it, and use his crocodile knowledge skills to track Robocroc. Also a lot of army guys come along so they can get eaten. Except they don’t and they disappear, forcing Jim and Colonel Montgomery to go down in the sewer by themselves. And then split up. Have you seen any movie ever???
Somehow Rob, Hud, and Sydney are also in the sewer, because they got lost. Now, I’ve been lost in my own house, but never so lost I was in the sewer. Okay, maybe four times, but never while a robotic crocodile was loose! Hud hurts his foot… yes…kill him… KILL HIM!!!
Jim finds his son and friends in the sewer – “What in a croc’s cooche are you doing here?” This is the best line in the movie. It deserves to be a famous line, if only the rest of Robocroc could handle it.
Jane catches Dr Riley helping Robocroc, so Dr. Riley punches her in the throat! They both run in the sewer and fight. Colonel Montgomery gets Robocrocked! He’s just injured, and blows himself up to damage Robocroc
It doesn’t work.
Dr. Riley now shooting at Jim Duffy, until Jane knocks her down. Robocroc chomps on Dr. Riley and Jim tosses the EMP.
Kaboozo!!!!! You just got EMPWNED, Robocroc!!
Robocroc is dead, time to go home, and Jim Duffy is even going to give his son “a moment alone with the hottie.” Sydney thanks Rob and he asks her out. Also Jim Duffy and Jane are a couple as well.
So the way to a girl’s heart is to save her from a Robocroc. Remember that, lonely people!
And we end on a poop joke from Hud….
Rated 4/10 (Chef, discarded skin, infected cells, scar show-and-tell)
Please give feedback below!