Friday, March 29, 2013

Franco Friday #38 - Attack of the Robots

Franco Friday #38 - Attack of the Robots

This was really tough for me. I really, really wasn't in the mood for this film at all. Yes, even I am not in the mood for fun, adventure, and silly times once in a while. Excuse me for livin'!

Attack of the Robots
AKA Cartes sur Table
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Eddie Constantine, Francoise Brion, Fernando Rey, Mara Laso, Dina Loy, Sophie Hardy
89 minutes

A series of assassinations of ambassadors from all over the world are committed by some very strange, dark-skinned men (and women!). The police manage to capture one of the assailants and try to question him but he is unsresponsive. The suspect tries to flee and the cops gun him down. As he dies, his skin changes from black to white. As more and more of these assassins are caught, the police discover that the only thing these random men (and women!) have in common is an abnormality in their blood called "Rhesus zero". Is your pseudo-science alarm going off yet?

Interpol decide to pick one of their agents with "Rhesus zero" and send them out into the field as bait. They get former secret agent, Al Peterson (played by Eddie Constantine), to go down to Spain to try and lure the baddies out. Down in Spain, under the pseudonym Frank Froiba(?), Peterson meets the lovely Cynthia Lews (Sophia Hardy), a striptease artist, but every time he makes a little time for her, some Mexican ruffian cock blocks him by insisting that they duke it out. Meanwhile, an evil Chinese syndicate led by Lee Wee (Vincente Roca) is out to kill Peterson because he refused to be their double agent.

Finally, Peterson catches Lady Cecilia Addington Courtney (played by Francoise Brion), the mastermind behind the assassinations, snooping around his hotel room. She is kidnapping people with "Rhesus zero" and turning them into robots. Evil organizations from all over the world pay her to send these automatons out to commit assassinations so that they can keep their hands from getting dirty. Can Peterson get to the bottom of this crazy plot without becoming a robot slave to Lady Cecilia himself?

You know what? You should just get naked now because this movie is about to charm your pants off. All the bad women in this wear vinyl, what's not to like? If you enjoyed such films as Kiss Me Monster or (to a lesser extent) The Girl from Rio, then you will love Attack of the Robots. Every cheesy gag, no matter how droll or eye roll-inducing, is thrown into the mix but this flick is never lazy or cynical. This is a fairly innocent romp (even the striptease is tasteful) with lots of action and laughs.

You know what I don't like about this movie? Eddie fucking Constantine! His bloated visage just rubs me the wrong way. Lucky for this guy, the movie is so fun that I kind of just got used to him so as not to spoil my enjoyment. He is described by his colleagues as being "full of vinegar" -I just assume this is some kind of urinary problem he has- and is always somewhere in the world with a sexy blond on his arm. A blond what?

You know wha- Oops, I can't start every paragraph with that. Um... The other thing I can complain about is the whole black-face bit. As to why the killer robots are made to look dark-skinned is baffling and fairly offensive. But it's just so damn weird, I have a feeling it may have actually been a statement against racism. But then again, the way Chinese are portrayed in this film kind of sucks too. And Mexicans. Shit, I got nothing. This is insanely politically incorrect, what can you do?

The print I'm watching is on Youtube and compressed all to fuck so let's hope that someday this film will resurface on DVD in a more watchable version. Even with the cruddy presentation, Attack of the Robots looks pretty damn good thanks to the camerawork of Antonio Macasoli (Grand Slam (you know, that one Blue Underground title you'll never watch)). Despite my complaints above, I highly recommend this one. Fun stuff.

"The roses and the gladiolas have been set in the vase at last. You can play the delicate melody but only in the minor key."

"There's a corpse in the bathtub. He's preventing me from taking a shower."


  1. It used to turn up fairly regularly on local late-night weekend TV, in the time slot generally allotted for horror/science fiction movies. The English language title makes it sound like sci-fi, although it's really more of a James Bond-type tongue-in-cheek spy adventure. (But then, the European titles translate as something like "Cards on the Table," which doesn't really describe it accurately, either.) I first saw it when I was in my early teens, and the main thing I remember was that Francoise Brion was hot. One complaint: it should have been in color. I've heard that the black & white gives it a film noir feel. That would be fine if the plot were about Francoise seducing Eddie to murder her husband (and make it look like an accident) so she could collect the insurance. But this movie isn't film noir, it's Eurospy.

  2. A review posted on imdb said that it was filmed in color, but was distributed in B&W everywhere except Spain.