Isn’t it fascinating that something so tremendously destructive as killer robots can at the same time be so ludicrously simple? Just think about it, if you want to stop them all you have to do is get to their CPU, and they are dead in the water. But to get to it first you have to raze a whole city block!
Killer robots in science fiction movies don’t tire, they don’t pause to catch a breath, get a snack, wee, tie a shoelace.
There is this image I’m sure you’re all familiar with of a robot in close-up which is coming at us.
His legs a trailing mess of crushed wires aglow with electric discharge, his face a burnt ruin of craggy metallic plates – out of this stark inhuman visage glower a pair of pitiless X-ray eyes – and yet for all the damage Mr. Metallo has sustained, he keeps flailing his arms and crawling closer and closer.
You can shoot ’em, stab ’em, burn ’em… you break them to sub-atomic particles, and they will keep coming at you until the moment their cold titanium fingers lock around your neck, or the algorithm that’s running them is replaced.
Despite what some might think, killer robots in science fiction movies, and real-life – especially in real life!!! – are usually not the product of some mad scientist who, unbeknownst to his neighbors, works at his sinister brainchild in a moldy cellar, shunned by men (and rejected by women).
Nope! As a matter of fact, they are a product of perfectly sensible scientific minds who work for the government, or the military, and are merely carrying out orders issued by the same kind of sensible people in suits, or uniforms, who are out to protect us, tax-paying citizens, from some unimaginable menace, which comes in the form of a rogue state abroad, or an underground movement bent on havoc and anarchy at home. All perfectly sensible, all perfectly justified.
One more thing, when we talk about robots-that-do-kill we are not talking about a household appliance that has gone out of whack because your not-yet-broken chihuahua mistook it for a tree. We are talking about machines that are designed and programmed for one purpose alone – search and destroy. What could be scarier than THAT?
Here are a few killer robots from science fiction movies. Some totally badass, some quite charming! All deadly and efficient.
Hector from Saturn 3 (1980)
Hector from Saturn 3 has a robust body with a tiny head and unfortunately captain Benson for a mentor.
While still at a programming stage, he downloads busloads of data straight from the captain’s brain, including feelings, memories, and desires Benson himself has no control of.
Which turns the ill-fated robot into a hopeless nut case.
Killer robots – here they come!
The Gunslinger from Westworld (1973)
The gunslinger from the movie Westworld is not your basic cowboy. This android is the biggest draw of the western world – A place built to recreate the spirit of the Wild West as part of a high-end futuristic amusement park named Delos. A perfect vacation spot if you are in the mood for some adventure, horseback riding, and, of course, shooting.
Our silver-eyed gunman is programmed to challenge visitors and face them in a gunfight in the middle of the street or local saloon. Built-in fail-safe systems tend to make this an unjust confrontation.
Naturally, the customer always wins. You can kill the robot countless times – the repair people will bring him back to life during the night and prepare him for the next day’s ordeal.
Unexpected computer virus shifts the odds in the robot’s favor and a customer who comes looking for fun can just as easily find himself in the world of pain. Using his enhanced vision the gunslinger will track the hapless victim down with a vengeance. If he catches up with him, he will resolve the dispute in the most predictable way.
So what options and survival tactics are there?
– Accepting the gunfight is a bad idea, he is way faster than you are.
– You can run, but you can not hide – he has quite a memory – so you just have to outsmart this fella.
– Acid and flame will definitely come in useful – if there is any on hand, that is.
The gunslinger was based on Chris, a hired gun from the classic western The Magnificent Seven, also played by Yul Brinner – in for a penny, in for a pound.
Sentinels from The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions (1999/2003)
Sentinels, or the “squids”, are among the most efficient killer robots in the SF movie land, but unfortunately for the folks in the Matrix universe, they play for the other team. Whereas the infamous agents “guard” the virtual world from intruders, the sentinels are stationed in the cold and bleak real world with much the same task.
They are designed and made, in vast numbers, by other fellow machines with a special job in mind – eradicating the last pockets of human resistance.
The sentinels move along long-abandoned sewers in search of human-manned hovercraft, or when necessary they come together to form an army which, like a swarm of locusts, destroys Zion – the last human city on Earth deep underground – time and again.
The first time these killer robots show up on the screen, although the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar holds their breaths in darkness and silence, they do not seem all that lethal.
They glide through the air stopping from time to time to sweep the area with their long tentacles. But we do not have to wait long to discover the full range of their capabilities.
They can punch holes with their energy beams and tear apart ships with mighty claws in search of human flesh, which they instantly crush and destroy. They can also launch a small pod that acts like a guided missile.
Against these killer robots little can be done.
An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) – can destroy them, but the flip side is that it knocks out for a while the human defenses too.
One on one few rounds of big, mean big caliber ammunition can be deadly, but it is not much good against them when they come in great numbers.
However, if the chosen One happens to be around his mental powers will do the deed.
And some more killer robots…
Box from Logan’s Run (1976)
If ever there was a lonely robot who has outlived his purpose, but who despite this thought very highly of himself, Box would have to be that.
Maybe it is true what they say about robots with short names. The shorter the name, the bigger the ego. 🙂
He is quite a contradiction. He appreciates beauty and art, even creates some of his own, but compassion is not among his stronger points.