The Gunslinger Outdraws Every Other Killer Robot

Illustration for article titled The Gunslinger Outdraws Every Other Killer Robot

Throughout history, there have been many cool killer robots, but one stands bald head and shoulders above all the rest. Ladies and gentlemen, raise your glasses and draw your weapons; the Gunslinger is in town.


As we mentioned the other day, the Gunslinger - Westworld's most deadly robot-gone-wrong - has many qualities about him to admire, not least of which his unerring aim and lack of stress under fire (literally); his was a coolness so great that he even managed to survive the far inferior Futureworld without losing his credibility. But let's be honest, there's one particular reason why he remains one of the greatest killer robots ever to appear on the silver screen: He was first.


By now, the idea of a killer robot that is unstoppable, silent, deadly and looks just like us has been done to death, but Yul Brynner's 1973 robotic lawman was the template for all that followed, and done so straight - because he was meant to be threatening, not post-ironic or ready with a catchphrase or quip at the appropriate time - that he remains scary to this day. Especially if you have a fear of The Magnificent Seven.

Westworld may not have aged well - Those hairstyles! That by-now overly-familiar stock Michael Crichton plot! - but Brynner's Gunslinger manages to sidestep everything with his timeless, "What if Johnny Cash was a stone cold killer?" look and deliberately emotionless performance. Yes, there have been faster robots, stronger robots, even more deadly robots. But I'm not sure that there has ever been a flat-out cooler killer robot. Here's to you, Gunslinger. Now, please: Just put that gun down and let's talk this over.


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Oh yeah. Arnold's Terminator owes an obvious debt to the gunslinger, especially in the final sequence in which it keeps on coming even after its human facade has been shredded . . . .