We've talked about the toughest scifi soldiers, but those were made out of blood, muscle and bone. What about their robotic counterparts? It's goes without saying that if the Bot Army met the Meat Popsicle Army, the robots would clean house. If you had access to unlimited funds and a lot of time-traveling doohickeys, then you'd want to put together a lineup like our dream team robot army. We've assembled them below for your pleasure.
Big Guy: If you haven't read Frank Miller and Geof Darrow's Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot oversized graphic extravaganza, then you need to go out and pick it up right now. We'll wait. Ready? Okay. Big Guy is an over-armed, over-achieving battletank complete with his own boy scout do-gooder companion, Rusty. Now, the secret is that Big Guy is actually pilot by Lieutenant Dwayne Hunter, so he's not really a sentient robot. However, the world at large doesn't know this, and if you assemble a robot army, you're going to want to fight in it, right? Well, here's your e-ticket. We'd take him over Voltron or the Power Rangers megabot any day.
Maxmillian from Disney's The Black Hole: This blood red robot could hover and had whirling blades at the ends of his arms... what's not to love? Sure he had good old laser blasters, but when he could turn your guts into a blended smoothie, who cared about guns? His ominous, scary head terrified me as a kid, and he'll do the same to human ground troops. Just keep him away from circular saws and other cutting tools.Oh, he also serves as a handy storage device for deposed megalomaniacs as well, in case you find yourself needing that sort of thing.
Nixon from Hard Boiled: Geof and Frank also collaborated on the amazing Hard Boiled, which features more destruction and mayhem than a Michael Bay movie, all in intricately drawn in Geof Darrow's "obsessive attention to detail" style. Armed with just a handgun and his bare (later robotic) fists, Nixon cleaves his way through just about everything you can imagine, including giant barreling cars and a dog with laser beams for eyes.
The Iron Giant in KickAss Mode: Have you seen The Iron Giant? This sadly unappreciated film was directed by Brad Bird for Warner Bros. animation, and really deserved a larger audience. The quirky 1950s retro-setting was perfect for this story about a lost alien robot superweapon who winds up on Earth and wants to be Superman. Of course, when he went haywire and turned into a giant gun that could take out anything, that's when he was at his most awesome. Of course, the movie wanted you to think that was bad, but we think it's incredible. Bring on the big guns!
The Robot from Lost in Space: He may not have had a name (although his crate said ONE General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental ROBOT, so he might have been GUNTER), but he was loyal, always at the ready, and able to shout "Danger!" whenever something alarming was about to happen. Plus he was a perfect foil for that nebbishy Doctor Smith. Now, the Lost in Space movie might not have thrilled everyone (I actually enjoyed it), but the updated Robot in that (with the same voice) was a badass with plasma blasters attached. Both versions had treads, waving arms, and a giant round head. What more can you ask for? Well, step one would be to order him to destroy Matt LeBlanc.
The Terminator from The Terminator: You can't really make a list of badass robots without including the Terminator, but which model do you pick? All of them? Only one? The T-1000? The Arnie models? The Summer Glau-bot? We have to go with the original from the first movie, because he was much grittier, to the point, and without a sense of humor. Plus he could growl out "Fuck you, asshole" better than any of the other models, who apparently had their language sanitized.
Soundwave from The Transformers: Screw Optimus Prime and Megatron, even though either one would be a more powerful, logical choice. No, we like Soundwave because of his awesome voice. Who didn't want to talk like an old-school Cylon? Plus he could transform into a Walkman and fool all of your friends. Plus the cassettes became his recon sidekicks. The toy was a lot more heavily armed than the version in the cartoon, and a lot more badass. He had a microphone that could turn into a missile launcher. What more do you need? "RAVAGE, EJECT. OPERATION: ASS-KICKING."
The Gunslinger from WestWorld: There is probably nothing scarier than a relentless Yul Brynner-bot without a face chasing after you relentlessly. Except maybe two of them. Just like the Terminator he never got tired, had a fast-walking pace that never faltered, and was always ready to blow your head off. Yul Brynner's own face was steely enough to be frightening, but once his own face popped off exposing the transistors and wires beneath he was nightmare-inducing.
The Killbots from Chopping Mall: Originally released as Killbots, this Roger Corman produced film features three security robots going haywire in a mall in California and chopping everyone into shreds. Plus they had those creepy Cylon-esque red eyes which just meant they were up to no good. Strangely, it'd didn't do too well as Killbots, but they released it again as Chopping Mall, and it brought in some bucks. Not a blockbuster, to be sure, but check out what a gory name change can do. These are the guys you'd want on the front lines, cutting through the infantry so the big guns can sit back and wait.
Ultron from Marvel Comics: Not only is Ultron one of the most ultimate killing robots ever devised, he also has a grinning visage that will scare the crap out of you just by seeing it. Granted, he was a bit unstable and the Avengers seemed to have no problem taking him down again and again, and he was even created by one of their own. However, if you can get past his epithet shouting, revenge driven programming, he'd make a good asset to have if you ever need to talk someone to death.
Mechagodzilla: You've got to have one giant weapon you keep in reserve, ready to bust out and make everyone pee their pants just when the time is right. Who better than Mechagodzilla to do that? In fact, trot him out in his Godzilla disguise first, and then you have people thinking "Oh crap, it's Godzilla!" Then once they think they've defeated him, but actually just destroyed his fake Godzilla skin, you've got people thinking "Oh crap, it's Mechagodzilla! Screw it, we surrender." Built by aliens, he's a badass robo-copy of Japan's mightiest protector.
Major Motoko from Ghost in the Shell: If you ever want to see a woman take on a tank all by herself with nothing more than an automatic rifle, then look no further. Sure, she's a cyborg with some cloaking technology, but that hardly makes her any less badass. As a field commander on the ground, Motoko could issue commands and kick ass at the same time. Of course, she'll also obsessively leave the field to follow up on Puppetmaster clues and hints, but that might be a small price to pay for her skills.
HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey: You'd need someone to run the numbers and come up with strategies while all the fighting was going on, and who better than good old, red-eyed HAL back at the base crunching scenarios? Of course, the downside is that is things start looking like they might threaten HAL at all, he'll pull the plug on everyone else to save himself. However, he'd explain it to you in that calm, easy cadence, so you probably wouldn't mind at all.
The fodder: You're going to need drones for target practice, and something to give training sessions a bit of a kick, so here's our list of robots best suited for target duty.
- Johnny Five from Short Circuit: This guy couldn't kick any ass, so make him zip back and forth in a shooting gallery style and let your 'bots with distance weapons take shots at him.
- David from A.I.: If you want to train your bots on how to capture kids and hold them for ransom, use good old David-bot and his Teddy for some games of hide and seek in urban settings. Just be gentle, because the kid could hardly eat spinach, let alone take a pulse-rifle blast to the spine.
- V.I.N.C.E.N.T. from The Black Hole: Okay, I'll say it here, I have a true soft spot for this movie, and for V.I.N.C.E.N.T. However, he wouldn't have been too effective as a soldier (unless you had just offed his buddy B.O.B... continually), so if you put him out to pasture for target practice, at least he'd be doing some good. Sorry, little buddy *sniff*.
- C3P0 from Star Wars: R2D2 may be useful enough to keep around in an engineering or repair bay somewhere, but C3P0 was useless. No speed, no weapons, and a mouth that wouldn't quit? Use him for hand-to-hand combat training and see how many languages he can say "Not in the face!" in.
- Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation: Come on, how annoying did this guy get? Surround him in an open field and let the whole crew go to town. Keep spare parts around so you can repeat this over and over.
This post has been purposefully left Cylon-free. We just talk about our love/hate relationship with that show too damn much!