Studio: North Bank Entertainment
Director: Andrew Jones
Writer: Andrew Jones
Producer: Lee Bane, Andrew Jones, Robert Graham, Jonathan Willis, Rebecca Graham
Stars: Lee Bane, Harriet Rees, Judith Haley, Gareth Lawrence, Eloise Oliver, Derek Nelson, Darren Swain, David Imper, Lee Mark Jones, David Lyndon, Josephine Partridge
Nazi officers continue their pursuit of an occult tome used by a toymaker to bring dolls to life.
My psychiatrist might be displeased to discover I apparently hate myself so much, I’d willingly watch a fourth ‘Robert the Doll’ moviedespite the first three charting a nosedive arc of progressively worsening quality. I’m not at all stunned that “The Revenge of Robert” continues the series’ trashy tradition of terribleness. But I am bummed that the movie’s bland brand of awfulness won’t let me have fun with free flowing sarcasm while writing this review. I’m simply annoyed at the limp flick’s astounding ineptness.
What I can’t comprehend about North Bank Entertainment’s micro productions is how they continue to thud at the absolute bottom of the indie horror barrel. North Bank has been pumping out formulaic features since 2012, yet they continue to look like the work of completely clueless greenhorns. Law of averages suggests they should have stumbled into some semblance of cinematic competency on accident by now. How is it possible for experience to continually yield results this regressive?
To get a sense of the story’s stupidity, let’s break down each scene. Or as many as I can manage before realizing my time is worth more than this movie deserves and giving up.
“The Revenge of Robert” opens with SS Officer Dietrich visiting the home of occultist Joseph, who possesses a spell book that can put life into inanimate objects. Joseph demonstrates on a doll that sits up and turns its head. Dietrich seems to think, “a sentient kid’s toy will certainly turn the war in Hitler’s favor,” and strikes a deal to come back for the book later.
Dietrich could take it now, since when he returns he just shoots Joseph in the head anyway, but he has to leave an opportunity for Joseph’s abused wife Eva to steal the book and go on the run. We know Eva is abused because when Dietrich inquires about the bruises on her face, Eva assures him she merely “fell down the stairs.” Joseph also puts his hands around her throat afterward and demands that she “bring (him) a sandwich.”
I don’t take issue with these German characters speaking English. I take issue with the words out of their mouths being the most clichéd contemporary conveyances possible.
Get used to dumb dialogue though, because “The Revenge of Robert” has plenty of it. I’d guesstimate maybe 65-70 minutes of this 80-minute flop focus on people talking. Titular Robert doesn’t even show up until over half of the movie has already been forgotten, and his first action is to play a dippy prank that involves stealing some guy’s silverware (this really happens).
But I’m jumping ahead. After stealing the book, Eva hits the road to flee from her abusive husband and his Nazi allies. You’d think she’d be wary of strange men given her history, yet she still stops for stranded motorist Frederick, who predictably takes her at gunpoint.
Following some inconsequential filler, which is a hallmark of the ‘Robert’ series, wouldn’t you know it, Eva’s car gets a flat tire. Luckily, she and Frederick coincidentally landed outside the home of Helmut, who eagerly offers assistance. Unluckily, Helmut turns out to actually be a Nazi colonel in disguise.
Now, Helmut could just kill Frederick and Eva and take the book, which is what he is there to do as part of his unnecessarily complicated scheme. But by posing as a rural farmer first, we’re subjected to another 12 minutes of time-killing chatter before the colonel puts a bullet in Frederick’s head, a shovel in Eva’s, and finally acquires the book.
Having arrived at the movie’s midpoint, the timeline jumps forward two years. That’s right, the preceding 38 minutes essentially serve as a pointless prologue. A quick montage now recounts how the occult book ended up in the toymaker’s hands during whatever the previous movie was called. Afterward, Colonel Nazi tasks an undercover operative with infiltrating a train to kill the toymaker and recover the stolen tome. Meanwhile in England, established by cutting to an envelope that reads “England,” a British official gives one of his operatives a similar assignment.
It’s amazing that military intelligence agencies from two different countries are capable of determining this old man’s travel plans, yet can come up with no better operation to assassinate/extricate him that doesn’t involve this passenger train. Is abducting him on the platform before the train departs too much of a risk? What about waiting until he arrives at his destination?
If there’s one thing we know about these Nazis, it’s that they love playing dress-up and doing more than it takes to get a simple job done. So the German agent boards the train and, rather than head straight through the cars looking for the conspicuous toymaker with yogurt skin and raw cotton hair, proceeds to pad the film further by first asking each passenger if he or she has seen the old weirdo. How efficient.
Hold up. What are we still doing here? This movie wasted enough time already. I shouldn’t waste more by continuing to pick apart its plentiful faults, flaws, and illogical plot points. Otherwise, I’d be here for another hour, roughly the same amount of time it took to toss “The Revenge of Robert” together.
If you’ve seen one of these Robert movies before, you already know what we’re working with, which is a lazy script, a lazy handheld camera, and a lazy excuse for a killer doll movie that barely includes 90 seconds of the killer doll. I’m mildly shocked that someone went through the trouble of acquiring period vehicles for one sequence when so little of the movie smacks of any effort at all.
Now I have to go make that therapy appointment to figure out why I keep choosing to watch these movies. Should I decide to punish myself with a fifth Robert film in the future, I only hope it comes with its own Hefty bag for convenient disposal. That way I can at least hide my shame of having watched it when the movie winds up in the trash.
Review Score: 15