• Attack Of The Robots (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: July 16th, 2019.
    Director: Jess Franco
    Cast: Eddie Constantine, Françoise Brion, Sophie Hardy, Vicente Roca, Fernando Rey
    Year: 1966
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    Attack Of The Robots – Movie Review:

    Jess Franco’s Attack Of The Robots (also known as Cartes sur Table) opens in Buenos Aires where an international diplomat is assassinated at a black tie affair. After that, a high-ranking bishop is assassinated at an Amsterdam airport. Elsewhere, in Finland, a half dozen politicians are shot down in cold blood. These murders were all carried out by dark skinned men donning black shades and dapper outfits. One of the assassins (Ramón Centenero) is caught by the authorities and brought in for questioning but he won’t talk. When he attempts to escape, he’s shot dead by a guard and his skin almost instantly changes color – odd.

    Baxter (Alfredo Mayo), a dashing Interpol agent, discovers that the dead assassin is actually an American missing for over a year formerly employed as a mechanic. Curious, Baxter runs some blood tests and gets unusual results, sending him on a quest to uncover the truth behind this. The more he looks into it, the more he’s able to tie the assassinations to missing people - and that all of them have rhesus zero blood. Knowing that one-time Interpol agent Al Peterson (Eddie Constantine, whose character is named Al Pereira in the French language track included on this Blu-ray) has the same blood, Baxter talks him into helping him crack the case. One big payment later and Al has left for Alicante where he’s impersonating a boxing promotor and becomes concerned when a Chinese national named Lee Wee (Vicente Roca) offers him twice as much money to complete the job that Baxter hired him to do. Soon enough, Al has hit it off with gorgeous chanteuse Cynthia Lewis (Sophie Hardy) and found a few more dead assassins on his trail – while a small cadre of those in Wee’s employ skulk about, clearly with ill intent.

    Very nicely shot by Antonio Macasoli, Attack Of The Robots is pretty fun stuff. Franco’s penchant for quirky characters and situations is on full display and, of course, his knack for filling his films with alluring temptresses of all shapes and sizes. The requisite night club scenes are here, as you’d expect (complete with a cameo from the director himself as a piano player) and the whole thing oozes with that weird atmosphere that makes so many of his pictures as enjoyable as they are. This lets us look past the fact that the story is fairly riddled with clichés. Even with that complaint levied at the picture, it’s a very entertaining watch thanks to its quick pacing, exotic locations and a fine score from composer Paul Misraki that suits the jazzy tone of the picture quite well.

    Performance wise, we’re in very fine form. Alfredo Mayo, recognizable from Voodoo Black Exorcist and My Dear Killer, does a fine job as the Interpol man who gets the ball rolling. While casting Vicente Roca as an Asian is a regrettable sign of the times in which the picture was made, he’s also fun to watch here. Sophie Hardy is a complete dish and a welcome addition to the cast, while Mara Laso and the lovely Françoise Brion fill out the female side of the cast with aplomb. Fernando Rey shows up in a supporting role too, always fun, but the real star of the show is, of course, Eddie Constantine. Made a year after his iconic turn in Alphaville, he still brings that rough and tumble charm and convincing tough guy screen presence to the film in a big way and he’s genuinely solid in the lead role.

    Attack Of The Robots – Blu-ray Review:

    Kino Lorber brings Attack Of The Robots to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.66.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. The ninety-two-minute feature takes up just over 19GBs of space on the disc and, as such, has a decent (though less than amazing) bit rate but there are some noticeable macroblocking issues evident in some of the darker scenes. Aside from that problem, the transfer is quite good. The transfer is clean and crisp with good black levels and perfectly fine contrast. The detail is solid and there’s a fair bit of depth and texture here.

    French and English language options are provided in LPCM 2.0 Mono tracks with English subtitles available that translate the French track. Worth noting is that there are a few seconds in the film where the English track reverts to the French language option. The English track also has a bit of hiss in a few spots – never really too distracting, but it’s there. The French track sounds a bit cleaner here.

    The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary track from Tim Lucas who does his typically fine job of covering all the bases. He spends a good bit of time discussing the life and times of Eddie Constantine but also covers pretty much all of the supporting players as well. He puts the film into context alongside a few of the other films that Franco was cranking out during this period, talks about why it was done in black and white, explores its distribution history, details the score and more.

    Additionally, the disc includes a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection.

    Attack Of The Robots – The Final Word:

    Attack Of The Robots might be rife with clichés and a bit on the predictable side and Kino’s presentation is imperfect what with the macroblocking and all, but there’s still a lot of entertainment value to be culled from this one. It’s a slick film with a strong cast and Eddie Constantine's lead performance is great – all in all, a really fun watch for fans of sixties Eurocult weirdness!

    Click on the images below for full sized Attack Of The Robots Blu-ray screen caps!