#4. The SAINT Robots (Short Circuit)
Johnny 5 from Short Circuit was actually Strategic Artificial Intelligence Nuclear Transport number 5. Surprisingly, he was the least useless shit robot of the bunch. He had life going for him, and a family-friendly sense of humor. The rest were like little Henry Kissinger's on treads.
Designed to be soldiers and transport nuclear devices, the mind boggles at the potential horrors involved in that scenario if a lightning blast managed to fuck one up so badly it came to life. Your programming abilities have to be seriously lacking if that kind of shit happens. Worse, the remaining robots, that were apparently functioning normally, get reprogrammed into the Three Stooges in the span of about five minutes by Johnny 5.
Sure, he's a robot with some advanced abilities, so we can assume that the enemy, if they were to encounter one of these robots on the battlefield and, say, push it over then capture it, would have taken maybe as much as a week to make a Three Stooges bot out of it. It and its nuclear payload.
How the robots were intended to deliver nukes isn't made clear, but they really only seem capable of standard, remarkably unstealthy locomotion and can apparently be blown to pieces by regular munitions. According to the film, each robot costs $11 million, making one wonder how sending one of these little bastards with a nuke towards something would be more effective than say, a remote-controlled shopping cart with the same weapon stored inside.
#3. Jinx (Space Camp)
The movie Space Camp convinced every gullible kid in the mid-'80s that going to Space Camp would be the most awesomest thing ever, while never once mentioning that they'd most likely end up in Huntsville, Alabama, sharing a dorm with 40 other children suffering from intestinal cramping brought on by a diet of grits and freeze-dried ice cream.
The movie also gave us Jinx, a small, apparently sentient robot who exists for no discernible reason other than to initiate what would be, in reality, the worst public relation crisis any organization has ever faced by launching children into space.
Despite leading us to believe a shuttle only takes a handful of children and a malfunctioning '80s robot to launch, the film raises a number of other questions. Mainly, who thought it would be a good idea to program a robot with all of the technical know-how to launch a shuttle, but to give it the wide-eyed personality and intelligence of a toddler?
Having artificial intelligence is all fine and good, but ideally you want to give your creation the ability to consider at least one of the hundreds upon hundreds of horrifying consequences that could occur as a result of its actions, before you let it roam around the rocket-controlling computers all willy-nilly.
#2. Box (Logan's Run)
Logan's Run provided the public with not just a robot named Box, but a robot that was actually made from boxes with some kick-ass futuristic tin foil tossed in for good measure, plus some flexy vent pipe the producer's probably stole from a discarded dryer. Robotics is just that easy.
Box's job was apparently to freeze food, which seems easy if you live in a giant freezer. Most of the work is probably done for you. But even in this Box somehow fails, and instead, he just starts freezing people, possibly with that Braun hand blender and caulking gun, or whatever it is he's outfitted with.
When the shit hits the fan and Logan has to throw down against Box, who would have guessed that his wobbly, slinky-covered-in-tin foil arms didn't quite have the fortitude to put up much of a fight?
Watch in dismay as, even before the fight starts, the cold apparently affects Box's wicked arthritis and his left hand loses its grip, dropping its prop gun to the ground. Even with the addition of maniacal, drunkard laughter, we're left to wonder what the hell Box was good for.
#1. The Sentinels (the Matrix Trilogy)
In the world outside the Matrix, the machines use Sentinel robots to kill those dirty buggers from Zion. Failing to learn from Skynet's mistake with the T-1000, once again the machines failed to create something that could kill people at a reasonable distance. Like, you know, a number of machines that exist today.
Judging from the climactic invasion of Zion in the third Matrix film, this vast intelligence intended to wipe out mankind entirely with hand-to-hand combat. No awesome lasers or face-melting technology, just slinky arms and the occasional giant drill. Their main plan of attack seems to be squiggling about in mid-air while being shot at and occasionally stabbing at people once they get in reach.
Watching the thousands of sentinels flailing around during the final attack, it appears the machines could have won the battle if they'd just aimed their tens of thousands of soldiers with, well, any kind of weapon. Some old civil war muskets they pillaged from a museum, or a basket of heavy rocks. It's not like the humans were wearing helmets or anything.
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