Revenge of Robert
Looking at the cover of the Revenge of Robert, you can see they’re trying to strike a balance between the imagery of the Anabelle films and the newer Child’s Play remake. I don’t know this series, I didn’t see the previous installments, (although we do get a quick recap with a few flashbacks at the beginning of the movie) but for my money, this feels more like a puppet master movie then either of the popular killer doll ones. Perhaps it’s the setting, more and more, the puppet master films are increasingly set in World War II, and the juxtaposition of hard plastic, eccentric scientists and Nazis… Well let’s face it, that’s Charles Bands current formula for puppet master in a nutshell!
We have a toy maker who is in possession of a mystic book… and the Nazis want it. He flees, and the book makes it to a train to try and escape their clutches, but the Nazis are relentless and as they draw closer, a toy maker must resort to the last weapon in his arsenal… He must awaken the killer puppets and their comrade Robert.
The problem with doing killer puppet movies on a budget, is that these things are hard! It takes and a enormous amount of effort to manipulate and photograph a sinister puppet… even more so if you’re trying to do it with a sense of personality. What you really need are very charismatic actors who can carry the film while still making it a treat every time the puppet shows up on screen. This is actually a big problem and a lot of the middle series puppet master movies actually. We’d see less and less of the puppet some selves, more reused footage, and blander characters. The same thing happens here. While we get our nice montage of puppet mayhem at the very beginning of the movie, we don’t actually get even a glimpse of Robert again until about 40 minutes in… well into the second act, and it appears to be yet another flashback.
The puppets are finally unleashed on the train and begin killing around the 50 minute mark, which is something, considering this movie is only 80 minutes long. They’re creepy enough, but the fact that I’ve had to wait this long, means the film has already kind of lost me. Indeed, the first half of the films almost seems unrelated… as if they tried to smash to shorts together to create a feature.
My advice is that you started out around the seventh or eighth chapter, just past the halfway point and enjoy it as just that… A nice, robust short film, with a good 35 minutes worth of action. I’d also so lean more on it as a horror edged World War II film, because even in this last half of the movie you’re not gonna see a lot of puppet action… Which is a shame. What little we see ( not even 5% of the film ) is nicely done, but it absolutely leaves you waiting for a lot more.