A robber smashes a jewellery store window and begins to burgle the place. He's stopped in his tracks by a huge tank-like robot that shoots him dead with a mini-harpoon. "The End".

The above was a demonstrational short film shown to a bunch of mall storeowners by Secure-Tronics, a pompous American firm advertising the services of their newly developed Protector 101 robots.

The shop owners are sceptical - none more so than Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov in enjoyable cameos that unfortunately don't get expanded. But that's of little consequence: like it or not, they're told the robots will protect the store after hours, in 1 weeks' time.

Presentation head Simon (Paul Coufos) demonstrates how the robots are programmed to recognise mall employees' ID badges, and assures the collective that "absolutely nothing can go wrong"

Ahem. That is, until on the very first night of the robots' scheduled shift. Unfortunately an electrical storm causes a power surge in their control centre and results in them jerking into life, immediately killing their engineer.

Meanwhile, a bunch of reckless teenagers are oblivious to the pandemonium coming their way. They're too busy waiting for their store shifts to finish so they can meet at Furniture King for an out-of-hours party.

Among the revellers are waitresses Suzy (Barbara Crampton) and newbie Alison (Kelli Maroney), jocks Mike (John Terlesky) and Greg (Nick Segal), nerdy Ferdy (Tony O'Dell) and amazingly busty Leslie (Suzee Slater).

Their evening largely consists of drinking and dancing to awful funky 1980s songs. When the jocks start to get fresh, they move their women into the bedroom department of the store - the choice chat-up line being: Greg- "You smell like pepperoni" Suzy- "Well, if that's the way you feel" Greg- "Wait! I LIKE pepperoni ".

Ferdie and Alison however are more content to sit away from the other partygoers and watch an old B-movie on TV. Unbeknownst to any of them, Dick Miller's cameo as a disgruntled janitor is getting cut short outside of the store, courtesy of the rampaging robots

Before long, Leslie has persuaded Mike to go out to the cigarette machine outside the store. When he doesn't return, she ventures out herself and pretty soon the survivors realise the robots have gone apeshit and they are locked in the mall with them overnight!

CHOPPING MALL is cheap and cheesy. It's soundtrack, hairstyles and fashions scream the worst 80s tastes imaginable, giving the film that dated look and feel that will either make you smile or vomit.

It's dumb and it knows it. Never stretching to anything other than outright nerd humour, director Jim Wynorski keeps the pacing quick and the plot simple.

Effectively ripping off ROBOCOP and THE TERMINATOR in equal measures, CHOPPING MALL earns no points for originality. But it makes up for that in terms of sheer cheek, and an eye for the gore.

Not to mention, of course, a bit of gratuitous T&A

Just when you think this thing can't get anymore cheesily "80s", it does the finale is a hoot.

The film is presented here uncut in a reasonable-looking full-frame transfer. Images aren't the strongest, but if you can settle for something akin to the way a lot of US sitcoms look on TV then you'll be okay.

The English mono audio does its job adequately.

There are no extras or even menus on the screener disc, but there was remote access to the main feature via 18 chapters.

You know those films that are so corny, their closing titles have each character shown on the screen in succession? Yes, CHOPPING MALL does that. If you can get into the spirit (several cans of beer are recommended), this is dumb but agreeable fun. Hardly a classic, but some interesting cameos and a show-stopping exploding head effect should hold the attention. Not to mention the boobies

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Video International
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review