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Case Number 05151

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Metal Munching Maniacs: 2003 Nationals

Koch Vision // 2004 // 127 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 8th, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson wonders how the Armatron would hold up against the Shrederator.

The Charge

No, this is not android porn.

Opening Statement

Where Battlebots ends, Metal Munching Maniacs begins, i.e. there's lots more of footage of robots running around bumping into each other.

Facts of the Case

You wake up, unleash a gaping yawn, and pick the crud from your eyes. It's your normal morning rise, but this is no normal morning.

You shake the remaining cobwebs from your head, shuffle to the bathroom, and jump into the shower. The butterflies that had been in pupa stage in your stomach when you first awoke have now broken free and are fluttering around like crazy in the pit of your gut.

Today is it. Today is the day you show to your friends, your family, yourself…heck, the world what you're made of. Years of practice, years of outlaw engineering, years of sifting through scrap heaps and junkyards, have brought you to this point: the nexus of your life, the opportunity to achieve greatness, the validation of you soul!

Today is the Metal Munching Maniacs 2003 Nationals, and that means tons of robot death.

And perhaps it is your robot—The Destructonator or Razor-face or Shrapnel Buttkicker—that will walk away with the title.

But only if it's got the bolts and nuts.

Metal Munching Maniacs 2003 Nationals is 127 minutes of straight-up robot fighting, pitting hobby-weights, lightweights, heavyweights, and the super heavyweights against each other in an enclosed arena with a handful of spectators cheering at the flying sparks and ragged metal chunks.

Fifty-six matches are on display and feature a variety of mechanical beasties built expressly to beat the Valvoline out of other mechanical beasties. There is no narration, and only fleeting glimpses of human beings. From start to finish, the disc is crammed with bout after bout after bout of robot-on-robot action, and the only question you need to ask yourself is this: do you like the idea of weird-looking robots trying to beat each other up?

The Evidence

Time to come clean: I'm not the biggest fan of these robot competitions. When they first stormed television, there was certainly an initial curiosity factor, but that quickly subsided and I grew bored. Even with arenas packed with blowtorches and buzz-saws and giant hammers, there was only so much appliance warfare I could take.

Same with this disc. Personally, after the first matches of a wedge-looking thing bumping into another wedge-looking thing, my attention waned. Sure, there are different models out there. Some with huge hammers, other with spinning blades, but checking any of the models out once was enough for me.

Maybe I was betrayed by the term "robots." Robotics are certainly involved, but when I think robots I picture bad-ass cyborgs beating on each other with chainsaws and flamethrowers, maybe with Will Smith jumping into the mix.

Okay, that entire paragraph was useless; I just wanted to include a Will Smith reference.

Look, bottom line: If you're a fan of this type of sport, you'll get your fill. No annoying color commentary, no pyrotechnics, no porn-star filed reporters with chests just as synthetic as the dueling combatants, just an open space and some enraged metal. If you could not possibly care less, well, you'll probably rather watch your front-loading washer spin a few cycles.

Mimicking the considerable un-flashiness of the combat robots it depicts, the visual presentation is straight-forward full-screen mediocrity. The stereo mix doesn't do much to fill your living room with the sounds of mangling steel either.

Extras include a few time-lapses of stage set-up and event footage, and a "music video," which I suppose is a technically accurate description: there's some video and some goofy synth music played over it. The cleverest addition is the sporadic "pop-up" trivia balloons during the matches.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

I think this might be a pretty harmless movie for little kids. They like big trucks and cars and stuff, right? They'd probably like these machines. (Here that, Johnny? Uncle Dave is going to hook you up!)

Closing Statement

For the fans and anyone who gets their kicks from two hours of science projects beating the piss out of each other.

The Verdict

Guilty for a so-so disc presentation. Beyond that…whatever, man.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 80
Story: 80
Judgment: 78

Perp Profile

Studio: Koch Vision
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 127 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genre:
• Documentary

Distinguishing Marks

• Time-Lapses
• Music Video

Accomplices

• None








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