Luigi Cozzi once remarked that one of the distinguishing features of the Italian cinema in the 1970s and 1980s was the kind of producer who didn't want to know what your film was like but rather what film it was like.
1988's Robowar - Robot da guerra is a perfect illustration of this point and thus the filone principle in action. For the film, the work of the prolific Bruno Mattei / Claudio Fragasso team, can be summarised neatly as Predator meets Robocop.
After a helicopter is shot down in a remote jungle, a group of ex-Vietnam specialists known as the Bad Ass Motherfuckers are assigned to help a military scientist on a mystery mission.
While the local guerillas / bad guys don't prove much of an obstacle to the BAM's, it soon turns out that there is something far more dangerous out there, the cyborg warrior Omega 1...
Mattei's and Fragasso's work is better than might be expected. But this is perhaps less perhaps because they don't so much take Predator as an inspiration but actually lift plot points, set-ups and dialogue directly from it, all the way through to to the you-have-been watching style end credits.
Taken on its own terms as a no-nonsense action-adventure exploitation film, the area where the film is weakest is not when it comes to realising Omega 1.
For while the film-makers have no problems with blowing up extensive sections of Philippines jungle – or of borrowing footage of such from their back-catalogue, one exploding hut being much the same as another – they didn't have much of the budget for stop motion, computer generated or other effects necessary here.
In particular the heavily pixelated shots that represent the cyborg's POV leave you wondering how he was able to distinguish between friend, foe and landscape to begin with.
Future Fatal Frames director Al Festa contributes a surprisingly decent, if derivative, synthesiser based score.