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THE REVENGE OF ROBERT THE DOLL (aka THE LEGEND OF ROBERT THE DOLL, 2018)
Directed and written by Andrew Jones.
Starring Lee Bane, Harriet Rees, Judith Haley, Eloise Juryeff, Gareth Lawrence, David Imper, Nicholas Anscombe, Derek Nelson, Darren Swain, Lee Mark Jones, Severin Ritter, Josephine Partridge, Jevan White, Olivia Lee, Morgan Thomas, David Lyndon, Natalie Louise Garcia, Robert Graham, Courtney Bartle
Picking up, eventually (more on that in a bit), where ROBERT AND THE TOYMAKER left off—with the Toymaker (played by Lee Bane) attempting to escape Germany on a train with Robert and his two doll companions in tow, THE REVENGE OF ROBERT THE DOLL has the Toymaker and the dolls on that train with a Nazi assassin assigned to kill him and an Allied secret agent assigned to save him. Meanwhile, the Toymaker recollects his own sad origin to the ghost of the girl who gave him the Nazi spell book that gave Robert life.
I say eventually because it is a good forty minutes into THE REVENGE OF ROBERT THE DOLL, a killer doll movie, until we get to the killer doll action. I really find it perplexing that half the movie passes until we get to the part where the doll kills in the killer doll movie. Especially when it’s the fourth film in a series. I get it if they’re working up to the doll moving and killing, but this film doesn’t even do that. The first forty minutes of THE REVENGE OF ROBERT THE DOLL follows the plight of a young German housewife of a Nazi sympathizer who has procured the occult spell book that the Nazis were chasing in the Robert the Doll-less first 35 minutes of the last movie. This first portion really feels pointless as it goes further back in time to follow this book. But this isn’t Robert the Book. It’s Robert the Doll. Why not film how the Doll was created? Instead, it’s all about this book and the many hands it passed through before landing in the Toymakers.
In the last review, I stated that it felt like ROBERT AND THE TOYMAKER viewed like the first part of a movie with padding injected in so that filmmaker Andrew Jones could stretch the story over two feature films. Now that I’ve seen THE REVENGE OF ROBERT THE DOLL, I’m certain these two films were at one time, one. Or at least were one script. There’s a movie in itself if you add the first 35 minutes to the first 40 minutes where people sit around and pass a book back and forth to one another while stopping to add in lengthy Taratino-ian diatribes before each exchange. While the sidebars in ROBERT AND THE TOYMAKER are entertaining because the actor was quite talented, in REVENGE we get a less inspired speech about killing your first person which almost word-for-word lifts from Gandolfini’s speech from TRUE ROMANCE. I found myself more intrigued at watching the clock in the first forty minutes to see just when we would get to see the titular doll in full on revenge action.
The thing is, this is not a badly made film. It’s capably acted. The scenes are compelling and the actors do a decent job of selling the story. The problem is that the title states this is a ROBERT THE DOLL movie and it simply isn’t. While the filler parts aren’t painful to watch, it has very little with the main story of the Toymaker and his evil toys. We are four films into the ROBERT THE DOLL films and really, we know nothing about who Robert is, what makes him tick, or what motivates him. One would think that after four movies, there’d be a clue. Does Robert have a soul? If so, where did it come from? Did the book actually make a soul for Robert or pluck it from somewhere for it to inhabit the body of the doll?
And that’s my biggest frustration I’ve have with this series. Sure, I may be looking too much into it, but with four movies dedicated to the little guy, one would think there would be some kind of depth put to the titular character. Instead, we’ve got a lot of scenes of Nazi interrogation, some flashbacks, and a lot of book passing from one person to the next. Is it too much to expect to actually get to know Robert the Doll? By installment one, there was a pretty strong indication of who Chucky was. And while she isn’t animated or mobile, it’s pretty clear what ANNABELLE is all about. Who knows how popular this series would have been had a skosh of personality been communicated in ROBERT THE DOLL and its sequels? There’s only one film left in this series, ROBERT REBORN, and I’ll be covering that one next time.
Check out the trailer here!!
ROBERT (aka ROBERT THE DOLL) Review
THE CURSE OF ROBERT (aka THE CURSE OF ROBERT THE DOLL) Review
ROBERT & THE TOYMAKER (aka THE TOYMAKER, ROBERT 3) Review