Jim Wynorski is one of those guys like Charles Band, probably best known for doing bad movies, and that's fine, he probably embraces it. I don't know if he declares himself a bad movie director like Band does, but he is at least partially aware of his reputation, I feel pretty sure.
Chopping Mall is a definite 80's movie. That's a good thing if you're a movie guy like me. The 80's were awesome for movies. Practical effects were still in usage, the music and the clothes and the hair was all insane and fun. The actresses and actors were not all glamorized by Hollywood and overdone with makeup, they let real looking people be the major stars of their films. Now I feel like every actor has to look the same, and everyone is makeup-ed the fuck over.
One of the things I love about 80's movies especially is the presence of the nerds. Nerds nowadays I feel are unrealistic, nerds in these movies were more realistic; they were actually unsocial, had problems, and didn't make friends easily. As a nerd myself, I can tell you that it's not like it's depicted by guys like John Heder or Seth Rogan or Jesse Eisenberg. Nerd-ship is painful and awkward.
Anyways, back to Chopping Mall. This movies fuckin rocks. If you took the first scene of Robocop, where ED-209 goes crazy and kills that guy, and then if you made a whole movie like that, that might accurately describe the plot of Chopping Mall. Chopping Mall is about these little Johnny-5 looking droids that are designed to be protector-droids. They have tank treads for feet and big red eyes, and two hook-like hands on stretchy arms. They're fucking awesome, and real. Not real robots, but not bastard CGI creations.
The evil Johnny-5's get activated when lightning hits a downtown mall late at night. Of course, 6 teenagers are in the mall, seemingly just camping out there cause they can. 3 Johnny-5's activate, kill the night watch men, and then comes after the teens. So it's 6 horny teens vs. 3 evil Johnny-5's. And it's great, thoroughly.
The music is awesome too. Synths and toms as only the 80's could do. The actors are good enough and do their job, and the pacing is terrific. All in all this movie isn't even so-bad-it's-good, this movie is just legitimately good. Deserves to be better known. I think this has all the makings of a modern cult classic. I'd love to see it at midnight in a theater with hardcore fans. Be fuckin sweet.
I'm feeling great about it, it gets four damn stars!
Oh, so you're saying all Italians are evil robots. I get your hidden message here, Wynorski