Westworld, featuring Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin

Do you remember Westworld? I’m betting that you don’t because most of you don’t even remember rotary telephones. Rotary phones… You are aware that those existed right?

There was a time before phones had buttons. Just like now is the time before evil robots overthrow the human race. It’s going to happen just you wait and see, one of these days robots are going to get sick of taking our crap.

Westworld is a 1973 action drama depicting a “high tech” resort (which naturally caters to rich white people) offering adventure simulation packages; allowing guests to explore one of three historically themed environments. Participants had a choice of Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, and the American West. Each environment was populated by robotic citizens programmed to offer guests an enveloping experience complete with all the thrills you might imagine relevant to their choice of historical environment. Of course, some amount of danger was mitigated by safety protocols put in place by the programmers to prevent anything truly unfortunate from happening.

Two guests enjoy a raucous adventure in the titular Westworld Park with all the expected indulgences like whiskey, whores, and six-shooters. Those gold old boys were having a good old time too… until a certain robot gunslinger (Yul Brynner) short-circuits and begins acting out his villainous role unconstrained by the parks built in safety protocols. A gunslinger robot with live ammunition what could possibly go wrong? By the way the robot’s name is simply “Gunslinger”. How convincing these wild west adventures must have been when characters had such authentic names. There was also an aptly named “Apache girl” but no one got stuck with “town whore”, they called her “Arlette”.

Most people probably know Yul Brynner as Pharaoh Ramses from the 1956, Charlton Heston version of The Ten Commandments but he was just as stoic and menacing as the gunslinger robot. An amazing performance as an unrelenting unforgiving, and unstoppable killing machine. In fairness two rich white guys shot him repeatedly before his meltdown. They probably deserved to have their asses handed to them by a brown skinned robotic cowboy.

This is an older movie and it will definitely remind you that its from the 1970s, but if you’re bored some Sunday afternoon it’s worth a look.

Originally Published 20 October 2012