Blu-Ray Review: Robot Jox | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, March 23rd, 2023  

Robot Jox

Studio: Shout! Factory

Aug 06, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Pacific Rim by way of Top Gun. Set fifty years after an unspecified nuclear holocaust, world powers now settle territory disputes with televised one-on-one battles between two men—“jox”—piloting building-sized robots. Hotshot pilot Achilles fights to a draw with a thinly-veiled Soviet villain and then quits, having fulfilled his obligatory ten combat runs. However, he begins to question his decision when he learns his replacement is rookie pilot Athena—because she’s not only a woman, but a test tube baby genetically engineered for mecha-fighting.

In spite of its ambition, Stuart Gordon’s 1990 post-apocalyptic feature was up against difficult production issues and failed to recoup its budget on release. The tone often feels at odds to whether it wants to be hard sci-fi or a family action movie; Gordon reportedly clashed with screenwriter (and Forever War writer) Joe Haldeman, and the movie certainly hints at a futuristic world that’s far more interesting than the story we’re shown. Still, it’s cheesy fun, and the practical special effects—the stop motion animation team shot nearly human-sized puppets in the desert for extra realism—look damn good almost 30 years later. The Blu-ray includes a wealth of interviews focusing on the SFX, plus two commentaries and other interesting behind-the-scenes materials.

Author rating: 6/10

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