Albert Band, Charles Band (executive) for Empire
directed by Stuart Gordon
starring Gary Graham, Anne-Marie Johnson, Paul Koslo, Robert Sampson, Danny Kamekona, Hilary Mason, Michael Alldredge, Jeffrey Combs, Michael Saad, Ian Patrick Williams, Jason Marsden, Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, Thyme Lewis, Gary Houston, Russel Case, Geoffrey Copleston, Jacob Wheeler, Del Russel, Larry Dolgin, Hal Yamanouchi, Alex Vitale, Luca Amitrand, David Cameron, Jenai Ricci, Jillian Gordon, Suzanna Gordon
story by Stuart Gordon, screenplay by Joe Haldeman, music by Frédéric Talgorn, visual effects by Dave Allen, cinematography by Mac Ahlberg
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In a post-apocalyptic future, there are no more wars - instead,
territorial dispute are fought out by giant robots which are piloted by
the so-called robot jox. There is an evil jock, Alexander (Paul Koslo),
who fights for the so-called Federation, and he talks with a Russian
accent. Presently, the Federation wants Alaska, so they challenge the USA,
who send their top jock Achilles (Gary Graham) into the arena to fight
Alexander - but the fight ends in a tie when Achilles' robot jumps into
the stands trying to save the audience from an even greater disaster as
Alexander has fired a missile into their direction.
After the fight,
Achilles quits the sport, despite the fact that he is contractually
obliged to continue and finish the fight at a later date.
out of the race, any number of young jox want to become his successor, but
that honour eventually goes to Athena (Anne-Marie Johnson), the girl
Achilles incidently has fallen in love with. When he learns she will fight
in his stead, he announces his return to the robot fights and reclaims
(and is granted) his old cockpit, which he does basically to shield Athena
from harm because he thinks she's not ready yet. Athena is outraged, and
on the day of the fight, she drugs Achilles, gets into his fighting gear
and this way cheats her way into his robot. In the fight though, she
proves to be no match for Alexander, who wins rather easily - but then he
intentionally crushes the referees' craft and is thus disqualified - which
he doesn't care about in the least, as he just wants to kill Athena ...
but wait, in the meantime, Achilles has recovered, and now he jumps into
his robot and fights Alexander's robot until both their mechanical
monsters are crashed. Then they engage in hand-to-hand combat and almost
fight each other to the death - until they all of a sudden reconcile ...
Gordon is a director with an uneven scorecard, he has delivered quite a
few stinkers, a few entertaining movies, and also a handful of
masterpieces. Robot Jox started out as a very ambitious project,
the biggest production ever for low budget production house Empire
- but it's a film that quite simply fails to fully deliver, basically
because the script it is based on is way too clichéed, formulaic and
quite simply put weak, and the film is not helped by a weak cast either.
What remains though are quite well-executed pre-CGI robot fights, but they
unfortunately take up too little screentime to really save the film, which
as a whole is at best a well-meant but failed footnote to the giant robot
The production studio Empire by the way went
bankrupt before this film was even released, thus it never got a really
big opening ...