If you were to look for a big blockbuster to watch this week you might well come across Pacific Rim. Directed by Guillermo del Toro the movie charts the progress of a group of 'Jaeger' pilots as they battle to stop some right big monsters in the destructive tracks as they set about making every city on Earth look like Rochdale.
Of course you might not want to go to the local theatre, preferring to stay in and reduce your chances of being turned into a mancake by a Godzilla. Should this be the case then why not stay in and watch the Frugal Film Forum's alternative, Robot Jox?
Well I'll tell you why...
During an opening sequence, with a panning shot across a painfully obvious miniature set that looks like a Terminator Salvation Christmas Special, we are informed that the events we are about to eyeball are set fifty years after a nuclear conflict that nearly wiped out the human race.
As the funky, futuristic title credits disperse, we learn that a clearly bad mister called Alexander has just defeated a Buzz Lightyear cosplayer who sports the worst black eye make-up in the history of cinema. To make sure we know he is a wrong 'un, Alexander kills , Buzz even though he doesn't have to by stomping on his not metal head with the apparently metal foot of his mean looking robot.
On a side note, I'm not entirely sure these vehicles count as robots at all. They require a pilot and don't seem to have any independent thoughts or autonomy so...erm...are they not just tanks with legs...?
Anyroad, we are at this point aware that instead of A-bombing each other, the remaining nations have decided to be more civilised by fighting over territory in organised bouts of Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots - a bit like what would have happened had Robot wars carried on, except that the robots in question probably would have still looked like bread bins with epilepsy and instead of land, the pilots would have been fighting for the right to stand nervously near Philippa Forrester and 'checking for change in his pocket. There's a bit of talk about espionage then it's on with the show.
During a fight training scene we meet Achilles and find out that he's dead good at fighting a bunch of other students who attack him with all the enthusiasm and interest of a Labrador at a stairlift convention. Then an old cleaning lady asks Achilles and his tubby cowboy friend to do a wank.
After some waffle about a secret weapon (it's a GREEN laser) Achilles embarks on a lengthy robot boarding process that sees about six dozen different people advising him to 'crash and burn'; the troubled future equivalent of 'break a leg', it would seem.
Achilles makes his occasionally stop-motion-animated way onto the battlefield for possibly the least kinetic dust-up in battlin' bot cinema. As a result of this ruck some people die, including a little moppet with a teddy. This causes a rematch being announced but Achilles turns down the challenge.
Then he has an argument in which it is revealed that Achilles can't read. Remember that kids.
One barroom encounter with Alexander later, Achilles wakes up in his room with a severe haircut that is attached to a female trainee pilot. She calls him a big big poo before Achilles talks to his friend in a cowboy hat who apparently hangs around in the shower room when he's not spouting Texan flavoured advice. In fairness, like all locker rooms of the future, this one is unisex:- just watch any Paul Verhoeven film.
Anyways, high-hair girl is set the task of fighting Alexander next. This prompts Achilles to come out of his eight minutes of retirement and take her place.
Oh, and remember mere minutes ago when Achilles chided one of his superiors for thinking he's a mug for not being able to read? Cue our protagonist entering the scene reading a weapons list.
Meanwhile, cowboy hat man is busy killing a scientist who knows he's a 'Confed' spy.
In a bid to take Achilles' place in the upcoming battle with Alexander, high-hair shoots our 'hero' with the medical worlds' least effective tranquilliser before just knocking him out with knee to the mush anyway. Do watch out for High-Hair's spinning kick in the ruck, which is so good it causes her to turn into what is quite clearly a man.
Upon waking up almost immediately from being drugged and laid out, Achilles uses his remote controlled car (?) to escape his own flat.
After Achilles gets to the robot command centre, his best mate - cowboy hat man - is revealed to be the turncoat. Video evidence is required for this even though my cat knew about this 'plot twist'; and she hasn't seen Robot Jox.
Having surreptitiously nicked Achilles' mech, High-Hair takes a proverbial pounding from Alexander. Achilles drives his magic car out to the battlefield and flies into space for some reason. After a pointless cruise through the outer atmosphere, the pair return to Earth where Alexander mouth-fucks the nice white robot with his war machine's dick-saw. Some jiggery-pokery in the bad robots' guts, *SPOILER ALERT* Achilles beats the thinly veiled red menace in a pub style fight before they makes friends and cut to the credits as quickly as the director wanted to just go home and forget about it all.
Several questions arise from the movie that does exist. Robot Jox:-
- Did the Confeds only have one pilot?
- Speaking of Confeds, what are the goodies called?
- Why did Achilles train in martial arts when the robots had all the grace and agility of a milk-float up on bricks?
- Why were green lasers better than not green lasers?
- Who is this film aimed at?
- How can I justify spending 85 minutes of precious life watching Robot Jox when I could have been doing something less reproachable, like strangling cats.
I imagine someone during the making of this steely sci-fi slug fest thought they were making the new Star Wars. To help give you that same delusory perception might I suggest a Robot Jox drinking game? Take a slug every time...
- You see Achilles' scars move from scene to scene.
- Someone says, 'crash and burn.'
- There's a scene in Robot Jox's universes' only bar.
- You start to feel your self getting sober.
Crach and Burn.