Plot: In the future, war has been outlawed, but conflicts still rage and are settled in a most unusual fashion. When two forces are engaged in a dispute, they still battle it out, but it is done within a controlled environment. Each side chooses a combatant and that warrior pilots a massive mech, armed to the teeth with missiles, rockets, lasers, and more. As the pilots are locked in combat on the battleground, the masses gather to watch and even bet on the outcomes. With power, money, and territory on the line, these can be tense, ruthless competitions. Achilles (Gary Graham) is a popular pilot who has served his ten battles, but his last fight had a tragic conclusion. In an effort to save innocents from being killed, he put his mech in the line of fire and as a result, a crucial battle was ruled a draw. Now a rematch has been set, but Achilles is tired of fighting and wants to move on with his life. But with so much riding on this clash and his rival calling him a coward, can Achilles resist the call of battle?
Entertainment Value: An ambitious movie about a future governed by fights between giant mechs, Robot Jox is a classic of the Empire Pictures vault. Stuart Gordon directed, Charles Band produced, and Gary Graham has the lead, but the real draw here are the mechs and the epic clashes involved. This was a video store staple and with good reason, as it is just plain fun to watch. The special effects have aged of course, but compared to the CGI drivel we’re now exposed to, Robot Jox looks like a special effects marvel. I do wish we had more of the mechs here, but what we do have is fun and the movie never feels dull or slow. The cast is solid and treats the material as serious, but not in an over the top style. Graham is a good flawed hero, while Anne-Marie Johnson is capable as a bad ass female pilot who wants her share of the spotlight. I also love the ridiculous old Tex, played by Michael Allredge. You have to admire the ambition here, but sadly this was the movie that signaled the end for Empire Pictures. So it is sad from that side of things, but Robot Jox remains a brisk, fun movie. If you’re a fan of sci/fi b movies or mechs or video store favorites, add this one to your collection.
Some bare asses and a lot of spandex bulges, but that’s all the nakedness. This is rated PG, so you can’t expect rampant nudity, right? In terms of bloodshed, people are injured and blood covered in a crowd scene early on, while a gun shot splatters some blood on a wall in a later scene. A suicide also happens late in the movie, with a twinge of aftermath blood, as well as a wild outburst just before. So not much blood, but we do have fun mech effects that are a blast to watch. While dated and a little hokey, I still prefer this kind of effects work to the CGI we are force fed these days. The dialogue is mostly serious, but not overly so, so there’s still a sense of humor. Tex has most of the best lines and is a fun character, while we also have tough guy talk, political lingo, and some casual sexism. On the crazy scale, this is one of the more grounded Empire Pictures releases, even if the premise is a little out there.
Overall Insanity: 1/10