***Throwback Thursday Review***
by Jason Minton
Robot Jox - 1990
In this post WWIII vision of the future, war has been outlawed. In it's place is Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Human manned robots do battle on a larger than Olympic scale. Where the outcome holds international political importance.
The idea of robots doing battle is a little boy's dream. I don't know if this is the original robot fighting movie but watching it, 2011's Real Steel comes to mind. The robots themselves hold up to anything modern Hollywood can animate. It's similar to comparing the original Star Wars prop ships and miniatures to today's animations. Yes, you can do more with animation and when done well it looks good. There's still something better about having an actual prop built sitting beside the actor.
The animation of the robots is glitchy at best. Think 1984's Terminator echo skeleton animations only done 6 years later and looking slightly worse. It's top motion animation on a budget. Though I think Evil Dead had a smaller budget 10 years prior and was still executed better.
The cast is made up of B-movie actors you'd find in many of the sex filled, teenage comedies of the era. A B-movie actor 30 years ago can still deliver lines better than the majority of modern day, straight to video actors.
An 80's Sci-Fi film in feel, the highlight was definitely the robots themselves. If only movies had progressed into manufacturing better stop motion instead of animating everything. I really would have enjoyed a Transformers movie where the robots looked like Robot Jox.
Perhaps reviewing this movie almost 30 years later isn't fair but I'm not grading on a scale. It had intriguing robots, secondhand actors and a weak premise with political overtones. Overall just not the best execution. It also looked like it was made about a decade before it actually was.
2 out of 5 Headless Critics