Robot Jox

 (363)5.41 h 24 min1990X-RayPG
This thrilling sci-fi adventure will satisfy your burning desire for robot-on-robot action when the world's disputes are settled using massive battling 'bots! But when tragedy and treachery rear their ugly heads, one 'bot pilot is out for revenge!
Stuart Gordon
Gary GrahamAnne-Marie JohnsonPaul Koslo
Science FictionDramaAction
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Robert SampsonDanny KamekonaHilary MasonMichael AlldredgeJeffrey CombsMichael SaadIan Patrick WilliamsJason MarsdenCarolyn Purdy-GordonThyme Lewis
Albert BandCharles Band
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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4.3 out of 5 stars

363 global ratings

  1. 69% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 5% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 7% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Valusagi Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Make your husband’s inner teenage boy happy
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My husband loves this movie. He would go on and on about how there was this awesome movie he remembers as a kid. This movie is why he is such a sucker for Pacific Rim and Pacific Rim Uprising. Both of those I find to be quite dumb. Which, if this is the movie they were ripping off, now I see why. But hey, if those movies and Robot Jox make the 14 year old boy inside my husband happy, then I’m happy. He was so excited to watch this movie after unwrapping it for his birthday. He made me watch it with him. It was pretty boring. Wasn’t even so bad it’s good, just boring. Worth it for the sex that came after though.
18 people found this helpful
Simon JesterReviewed in the United States on March 14, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Terrible walk down memory lane
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I saw this movie as a young kid and thought is was fun. My memories as a child didn't translate well with time. This movie is terrible to the point that I didn't finish it. Flat story, acting, premise, and boring delivery. I don't recommend and suggest that anyone else who may have seen it thirty years ago leave it at that... a memory.
7 people found this helpful
RAD WIZARDReviewed in the United States on April 22, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
If it isn't corny, it isn't an excellent giant robot movie!
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The movie is set in a not too distant future where Socialism has destroy the planet. Competing Governments fight in Mech in one on one combat for territory and resources. The Confederate Socialist States of Asia are trying to take Alaska from the American-Japanese Union. It's like watching an early 70s Sci-Fi but made at the end of the 80s where Transformers and Battletech influenced the art team. The acting is corny. Considering Gary Graham was in Alien Nation. B-Rated back during the original release, and that might be its one flaw. The bad guys are basically the Russians, which makes total sense being it was produced at the end of The Cold War Era. Definitely a message in the movie. If you can get over wondering where all the flat screens and iphones have gone in the year 2091 then you can appreciate how much work the design team put into the robots, set, and costumes for 1989 production. If only the Director could have put in as much effort into the acting, then it would have been a better movie. Love the old school stop animation. I can see why I thought this movie was cool as a kid, even though at 11 I knew it was B-Rated acting. They should remake it.
2 people found this helpful
SciFi-Kaiju-Guy @ TeePublicReviewed in the United States on July 5, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
1980's version of PACIFIC RIM (minus the monsters) ---> now in a loaded up high-def Blu-ray edition. Crash & Burn, baby!
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BOTTOM LINE: Stuart Gordon's 1989 sci-fi action adventure spectacle ROBOT JOX is harmless fluff entertainment from producer Charles Band & Empire Pictures. Never heard of ROBOT JOX before? Well, if you love Voltron, Transformers, old school mecha anime or if you ever played Rock'em Sock'em Robots as a kid then you're all set to love this movie. It's not deep stuff by any means but it is a fun way to blow 85 minutes on a rainy weekend. The film itself is a 5 STAR blast. The older MGM DVD release of ROBOT JOX nets a 3 STAR rating, while the new Blu-ray edition rates a slightly higher 4 STARS.

THE STORY (contains spoilers): In the not too distant future, (unspecified, but at least 50 years or more), our world has been ravaged by nuclear war. The future looks pretty bleak & ugly. The atmosphere is heavily-polluted by radiation fallout, requiring people to don air filtration masks whenever they go outside. Because of the heavy loss of human life and planet-wide devastation, war has been outlawed. All political disputes are now settled using massive fighting machines controlled by onboard human pilots. Director Stuart Gordon, (credited with the original story concept), throws in a few thought-provoking ideas about this future world for us to chew on whenever the big 'bots aren't on screen punching each other out, along with some thinly-veiled ironic commentary about our current state. For instance, the global animal population was apparently equally hard hit by the atomic war and its after effects, since a meal with "real meat" (a lone hot dog floating in a watery pot of gruel), is a rare occasion and cause for joyous celebration. (Yuck!) Gambling & drinking seem to be the only forms of recreation left now that the great outdoors ain't all that great anymore. Our educational system also appears to have broken down, but apparently that's not too important. (Nationally-celebrated hero Achilles can't even read, whereas his brother holds down an unglamorous, menial job that involves editing and/or writing!) All citizens are encouraged to breed as many children as possible in order to re-populate the decimated populace, and apparently the more kids you have the better your government-subsidized standard of living is. Defect-free births are stressed using heavy media saturation about proper prenatal care for mothers-to-be. Achilles, champion for The Market, (a presumed stand-in for the USA & her allies), is scheduled to complete the last of 10 compulsory fights against the villainous Alexander, hero of the Confederation (those naughty Russians!). The outcome of the match will decide possession of Alaska and all her precious natural resources. Each previous match has been tipped in favor of the Confederation thru treacherous industrial espionage. Who is selling the robot's weaponry secrets? Ferreting out the identity of the spy may be the deciding factor in whether Achilles wins or loses. What's more, the next generation of robot pilots (the genetically-bred GenJox) are eagerly waiting in the wings, should Achilles fail. Further muddying the waters is Achilles' affection for the beautiful but icy Athena, the first and only female GenJox in contention to pilot the massive battle 'bots.

THOUGHTS: I recall reading everything I could get my hands on about this movie during it's production. Starlog magazine (remember that?) had some fairly good coverage of it, including all the legal wrangling over the original name: RoboJox, which the creators of RoboCop apparently weren't too thrilled with. LOL. It was eventually released with a slight name tweak, and I was lucky enough to actually catch it during its limited theatrical run back in 1989. Director Stuart Gordon was a collector of the then-new Transformer toys, along with being a fan of Japanese mecha-based anime shows such as Macross. He wondered when and/or if Hollywood would take a stab at a live-action big robot movie. Instead of waiting, (and about 20 or so years ahead of his time), Gordon took his ideas to Charles Band & Empire Pictures and did it first himself. I love this quirky little film. It's a highly entertaining rock'em sock'em popcorn movie. (Parental Advisory: there are a couple of gratuitous butt shots, 1 male & 1 female, along with some occasional coarse language so please be advised if you have younger ones.) The robot fights themselves are a lot of fun but pretty restrained due to the film's small (six million) budget, as with all Full Moon/Empire Pictures movies. Unsung indie F/X hero David Allen & Co. do an admirable job using a clever combination of stop-motion and rod & cable-actuated puppetry to bring the big robots to life. There are some fairly ambitious F/X shots to keep things interesting, including a brief but cool sequence where the two robos take to the skies and battle high above the Earth. The robot piloted by Achilles has some neat Transformer-ish abilities that add to the fun. Surprisingly enough for such a low budget movie there are some cool, full-scale robot sets (HUGE feet & the human interface cockpits) for the people to interact with. Certainly Empire really embraced Stu Gordon's ideas and went as big as they could with this fun film. Gary Graham, (shortly before landing his memorable role as Det. Sikes on Fox TV's criminally short-lived series "Alien Nation"), makes a suitably confident & cocky action lead as Achilles. Anne-Marie Johnson shows surprising strength & intensity in her role as Athena, the first genetically-bred combat pilot, (and the feisty love interest for Graham's macho Achilles). But it's Paul Koslo who steals the show with his over-the-top, scene-chewing performance as the baddest of bad guys, Alexander. His hokey "Russian" accent is equal parts Mikael Baryshnikov & Bela Lugosi, and he appears to be having an absolute blast throughout. Character actors Robert Sampson, Danny Kamekona & Michael Alldredge all add their sturdy talents to the diverse cast.

(Watching this again really makes me wonder if Guillermo Del Toro saw this when he was younger. As a self-confessed hardcore sci-fi/monster movie geek he almost certainly MUST have. I mean so much of ROBOT JOX seems to have informed his human-operated Jaeger robots in "PACIFIC RIM." The cockpit interaction in PacRim is especially reminiscent of this film. OK, so Del Toro's robots used two pilots instead of one and his cockpit sets were bigger & more detailed, but he also had a LOT more money to play with than Stu Gordon did. Actually, the only thing missing from ROBOT JOX that would make PacRim an almost by-the-numbers remake are big, slimy monsters for the 'bots to battle. That's not a fault nor an insinuation. Just an observation. They're both very different movies due to age, budgets & F/X technology differences and each is fun in its own way.)

THE DVD: The MGM DVD release is barebones affair. No remastering or restoration of ANY kind was done. The condition of the print for ROBOT JOX looks pretty rough. I observed several instances of dust, dirt & film scratches. The video portion of the film does look better than, say, a factory VHS tape - but not by much. Box artwork is yet another example of the hastily slapped together photoshop junk that we sadly see used far too often for older films nowadays. Lame. All-in-all, MGM's DVD is a disappointing release on home video, and is only marginally recommended for desperate fans of the film who haven't yet upgraded to Blu-ray.

>>> UPDATE! THE BLU-RAY: Shout!Factory (God bless you boys!) has now released a high-def Blu-ray remaster of ROBOT JOX! The picture is noticeably sharper than the DVD release from MGM. Film grain is evident, along with occasional noise due to the transfer technicians cranking up the sharpness for maximum clarity. The audio is solid & strong. My only gripe is that towards the end of the movie the source print contains considerable staining of some kind; brownish dots pepper the screen for a few minutes and it kills what would otherwise be a full five star re-master. Other than that this is a 100% out of the park home run from Shout!Factory. A plethora of excellent bonus material has been stuffed onto the release which should delight fans of the film. A new on camera interview with actor Paul Koslo starts things off, in which he shares his memories & thoughts on the making of the film. Not one, but TWO full-length audio commentary tracks can be accessed on the AUDIO options sub-screen. The first is an insightful offering with director Stu Gordon, the other features several visual effects technicians discussing the film's creation from their perspective. Both commentaries are interesting, fun and well worth a listen. The Blu-ray also includes a wealth of archival interview segments with director Gordon and various F/X crew members. These are older interviews apparently done sometime after 2000, perhaps as supplemental material produced for a fancier DVD edition that never saw the light of day? I don't know, but they are chock full of insightful, amusing stories & trivia, and are very entertaining. The new Blu-ray rounds out the bonus goodies with an obligatory copy of the film's theatrical trailer, plus a TV ad AND two still image galleries: the first of behind-the-scenes photos taken during filming, the second showcasing beautiful concept artwork of the various robots & tech bits from visionary production designer Ron Cobb. Lastly, the Blu-ray slipcase insert features beautiful reversible artwork, as with many recent Shout!Factory releases. Rather than some shoddy photoshop job, two original promotional posters for the film are reproduced for the covers. Pick your favorite! (A very classy touch.)
21 people found this helpful
JohnHReviewed in the United States on March 14, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
A typical late 80's, early 90's direct to video
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cheese fest filled with predictable plot elements, and wooden acting. But the special effects were actually pretty good. I remember renting this movie at Blockbuster 20 years ago, I liked it then and when I saw it was on Prime, decided I had to watch it again. The Pacific Rim franchise seems to have ripped off Robot Jox and instead of the ConFed bad guys, substituted monsters from another dimension. All in all, it's a decent movie for a cold wintery afternoon.
2 people found this helpful
Chris MeierReviewed in the United States on April 4, 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Sometimes cheese can be good
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Old Movies sometimes make great teachers of art form.

This is an old movie from the 1980's, no doubt. But hidden within all the shabbiness that age has revealed there lies a deep inner truth about the simplicity of constructing believable fiction that is easy to understand and enjoyable to watch. Additionally this film offers some wonderful examples of how to achieve some impressive effects with a relatively low budget (esp. now). Worth a watch if you want to study how science fiction is made.

In terms of entertainment the artistic side deserves appreciation for many excellent designs and implementation; however, the overall film is boring compared to most styles of film these days.

Overall this film is a time capsule of what sci-fi was like in the 1980's. Clearly also has a stake in the history of giant robots / fighting robots.

All in all it was enjoyable to watch if viewing from the aspect of appreciation and entercation. Again some nice sets and costumes and special effects were top notch.

Otherwise a big slice of cheese ala 1980's style. Sometimes cheese can be good.
One person found this helpful
Frank DogheartyReviewed in the United States on June 26, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
Normally, I would rate it at three stars
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The problem is that Amazon, for some reason, has digged up a lot of movies in which people are muzzled. Even good and expensive movies containing such details have been free to watch in the last 16 months or so.

The movie, as old as it is, already contains race mixing, which you migh like or dislike.

I nearly turned it off, when the muzzled appeared on the screen; that, combined with race-mixing was too much for me.

The appearance of the Russian is crude and, as the whole movie is, cartoonish.

The movie is watchable as long as you don't mind that it looks like an episode from an old comic book.
James E. AddisonReviewed in the United States on March 26, 2021
2.0 out of 5 stars
It's about what you'd expect it to be.
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1 star: couldn't watch more than 15 minutes. Unwatchable!
2 star: jumped my way to the end for the ending. Unwatchable, but interested in how this turd ended.
3 star: watched it all, but not happy about it. Nothing better to do.
4 star: I watched it, liked it well enough. Would never watch it again.
5 star: Great moving picture show! I'll watch it again, and maybe again in a few years.

I didn't even jump to the ending on this one. Needed more robot fighting, and less acting, BAD acting. And again, I'm blown away by all of the 5 star reviews! Easily amused.......
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