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Robot Jox

USA 1990
produced by
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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.

With Achilles 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 ...


Stuart 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 subgenre.


The production studio Empire by the way went bankrupt before this film was even released, thus it never got a really big opening ...


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD