The idea for this futuristic sci-fi adventure is an interesting one: the two global superpowers settle differences by single combat between gigantic fighting robots capable of battle on land, sea or air. However, due to weak suspense and cliched characters, ROBOT JOX is more on the level of a cartoonish Saturday matinee.
Fifty years into the future, war has been outlawed. However, since the U.S. and Soviet Union, here masked respectively as the Federation and the Confederation, have both laid claim to Alaska, the dispute is to be settled by their trained fighters using huge robotic machines.
Achilles, the current hero, squares off for the West against Alexander, his opponent. From the cockpits, both Alexander and Achilles are able to control and manipulate their robots by a kind of synergism in which the robot copies the controller’s human-limb movements. (The spectacle is like watching giant transformer toys, or rock ’em/sock ’em robots slug it out). The match is deemed a draw, when Achilles yields to Alexander in order to save some spectator fans.
The battle is to resume in one week, but Achilles wants out and resigns. Athena, one of the team’s genetically-engineered members bred exclusively for the purpose of fighting, decides to take the honor of the match upon herself. Achilles objects (he likes her) and changes his mind about fighting. However, Athena drugs him and suits up in his place for the contest anyway.
After a brief sub-plot in which a former champion-turned-spy commits suicide, Athena hijacks the robot and thunders out to face Alexander. Magnesium flares, canons and lasers notwithstanding, she takes a pummeling from Alexander’s iron behemoth and falls to the ground.
Just then, Achilles arrives and takes over. Both robots zoom off to outer space and let go with the really big guns. Returning to Earth, referees try to stop the match for violation of game rules. Abandoning their robots, Alexander and Achilles engage in hand-to-hand combat, resorting at last to, literally, sticks and stones. When it dawns on them the level to which they have descended and that they don’t have to fight anymore, peace is presumed, and the movie ends.
Thus, ROBOT JOX attempts to show that man can overcome the sinful desires which make him wage war, be it fought with robots or stones. Unfortunately, the film makers don’t realize that the only answer to those sinful desires that war within us is Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, it was distressing to see other topics handled with such flippancy: suicide, murder and the “manufacture” of human beings. Superstitious dialogue abounds: “It’s bad luck to say ‘good luck.'” Character role-modeling also leaves much to be desired: following a bout of drunkenness, Achilles wakes up nude in bed with Athena “studying” him. Finally, with as many as 30 obscenities and profanities, it is shocking that the picture is only rated PG.
21 obscenities and 7 profanities, the "manufacture" of human beings, murder, suicide, drunkenness, very brief rear nudity, gambling, and superstitious references