Guilty Pleasure No. 58: Robot Jox (dir by Stuart Gordon)


In the future, the world has been ravaged by a combination of nuclear war and infertility.  The face of diplomacy has changes as well.  Instead of wasting time with negotiations, treaties, or lengthy wars, countries now settle disputes through giant robot combat. 

In fact, robot combat is the most popular sport in the world!  The men who sit inside the head of the giant robots and who push the buttons that make the robots do their thing have all become national heroes.  They’re even more beloved than the robots that they control.  America loves Achilles (Gary Graham).  Russia loves Alexander (Paul Koslo).  Every fight is observed by hundreds of spectators sitting in the stands.

That becomes a problem when Achilles and his robot accidentally fall backwards and land on top of the stands.  Not only does this mean that Russia will claim ownership of Alaska but it also kills a lot of people who were only there because they thought they would get to watch some good old-fashioned giant robot combat.  Achilles is so upset that he announces his retirement.  He leaves robot combat camp and walks around the most depressing, dreariest city imaginable.  It’s hard not to notice that the city is full of signs imploring couples to have as many children as possible.  The humans would seem to be on the way out, regardless of what happens with the giant robots.

Fortunately, Achilles’s retirement only lasts for a day or two.  Once he learns that he’s going to be replaced by Athena (Anne-Marie Johnson), Achilles returns to fight Alexander.  It could be that Achilles is in love with Athena.  It could also just be evidence that it takes a lot more than a nuclear war to wipe out misogyny and Achilles can’t handle a woman controlling his robot.  Who knows?  Achilles is determined to redeem himself but Athena still wants her chance and it turns out that there is a double agent who is giving information to Alexander and the Russians!

Featuring a plot that was apparently made up on the spot, 1990’s Robot Jox is about as silly as a movie can get.  Several scenes are devoted to showing Athena and the other young robot pilots going through their training and it’s hard not to notice that none of it actually has anything to do with sitting inside the head of a giant robot and telling it what to do.  Instead, they do a lot of physical stuff, which makes no sense because piloting a robot would be a mental task, not a physical one.  But it gives the film an excuse to put a bunch of toned 20 year-olds in skin tight outfits and that was probably the main concern.   As for the double agent subplot, there’s only two possible suspects and it’s not difficult to guess which one is guilty.  The actors, for the most part, go through the motions though Michael Alldredge has some good moments as Achilles’s trainer and Paul Koslo is a blast as the maniacally evil Alexander.  In the future, it’s just not enough to destroy a man’s giant robot.  You have to laugh about it, too.

But, to be honest, Robot Jox is one of those movies that is so extremely silly that it’s impossible not to kind of like it.  The special effects may be on the cheap side but the robots themselves are actually fairly impressive and it’s hard not to smile at the sight of them stiffly walking across the combat area.  The film’s finale features not only a giant chainsaw that is stored inside the crotch of one of the robot’s but also a bizarre and impromptu trip into space.  I’m not really sure why the robots flew into space but it really doesn’t matter.  No one is going to watch Robot Jox for a coherent story.  This is a film that people watch because they want to see giant robots fighting.  And, on that front, Robot Jox delivers.

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D
  33. In the Mix
  34. Healed By Grace
  35. Valley of the Dolls
  36. The Legend of Billie Jean
  37. Death Wish
  38. Shipping Wars
  39. Ghost Whisperer
  40. Parking Wars
  41. The Dead Are After Me
  42. Harper’s Island
  43. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
  44. Paranormal State
  45. Utopia
  46. Bar Rescue
  47. The Powers of Matthew Star
  48. Spiker
  49. Heavenly Bodies
  50. Maid in Manhattan
  51. Rage and Honor
  52. Saved By The Bell 3. 21 “No Hope With Dope”
  53. Happy Gilmore
  54. Solarbabies
  55. The Dawn of Correction
  56. Once You Understand
  57. The Voyeurs 

What Lisa Watched Last Night #130: Double Daddy (dir by Lee Friedlander)


Why was I tired enough to tweet that?  Because late last night, after a very long day of work and dance, I rewatched the Lifetime original movie Double Daddy.

Double Daddy

Why Was I Watching It?

I’m still in the process of trying to clear up space on my DVR.  So, last night, as I battled my need for sleep, I forced myself to rewatch a Lifetime film from June so that I could review it and erase it.  I didn’t care much for Double Daddy the first time that I watched it and the second time, I cared for it even less.

And, of course, because I stayed up to watch it a second time, I was exhausted for most of today.  Bleh.

What Was It About?

BLEH!

Okay, I guess that doesn’t tell you much.  Connor (Cameron Palatas) is a high school jock who, at the start of the film, is drunkenly stumbling around the most boring high school party ever.  New girl Heather (Brittany Curran) ends up having a one night stand with him.  As a result, Heather gets pregnant.  At the same time, Connor’s girlfriend, Amanda (Mollee Gray), discovers that she’s pregnant as well!

That’s right — Connor’s about to be a double daddy!

Of course, since this is a Lifetime film, Heather is also a psycho who carries a knife and starts to plot Amanda’s death…

It all probably sounds more interesting than it actually is.

What Worked?

I was tempted to say that nothing worked about Double Daddy but that’s not quite true.  Brittany Curran was memorably demented in the role of Heather.  In fact, she gave such a good performance that I found myself rooting for Heather, regardless of how much of a murderous psycho she eventually turned out to be.  Heather may have been crazy but at least she wasn’t boring.

What Did Not Work?

I’m just going to say it: of the many Lifetime films that I’ve watched over the years, Double Daddy is one of my least favorite.  No, it’s not as bad as The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story but then again, what is?  With the exception of Brittany Curran, the performances are dull and the actors get no help from a script that is both heavy-handed and simple-minded.

Perhaps worst of all, there’s a nasty strain of slut shaming that runs through Double Daddy.  Amanda and Heather are held to different standards while Connor is held to no standard at all.  Judgmental and bland Amanda is presented as being saintly, largely because she only has sex with a serious boyfriend and presumably only after finishing her homework.  Heather, on the other hand, becomes pregnant as the result of a drunken one night stand and, perhaps not surprisingly, is also portrayed as being a complete psycho who eventually tries to murder Amanda.  While we’re obviously meant to feel sorry for Amanda, the film allows absolutely no sympathy for Heather.  Completely absolved of any responsibility is Connor, who we are actually supposed to feel sorry for because crazy Heather is keeping him from being with Amanda, the same girl that he previously cheated on!  BLEH!

As well, let’s consider the fact that saintly Amanda and victimized Connor both come from typical upper class Lifetime families while Heather is the only character to come from a lower class background.

Seriously, exploring the subtext of Double Daddy is not a pleasant activity.

What makes all this especially upsetting is that Double Daddy was directed by Lee Friedlander, who previously directed the brilliant Babysitter’s Black Book.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

Much like Heather, I always used school field trips as an excuse to go off on my own.  I never pulled a knife on anyone though.

Lessons Learned

We live in a twisted and hypocritical world.