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"A-X-L" Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
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Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

A-X-L seems like Transformers meets The Fast and the Furious except for kids and with no explosions or hour-long robot battles. The film is sweet and tries so hard to resonate with its audience but falls slightly short in a few areas.

The film follows Miles, a dirt-bike racer who happens to discover A-X-L, a robotic dog initially created by the government for war combat. After Miles and AXL pair, AXL becomes completely loyal to Miles, abandoning its original programming. Obviously, the government isn't happy about it and wants AXL back.

There are some similarities that are just too obvious not to mention. Let's look at the outline of the story. Guy races, guy gets close with rival's sister, guy gets tricked and hurt by rival, guy stumbles upon advanced tech and befriends it, guy tries to protect tech as if it's a living thing. So first, the relationship between Miles and Sara is almost precisely like the relationship between Brian and Mia in The Fast and the Furious and also Sam and Mikaela in Transformers. Sara even looked like a cross between Jordana Brewster and Megan Fox, right down to the low-cut tops and hoop earrings and attitude. The only difference is that Jordana and Megan had more personality than Sara did. Sara says at one point that her family is dependent on Sam Fontaine's family (Miles' rival) and that the Fontaines practically own them. So why does she strut around like a spoiled brat? Conformity?

I did like the general story, however, it's been done many times. Not only with Transformers but with I, Robot and even more adult sci-fi like Terminator. The film may not have broken new ground but it did one thing that none of the others did and that's keeping it relatable to the audience. A-X-L took a teen with problems and dreams and put him in a situation where he had to prove his worth and grow as a person. That's a role model that kids need in today's world and I commend the film for that.

The dialogue could be a bit choppy at times, but it was definitely not the worst I've ever encountered. The CGI for A-X-L was beautifully done and actually made it look like a real robot. The only problem I had with the robot was the design flaw written into the film. Spoiler alert, there's a point in the film when Sam nearly destroys A-X-L with a flamethrower. So, wait, the government created this highly advanced robotic dog to replace K-9 combat units in WARTIME SITUATIONS, but they didn't bother to make him fireproof? Uhhhh......

In conclusion, the film is worth seeing. It's certainly enjoyable but I wouldn't consider it any more than rental material. I give the film a 2.5 out of 4.

© 2019 Nathan Jasper


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