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James Remar, who most often plays scumbag villains actually does a fine job as the hero of this movie. He is the last skilled pilot of the giant robots, and only one is left, hidden somewhere in some unspecified jungle. Only he knows where it is and how to operate it. Totalitarian aliens have taken over the earth, and the government is full of complicit cowardly bastards. Go figure. The aliens are a bunch of fascists who basically run the humans around with tyrannical methods, they control and monitor the internet, they drive through the streets in tanks, and bust into people's homes with death squads, and haul people away to camps and exterminate them. Did I mention this is really a kids movie? Yes, this is definitely a kids movie, and perhaps this is why this movie went away into obscurity. It is a bit odd, but it is well produced.

I didn't realize just how they did the giant robot scenes until the end. They didn't do it with CGI, they didn't do it with stop motion animation or any kind of animation, I'll leave you with that, but it does look pretty good. The giant robot battle scenes are interesting and the movie actually has a plot. The kid goes on the internet to find out where James Remar is so he can convince him to fire up that Robo Warrior and fight the aliens, but the kid gets caught, and the aliens send some storm troopers to his house and haul off his mom and grandpa. James Remar is busy getting drunk feeling sorry for himself in some bar on the outskirts of the city because he feels responsible for the death of the kid's father, a soldier who died while his team was trying to get to the Robo Warrior years previously. So there's some character development, and motivations for these people. There is this narration by the kid's grandfather, who is telling this story which generally goes like a kids movie, and I have to say, that while this isn't a 'great' movie, it really isn't bad, except for the fact that generally it seems they chose to make it a children's movie.

Why is it a kids movie? Giant Robots? Aliens? A kid computer geek who idolizes a fallen hero who pilots a giant robot? Well, basically there's those things, but it really comes in the form of the tone of this movie, and the fact that the kid behaves and acts like he's in a stupid kids movie, but none of these things are what turned me off at all really. Ultimately, this could have been a pretty decent sci-fi movie for adults, if the kid had been better cast, the narration removed, and perhaps the kid storyline maybe taken out of the film altogether...but as I said, this is what the movie I believe is about. This is the kind of movie which Dad could probably get into with his kid while watching it. I liked the movie up to a point, I was assuming that Remar, once he got the robot up and running would take on the aliens with the Resistance at the end...but this is not what happens.

You have to know this because its the only way to explain just why I just couldn't give this movie my ultimate recommendation. Instead of Remar firing up the robot and taking on the aliens in some awesome Resistance supported final battle... they pull out this silly Klingon bullshit about 'the Arena' and the aliens being challenged by this Giant Robot gladiator battle. In other words, the aliens will leave the earth if the earthling robot kicks the other robot's ass, and that's it, its all about this silly fascist honor crap about who's stronger in the Arena. Are you confused? The whole movie is about the kid getting to Remar through the underground, avoiding checkpoints, and nazi-aliens and so they can sneak out to the jungle to get to the robot, and get it working to save the earth, and then instead of the Resistance which is referred to, Remar walks down to this 'government headquarters' and tells them he has found the robot, and he's ready to take to the Arena....???? So they have their giant robot fight, and guess who wins, and that's it, with a lot of this Klingon 'warrior' shit about honor and strength and blah blah blah, so if you're into that crap, you might like it, but for me it's a pretty unrealistic storyline at the end, and not very interesting. There's no way they had a budget to have Remar smashing around the city shooting at alien tanks with his giant robot, and that would have taken some serious writing to advance the plot with perhaps a group of resistance fighters on the ground with maybe a special plan of how they'd back him up, and 'blow up the bridge' sort of stuff, or kick the aliens out...etc, which is what I was really kind of expecting. So all in all, if your kids like giant robots, and you like watching movies with them, this is probably pretty good fare for them, and you probably won't mind the story, the action, etc. There is some violent fight scenes and killing, but nothing more than say, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

The acting isn't all that bad, and the production value is actually pretty decent, although we only see two aliens without their helmets on, so they saved a lot of money on makeup. This film is a lot better than CRASH AND BURN in that it has a story with a plot that does pretty well for itself, and more developed characters, and ultimately I just happen to not like the ending because I'm just not into fantasy Klingon battle-ethics or whatever you want to call it. The giant robot concept almost took a back seat to the Klingon shit, so in that I feel while there's a story behind the giant robots fighting, which makes it better storytelling than just some sort of mindless giant robot fight scenes, being that the characters are all about head-to-head fighting eachother using these giant robots, unfortunately it is kind of cheap. They couldn't think of any other way to have these guys fight in the plot, other than concoct this 'gladiator' type fight which will determine some Klingon honor clause in which the aliens must then leave the earth. I just don't buy it.

They really could have thought up a clever Resistance strategy sort of action plot in which the robot could be used to take out the aliens' tanks and giant robots while the Resistance fighters head to their headquarters or ships to blow them up, something which would allow for a more realistic victory, but that would have probably cost twice the budget that this movie did not have. The special effects for the robots however in this movie could very well be very inspirational for independent filmmakers hoping to do a giant robot action film, because well, they really kind of work, and they fooled me for awhile, once you watch and figure out how they did it, without too many mistakes which give away just what they did, you'll see that you could very easily do this today without CGI and make it look pretty good, and have a lot of fun doing it. Just make sure you have a good plot when you do this. They did manage to get the drama down pretty well, and the characters, but what they were missing was a better action plot, but for a live action movie about Giant Robots, hey, they did manage to make everything work in the production value area, so if you think of it that way, they kind of succeeded in doing it, the flaws aren't in the area of special effects or the aliens or the setting which you would immediately assume a B-Movie attempt at making a Giant Robot flick to have. Their biggest mistake is in writing, not in filming, not really in acting, and not in special effects, which is what makes this movie odd. STILL ONLY ON VHS!

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