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A.X.L. Movie Review

A boy’s best friend is his robo-dog!

Reviewed by on Aug 24, 2018
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Could your best friend be an advanced robot dog called AXL? Kidzworld saw the film about a young guy who discovers just such a wonderful dog. Check out our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

Young motocross racer Miles Hill (Alex Neustaedter) beats rich boy Sam Fontaine (Alex MacNicoll) in a race and becomes his “mark” for revenge. However, when Miles finds a run-away, advanced robotic soldier “dog” called A.X.L. (for Attack, Exploration, Logistics), he ends up bonding with the Robo-doggie and, together they protect each other and Miles’ new girlfriend Sara (Becky G) from Sam and the mercenary forces of Craine Lab where A.X.L. was created.

Miles and A.X.L. bondMiles and A.X.L. bondCourtesy of Open Road Films

The Race and the Party

At a dirt bike motocross race, young Miles is doing well, when he is bumped off his cycle and the bike’s chain is broken. He asks rich kid rival Sam Fontaine if he can buy a new one but Sam and his dad refuse. Artist Sara, who is making sketches at the race, steals one from the Fontaines for Miles and, with it, Miles is able to beat Sam in the next race. Sam’s dad Chuck (Thomas Jane) is proud of him. Sam invites Miles to a party where wild Sam burns a car with an advanced flame thrower…for fun.

Miles is happy that Sara is on his sideMiles is happy that Sara is on his sideCourtesy of Open Road Films

At the Lab and Beyond

At Craine Labs, the lead scientist who developed and programmed A.X.L. notices that he has escaped. The “asset” was to be turned over to the military after a demonstration. The scientist knows he’s not ready. They have to get A.X.L. back and he sends out drones to search. In the desert, we see A.X.L. hiding in some debris. At the party, Miles sees several really primo bikes in Sam’s garage. He’s jealous and sits on one. Sara comes in and explains that Sam isn’t her boyfriend. She and her mom just work for his family and live in the small house out back.

A.X.L. has many capabilitiesA.X.L. has many capabilitiesCourtesy of Open Road Films

First Meeting

Miles goes out with Sam and friends to do some trick riding but they leave him in the dust with no gas for his bike. Alone, Miles finds A.X.L. and is chased by “him”. A.X.L. is damaged in the chase and Miles can get close to him. Whatever this is, Miles isn’t afraid of it. He helps A.X.L. who was about to self-destruct in case Miles was an enemy. Trust is established and Miles repairs A.X.L. The two play like boy and dog. Drones locate A.X.L. but the chief scientist wants to just watch, through A.X.L.’s camera, how his creation interacts with this new human. Sara comes to find Miles and also meets A.X.L. Miles convinces the robo-dog that Sara is a friend. When her truck gets stuck in the mud, she, Miles and A.X.L. have to spend the night. They talk about both being from one-parent households, etc.

Miles and Sara get to know each otherMiles and Sara get to know each other

A New Hiding Place

Seeing that A.X.L. has many bullet holes in his metal body, Miles and Sara decide he wasn’t treated well and don’t want to return him. He pulls Sara’s truck out and they go to abandoned buildings that Sara has decorated with graffiti where they will hide A.X.L. Her art is beautiful. After A.X.L. projects information on what he is, Miles uses a small key-like device that with “pair” the robo-dog with him forever. A.X.L. will only follow Miles’ commands now. Sam arrives and, angry, grabs Sara. Miles lets A.X.L. attack him. He isn’t really hurt but angry and terrified and runs away.

Sam is out cold after meeting AXLSam is out cold after meeting AXL

Telling Dad

Sara and Miles’ tell his dad who thinks they have to turn A.X.L. in. He is a military weapon and probably very dangerous. Meanwhile, for revenge, Sam and friends shoot video and go to the abandoned house where the robo-dog is hiding. Sam uses his flame thrower to burn A.X.L.. They send Sara the video and she and Miles come to the rescue. A.X.L. is badly hurt but Miles is determined to fix him. He and Sara take him to a workshop where they clean him up and repair him but he has to recharge and reboot so he is “frozen” in place for a while. Sara and Miles grow closer and kiss.

Sara, Miles and A.X.L. at her artsy hideawaySara, Miles and A.X.L. at her artsy hideawayCourtesy of Open Road Films

Is A.X.L. Safe?

The real (non-mercenary) military finds out about the lead scientists’ shady work with the “dog”, arrest him and follow the drones to find A.X.L.  Sam and his buddies are also there at the workshop to get final revenge. Can A.X.L. reboot in time to get away or help his new friends?

Evil scientist wants Miles to give up control of A.X.L.Evil scientist wants Miles to give up control of A.X.L..

Wrapping Up

A.X.L. has a 1980’s Sci-Fi movie vibe. There were many teen-aimed films in that decade featuring a kid who finds a robot, befriends it and saves it from evil scientists or governments (Short Circuit, Batteries Not Included, etc.) There is nothing new here storywise. You know what will probably happen, although the ending does leave more hope than expected. This is the same story presented in those ‘80’s films but this robotic entity/dog is way better looking and more believable due to modern CGI.

Sara and Miles grow to love A.X.LSara and Miles grow to love A.X.L.Courtesy of Open Road Films

It’s warm and fuzzy to see how the filmmakers erased the boundaries between pure technology and human bonding and feelings by having a purely mechanical creature develop a soul and emotional, bonding attachments.

A selfie with A.X.L.A selfie with A.X.L.Courtesy of Open Road Films

If you are into motocross sports and racing, there are some fun action sequences that you might like. The lead actors are attractive and do an okay job. A.X.L. won’t set your Sci-Fi world on fire but it has enough action, heart and romance to make it somewhat enjoyable. We give it three stars.

A.X.L. Movie Raing: 3

A.X.L. Movie PosterCourtesy of Open Road Films

See A.X.L. in theaters now!

Have Your Say

Are you into friendly robot or boy and his dog movies? What would you program a robot dog to do? Let us hear from you!  Post a comment below or do your own short review after seeing the movie on your Profile page!