For Alaska

The behind-the-scenes story of Robot Jox concerns director Stuart Gordon going against script writer John Haldeman’s idea of a richly thematic sci-fi story. Instead, Gordon aimed Robot Jox for kids, and the result is a confused, unique, uneven VHS-born shelf-sitter.

There’s still an inherently unique element to Robot Jox, bouncing from the imported Japanese mecha genre that in the ’80s, brought Voltron and Transformers into pop culture’s robotic pantheon. A typical post-war Japanese fantasy, the mecha genre slowly worked into American culture too, taking off in videogames circa Mechwarrior (plus others) and a few years later, Power Rangers. If anything, Robot Jox was simply too soon.

For the messiness inherent to Robot Jox, it’s propped up by its promise

And in execution, Robot Jox wanders into complex themes, too bold for kids, including genetic births, sex, discrimination, gender bias, and poverty. An overarching Cold War theme doesn’t disguise the angle either as star Gary Graham portrays a pure all-American type fighting force against Russian-accented Paul Koslo. This, but all taking place post-World War III in an era of nuclear fallout, pollution, and forced service. Director Paul Verhoeven would have a field day in this context.

Gordon though brings in stereotypes akin to a cartoon, including the character Tex Conway (Michael Alldredge), hat, accent, and all, one step below Yosemite Sam. There is fun in that wacky, broad style, poking fun at the entire concept and a world where disputes are settled in ludicrous, easily manipulated contests judged by (somehow) impartial referees. For kids, it’s logical, but Haldeman’s script keeps digging for something more consequential. Brief nudity, graphic bloodshed, and international politics seep into this film against the childish elements, with neither side willing to give.

For the messiness inherent to Robot Jox, it’s propped up by its promise – oversized, human-piloted machines shooting at and smashing into one another. Given the production’s scale, the superlative miniature puppetry and stop motion helped Robot Jox find a nostalgic fan base. The work is clearly rushed and on a budget (visible strings mar numerous shots), but the spectacle isn’t lost. Practical work on barren sets does convey the world’s now vast emptiness, mostly just dirt and technologically hollow interiors. With just two major effects scenes, Robot Jox doesn’t hold back on the charm, spending the money to deliver book-ended metallic brawls worth watching for.


Robot Jox shouldn’t look this good. A sensational new master brings the color into the modern era, bright, vibrant, and seemingly new. Spot-on flesh tones waste nothing. No matter the saturation, encoding handles things, keeping Robot Jox pure and film-esque.

Rich, dynamic contrast spares little. It’s bright and bold throughout, even the multi-pass effect shots. Nothing appears weaker than the previous or next shot, Robot Jox’s consistency proving impeccable.

The real gains come from the resolution, razor sharp and textured other than composited effects shots. In close, facial definition betters some genuine classics in fidelity. Every detail in the models appears without fault. Restoration clears the print of most debris, but again, save for the composites.


Mono PCM performs better than expected considering the budget and age. There’s no wobble to the treble, and range even delivers bass at the beefiest moments. Orchestration resolves every instrument beautifully. Eighties audio rarely sounds this pure at home.


Director Stuart Gordon chats in an archival commentary, and another archival track includes effects director Paul Gentry, artist Mark Rappaport, and animator Paul Jessell. A new interview with star Gary Graham lasts 17-minutes. Actress Anne-Marie Johnson is next in the interview seat, speaking for 13-minutes. Paul Koso follows her in an older interview spanning 10-minutes. A fantastic look at stop motion animator David Allen’s career runs 26-minutes and it’s a must watch.

Photos, trailers, production notes, and a trailer round this disc out.

Full disclosure: This UHD was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

Robot Jox
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras


A confused script ultimately sinks Robot Jox, but not before a dazzling display of low budget visual effects spread across the screen.

User Review
3.5 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 34 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots ripped directly from the Blu-ray:

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