A.X.L. is a 2018 American science fiction adventure film written and directed by Oliver Daly and starring Alex Neustaedter, Becky G, Alex MacNicoll, Dominic Rains, and Thomas Jane.
A.X.L. is a top-secret, robotic dog that has advanced artificial intelligence created by the military. After an experiment gone wrong, A.X.L. is discovered hiding in the desert by Alex, a kindhearted outsider who finds a way to connect with the robot. The two soon develop a special friendship based on trust, loyalty and compassion. Helping Miles gain confidence, A.X.L. goes to any length to protect his new companion, including facing off against the scientists who want their creation back.
Why It Sucks
- Overall, the film is very bland, with the plot being basically a lackluster rehash of Short Circuit.
- The characters suffer from either being lackluster or poorly-written:
- Miles is a generic protagonist whose mother passed away some time before the events of the film, currently lives with his father, having moved into a town, currently failing at school, teams up with an odd-looking creature, gets a love interest at near the end, and goes through a major "life-changing" adventure after being chased by authorities.
- Andric is pretty much lackluster as an antagonist, as he basically does nothing but watch over A.X.L. and programs him to do something from time to time.
- The teenage characters heavily act awkwardly and as if they were oddballs; something several movies about teenagers suffer from.
- A.X.L. is supposed to be a dog, hence his resemblance to one, yet neither looks nor sounds anything like an actual dog; in fact, he more or less resembles what can only be described as a deformed version of Megatron from Transformers (and yes, you can see his teeth all the time, making it uncanny), and sometimes he makes weird noises not even robots would make, in fact, the noises he makes sounds extremely broken.
- Part of his design has his teeth be shown all the time, which appears to be rather uncanny.
- A.X.L. was only made because... "people kill people"; yep, this machine was only made just so more people would be killed.
- The soundtrack is consistent with heavy dub-step music, even in unnecessary situations.
- The advertisements make it seem like an action film, but it turns out there is barely any action in it, and instead this movie is actually just Miles and A.X.L. trying to "bond" with each other, with several moments that only exist to pad the runtime.
- There are some disturbing moments that would make this film seem like a PG-13 rated film rather than a kids' film. For instance, Sam actually burns A.X.L. alive on-screen, and later on A.X.L. tries to kill Sam back. Around that same time, there is even a jumpscare from A.X.L. (again, in a kids' film). At the near end of the film, A.X.L. defeats the soldiers by causing himself to explode. This will entirely upset kids, considering the fact that A.X.L. resembles a dog, and seeing an animal die is definitely something you wouldn't want to let your kids see.
- There are several plot holes in this movie, particularly when Miles promises his father that he (said father) will see A.X.L, but the father never gets to see him in this film.
- Another example: A.X.L. has an interesting power that he can hack into systems such as an ATM machine, where it would malfunction and money would shoot right out of it. It is only shown in a single scene and is never brought up again for some reason.
- The computer-generated imagery for A.X.L. looks like he is a puppet being controlled by somebody.
- Sequel baiting: When Miles gets the pairing key from A.X.L, he tries it out, and apparently A.X.L. is somewhat getting rebuilt from his explosion, and afterwards, the end credits play.
- Although A.X.L. is a robot, he is constantly abused by being beaten by drones as well as being tased, getting burned alive, as well as being punched and kicked, depicting animal abuse.
- The relationship between Miles and A.X.L. is really heartwarming.
- Funny moment where Miles crashes from his motorcycle his friends play the video and make fun of it.
The film was unfavorably reviewed by critics, with it receiving a 27% critic score and a 60% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, a 5.2 rating on IMDb, and a 29 rating on Metacritic, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews."
The film also flopped at the box office, as it made a total of only $8.3 million.