Rated: PG for sci-fi action/peril, suggestive material, thematic elements and some language. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: August 24, 2018 Released by: Global Road Entertainment
This could be called A Boy and His Dog, because most of the film is the paring of Miles (Alex Neustaedter) and AXL (Dorian Kingi). AXL is a robotic dog created to be a military tool replacing live dogs in combat. A-X-L stands for Attack, Exploration and Logistics.
AXL escapes from the factory where he was constructed and heads into the desert where he is wounded and falls into a pile unable to function. Miles discovers the new invention and helps to free the creature and bring it back to function ability. The A-X-L set in a learning mode has the ability to determine a situation as safe or dangerous to its existence. Miles discovers the paring key and when he presses the device the two are paired as far as the AXL is concerned.
The most effective portions of the film play out when Miles either on foot or on his motor cross vehicle interacts with AXL, jumping over barriers and traversing trails in the dry parched sand. The AXL fits beautifully into the film, the special effects as it cavorts with Miles and also when it defends its self from the drones searching for it and from Sam (Alex MacNicoll) the bad kid in the film who has a flame thrower to attack the new creature.
Miles not only develops a relationship with AXL he finds more comfort from Sara, a stunning Becky G, who reaches out to AXL and Miles when they need help. Sara and Miles are sort of second level citizens and the vicious Sam comes from money. AXL is also not in the top level of control, he is expected to be of service to the corporation that invented him. All three spend time together in the empty vacant land and bond together.
With a constant threat to the existence of AXL from Sam, the military and the dark corporation leaders there is little time for the boy and his dog to come together even when they are paired through the system established in the creature.
We find too much time is spent running and ducking rather than developing solid relationships which could aid in the development of the computerized canine and make Miles the sharing master of the new invention.
Becky G dresses up the film and the AXL dog is spectacular as he travels and runs through out the film, but little else happens and the director fails to give us a clear ending, only allowing for the possibility on a sequel.