A-X-L movie poster

After 2016’s Monster Trucks laid a giant goose egg at the box office, what made the folks at Global Road think this similarly themed shaggy mechanical pal tale would fare any better? One flip of the owner-pairing switch and a vicious robotic war dog — built by an unprincipled arms dealer and sold to the U.S. military at a high markup — becomes the friend and the sole protector of Miles (Alex Neustaedter), a young, up-and-coming motocross driver. Not that every robotic companion need be as adorable as Short Circuit’s lightning rod, Johnny 5, but even when muzzled, A-X-L (short for Attack-Exploration-Logistics), the nickel-plated hound with the Norelco Quadruple Head tonsils, is frightening enough to cause many a younger viewer’s diaper to overflow. Becky G adds energy to an otherwise empty gas tank, but for the most part, this is strictly for dog movie-loving completists, or parents whose kids have yet to see Alpha 2018.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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