Movie review: ‘A.X.L.’
This is a gentle but bland tale of a teen motocross racer (Alex Neustaedter) who happens upon, tames and bonds with an experimental robotic war dog. With the help of the girl (Becky G) he would like to make his own, the lad tries to protect his mechanical pet from being recaptured, either by the military or by the ethically impoverished corporation that developed the high-tech creature. An over-privileged track competitor (Alex MacNicoll) with a sadistic streak and a fondness for flamethrowers poses yet another threat to the automated canine. Writer-director Oliver Daly’s feature debut, developed from his 2015 short “Miles,” offers viewers little more than the supposed exhilaration of watching the protagonist pop wheelies and fly aloft on his bike while his sidekick keeps pace. Though the screenplay momentarily plays a bit fast and loose with property rights, other objectionable elements are few and the main relationship chaste. Some nonlethal violence, an incident of benignly viewed petty theft, an unfinished crude term, a few crass words. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.