Family Film “A-X-L” Flops

Newest science-fiction flick features stale plot and borrowed ideas


Photo by Global Road Entertainment

"A-X-L" is Oliver Daly's first feature film based on a 7-minute short he created in 2015. The movie premiered on August 24th, 2018.

Natalie Pearson, Entertainment Editor

Oliver Daly made his directorial debut last weekend with “A-X-L,” and I was not impressed. That is to say, it’s downright awful. Starring a generic protagonist and his killer robot dog, this movie attempts to hop on the “man’s best friend” bandwagon that has inundated cinema as of late, and in the end, fails miserably.

The film opens with our dirt-biker protagonist Miles Hill (Alex Neustaedter) and love interest Sara (Becky G) at a motocross event, and after a few meaningless conversations, the obligatory high school party scene and a fight, Miles happens across AXL (pronounced “Axle”), a robot dog escaped from a military facility. Miles then helps the dog evade capture, and according to IMDb, the two “develop a special friendship based on trust, loyalty, and compassion.”

Yes, it’s as dumb as it sounds.

Neustaedter’s acting, however, is fairly decent. He did well with what he was given, which wasn’t much. Meanwhile, Becky G has a very unnatural-sounding delivery, making for some awkward moments where there shouldn’t be.

Throughout the film, I got the sense that “A-X-L” wanted to be too many things at once. For instance, its eponymous dog has drill-bit teeth, red eyes, and at one point tries to viciously murder a teenager who had attempted to kill it for a laugh.

Ten minutes later it becomes some kind of robot-puppy wish fulfillment. I’m not sure why that’s a feature, because it’s supposed to be a military weapon made for warfare. It also has a disco ball pop out of its head for an impromptu slow dance, so anything goes, I guess.

Graphically, AXL is not the greatest. Using CGI for action shots and puppetry for close-ups, the dog mostly ends up looking fake (and ugly) either way. Not good, considering the dog is the titular character.

By the end of the film, I was just wishing for it to be over already. “A-X-L” is dull and failed to elicit any emotion from me but indifference. With its flat characters and nonexistent plot, it’s bad but more so forgettable.

In short, “A-X-L” is severely lacking in both humor and suspense. Too scary for kids and too ridiculous for adults, it’s little wonder it flopped at the box office. Needless to say, “A-X-L” is a mediocre film in desperate need of repairs.

Natalie Pearson

Natalie became a member of the Flightline in August of 2017. She is a junior this year, involved in band. Outside of school, she enjoys watching movies and playing video games. You can email her at [email protected]