Since we just posted the latest trailer to Pacific Rim, a film in which giant robots piloted by humans defend Earth against monsters from another dimension, we got to thinking. What other films about dudes piloting giant mechs have we seen? Well, here’s five of them. We avoided anime films as well as films made outside of North America, just to make things difficult for us.
Robot Jox (1990)
It seems giant mechs in films are used for two purposes: to either defend Earth from an alien menace, or to fight to the death with other mechs and their pilots. Robot Jox was one of the latter, set in a world in which war is replaced with robot combat. It’s not a great movie, but the stop-motion animation on the mechs is surprisingly well done and it’s directed by Stuart Gordon, who directed The Re-Animator, so it’s not without its charm.
Robot Wars (1993)
“From the producers of Robot Jox!” comes Robot Wars, and all bets are off! Or something. This time, nations are once again thrust into war as a couple of dignitaries hijack the last mech on Earth (or so they think!) and use it to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Anyway, it turns out there’s another mech that’s been long lost for ages. A renegade pilot and his pals use it to SAVE THE DAY! USA! USA! US.. er, EASTERN ALLIANCE! EASTERN ALLIANCE!
Crash and Burn: Robot Jox 2 (1990)
OK, so apparently this is also supposed to be a sequel to Robot Jox. An evil corporation known as Unicom (which I believe is one of the five names you are required to use if you have an evil, futuristic corporation in your movie) tries to keep the population at bay and under control by using synthetic, robot agents. A small group of rebels discovered the giant mechs of the past and plan to use it to wrest control from Unicom, BUT IS THERE A SPY IN THEIR MIDST? PROBABLY. Probably the movie on our list with the least amount of giant robot action, but it does sort of make up for it with a lot of cleavage. If you’re into that.
Robo Warriors (1993)
In lieu of an actual trailer (one that’s in English, anyway), here’s the first 13 minutes of the actual movie…
This one stars James Remar, who you may remember features in the new indie superhero thriller All Superheroes Must Die. This time around, like in Pacific Rim, Earth is being invaded and only our forces of giant mechs can save us from doomsday.
Real Steel (2011)
The only film on this list without some sort of variation of the word “robot” in the title, it’s also surprisingly good. It’s got all your usual sports/boxing movie cliches: a down and out fighter with one more chance at the big time, a little kid, the big tournament, overcoming all the odds, yadda yadda. But Hugh Jackman is really good in it and, for what it’s worth, it’s a lot of fun and energetic.
We clearly missed a bunch of anime and foreign movies on this list, so go ahead and list your favorites below.