Thanks to the current 1980s renaissance in shows and movies like Stranger Things and Ready Player One, pop culture is returning audiences to a simpler time of classic sci-fi and horror basics. You didn't need tons of gore or effects, but proper emotional, human stories that would elevate your aliens and monsters to a new level. The latest project to take a page out of the '80s handbook is A.X.L., which proudly wears its influences on its sleeve, particularly Short Circuit and Flight of the Navigator.
Bowing this summer, the film stars Alex Neustaedter as Miles, a teenage bike rider who comes across a robotic dog in a junkyard. But this isn't just any ordinary mechanical canine. This pup can do more than just play fetch and chew on Milk-Bone. In fact, he's so weaponized that he can make anything other than himself roll over and play dead... for good.
It soon becomes apparent that A.X.L. (the meaning of the acronym has yet to be revealed) is a government/military-created piece of hardware, and as you'd expect, Uncle Sam wants his very expensive invention back. And so begins an epic bonding experience between man and machine as they defy the mean ol' government, which doesn't care one iota about the friendship they've created.
Watch the trailer below:
How did A.X.L. end up in that junkyard? Based on some hints in the trailer, he probably escaped after being abused by the people who created him. There are indications that he's evolving emotionally, so while he's made of cold, unfeeling metal, he's got the warm and fuzzy heart of man's best friend. Helping Miles and his newfound friend is Miles' crush Sara (pop singer Becky G).
Here's the snazzy new poster as well:
Written and directed by Oliver Daly, the film is based on Daly's 2015 short Miles, which revolved around a similar concept.
A.X.L. will play robotic fetch in theaters Aug. 24.