WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
Overall I liked this movie for my x16 teenager because it has a messages about the power of kindness, compassion, trust, and loyalty.
Parents need to know that A.X.L. is a sci-fi adventure about a teenager named Miles (Alex Neustaedter) and his advanced technology robot “war dog.” The story is similar to E.T. in that a misunderstood creature is being used/abused for research purposes until an empathetic stranger risks everything to save it. Here, though, the risk isn’t for a living being, but a battle-ready robot that’s designed to kill. Violence is the main issue: A.X.L. attacks several times, characters are frequently in peril/distressed, and A.X.L. is incapacitated in upsetting ways like electrocution and fire. There’s also mean behavior, dangerous stunts, and weapons use (flamethower, guns, crossbow). Spoiler alert: The ending may also be distressing for sensitive viewers. While the story includes themes of compassion and friendship, characters also make iffy decisions and do things like accepting stolen money and gas, and there’s some stereotyping. There’s a little teen romance that results in a couple of non-steamy kisses; teens hold Solo cups and cans at a party, but it’s never said that they’re drinking alcohol. Language is limited to “crap.”
Note: The movie was originally rated PG-13, then edited to earn a PG rating. However, in my opinion it should still be rated PG-13
Should be a PG-13 movie because it features bulling, arson, brutally burning of a dog and light violence. A.X.L. is a robotic war machine that’s coded to kill; it attacks several times, demonstrated by leaping through the air and menacingly snapping its circular saw-like teeth. Characters are frequently in peril and visibly distressed. Claw marks seen on a wall and a person. A.X.L. isn’t alive, but it’s incapacitated in torturous/distressing methods such as electrocution and fire. Quite a bit of mean behavior, including bullies sabotaging a motocross athlete, resulting in injury. While escaping peril, an off-road biker does a dangerous jump off a cliff and breaks bones in the crash that follows. Famethrower used as a weapon of destruction; a character declares that “burn stuff and fight” is just what guys do. Guns and a crossbow are used or held as a threat, though infrequently, to force compliance by both bad and good guys. Spoiler alert: The ending is emotionally fraught.