Robot Overlords is not so much unfamiliar territory for Sci-Fi fans of a certain age.
Following an earth invasion of epic proportions, robots now rule the streets and people are locked in their homes as the aliens commence their studies of humankind. Stepping outdoors risks being vaporised by a hulking Sentry or been picked off by a lethal Sniper. Through the ruins of Britain a group of four children, set out to join the resistance and locate their leader Sean Flynn’s (Callan McAuliffe) missing father. However, in hot pursuit of the group is their old teacher turned robot collaborator Mr Smythe (Ben Kingsley) who also holds Sean’s mother (Gillian Anderson) captive.
Jon Wright and Mark Stay’s screenplay set in a post apocalyptic British seaside town has shades of Terry Nation’s Survivors and John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids in places but maintains the modern look and feel of any current Doctor Who adventure. The drama itself is fast paced with some excellent scenes featuring impressive CGI robots in hot pursuit of the films young stars, Callan McAuliffe, Ella Hunt, Milo Parker and James Tarpay who all carry an edge of authenticity about them when thrown into otherwise adult situations and responding in practical ways.
The film also features a strong support cast including X Files star Gillian Anderson, as well as Geraldine James, Steven Mackintosh, Tamer Hassan and Ben Kingsley who all have plenty to contribute to the ongoing action. The neatest guest star has to be the appearance of veteran comic Roy Hudd who takes on a very serious role and is just superb in his few moments opposite Ben Kingsley.
A must-see for all fans of traditional Sci-Fi stories and especially the long forgotten classic TV serial genre of which clearly seems to have inspired this exciting film.
- Robot Overlords is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from Signature Entertainment.
- A version of this review by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on August 28, 2015