Robot Overlords | Film review - Lively action on a low budget from family-friendly sci-fi romp

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Delivering lively action on a low budget, family-friendly British sci-fi romp Robot Overlords pitches a handful of kids living in a dingy seaside town against the alien robots that have taken over the planet, implanting humans with electronic chips to monitor their activities and stop would-be rebels getting out of line.

The special effects are a bit clunky, as are the Transformers-like robots themselves, but this only adds to the film’s enjoyably retro feel.

That the kids' first thought on disabling their monitors is to raid the nearest sweet stall is a nice touch, although more mature food for thought is offered by the issue of whether or not to collaborate with an invading enemy.

The young actors are suitably sparky and so are the grown ups, with Ben Kingsley playing the nastiest collaborator, Gillian Anderson a plucky mum and Steven Mackintosh a Spitfire-flying RAF pilot.

Certificate 12. Runtime 86 mins. Director Jon Wright

Robot Overlords is showing today on Sky Movies HD and is available on DVD from Signature Entertainment.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.