10 Underrated Science Fiction Movies You Must See

5. Robot Jox

Strange Days
Empire Pictures

Produced by legendary schlock-meister Charles Band and directed by Re-Animator's Stuart Gordon, this 1990 sci-fi romp may seem like a blatant RoboCop cash-in from the title alone, but it's proved to be an influential cult favourite in its own right.

In a post-apocalyptic future, the resolution of World War 3 saw all warfare declared illegal worldwide. Instead, world powers now settle their disputes via one-on-one combat in giant robots, and the 'Jox' who pilot these mighty mech suits become superstars: none more so than Achilles (Gary Graham), champion of western superpower The Market.

Given this was a 1990 production, it's little surprise that The Market and its principal opponent The Confederation are barely concealed stand-ins for the USA and the USSR; and, in common with Gordon's horror movies, there's a sharp thread of underlying social commentary which may come as a surprise, given how low brow the material seems.

Still, one can just as easily disregard the political overtones and simply revel in the rock-'em sock-'em robot fighting action. Robot Jox has a tremendous old school charm thanks to its chunky, anime-inspired mech suit designs, mostly brought to life via good old fashioned stop-motion animation.

And, if the premise alone didn't make it obvious, there's no denying it had a major influence on Pacific Rim; look no further than the fist-grabbing move the Jox do when they board their mighty mech suits.

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Ben Bussey hasn't written a bio just yet, but if they had... it would appear here.