John Tripi's Fantasy Draft: Robot Jox: Lucas, Lincoln, Takei, Norris
(Editor's Note: The following is part of The First Cosmic Book News Fantasy Hollywood Draft; keyword being "fantasy")
"It is fifty years since the nuclear holocaust almost destroyed mankind, war is now outlawed, and all territorial disputes between the two great alliances are settled by single combat. A battle rages between two gigantic fighting machines piloted by their nations’ champions: The Robot Jox."
That is just part of the opening for my choice in the First Cosmic Book News Fantasy Draft; my choice is rebooting the (1989) sci-fi movie Robot Jox. Sci-fi gamers out there might remember 1989 as the year the very first MechWarrior game from Activision came out, and exactly ten years after the first Gundam. The whole decade was alive with Mechs from both America and Japan. I remember watching this even before anything to do with Star Wars or Star Trek making it probably the first sci-fi I ever watched.
Robot Jox centers on giant mechs that fight wars instead of entire armies because humanity has been devastated by nuclear fallout from World War 3 and the people don't want another nuclear war breaking out fearing total extinction. This puts all of the pressure of war essentially on the shoulders of the two Alliance factions: one being Alexander a merciless jock with a stereotypical Russian Block accent and the other being Achilles, the 'Pretty boy' egotistical American who is his Alliance’s last hope after Alexander kills the other remaining team member. (No spoilers it literally happens right after the intro.)
My interpretation of the movie could be carried with a strong PG-13 or very light R since the movie doesn't need any gore or human on human bloody violence, there also isn't any sex and while there is developing romance the movie doesn't have the feeling that anything like that would belong. The only thing that would bump the rating up in my opinion would be language. Robot Jox carried a PG rating itself, but times change and I feel released now it would carry a higher rating and would benefit from a more dialogue as in many parts the movie feels overly-scripted.
On that note here are my picks for Director and cast:
Director: George Lucas
I picked George first because he has a lot of experience not only writing but also directing sci-fi movies. The father of Star Wars with his finger in every project that comes out base in the Universe along with several of his own companies (ILM, Lucas Arts, Skywalker Sound, Lucas Film to name a few) he could bring all of that production might to the project and make it shine in ways other directors might not be able to because they wouldn’t have such ready access to his resources for such a sci-fi production (virtually all other movies come to at least one of his companies). Yes, I accept he hasn't made the biggest splash of late but the original movie was B-list at best and yet I still enjoy it a lot so if it just met that level I think it would be a success.
Achilles: Andrew Lincoln
For the title character I picked Andrew Lincoln. Many of this site’s readers might recognize him as Rick Grimes from The Walking Dead on AMC. I picked Andrew because of his recent performance in that show and how the range of personality he showed made a big impact on me. I think he was perfect for the last remaining US Alliance member in Robot Jox. I also chose him because I felt the film needed someone a bit less American since it's supposed to be about alliances so the main group should have a bit more diversity. In the original movie the whole team all seemed American which didn't make it feel like an Alliance just 'The USA against Russia.' Not only that but as of 2012, he is the same age as Gary Graham, the actor who played the original Achilles which is an odd coincidence
Athena: Gina Torres
A veteran of many sci-fi productions including Firefly, Serenity, Cleopatra 2525, The Matrix 2 and 3 going even into games like DC Universe Online, she has a lot of experience in the genre and working with different directors. Her experience will be an asset bringing her own flair to the role originally brought to life by Anne-Marie Johnson. I also feel she would fit well against Andrew Lincoln both being more than capable of holding the audience’s attention. While the mech battles center mostly on Achilles and Alexander, the relationship between Athena and Achilles was also important to show that women can hold her own in this world as well.
Alexander: Karl Urban
I was hoping to make Alexander a more imposing enemy than the original effort put forth by Paul Koslo in the original which seemed to be trying too hard. This may have been the writers’ fault trying to up-play his origins rather than focusing on his actions. I picked Karl Urban for this role because he can act rough and tough, has a great voice for the title antagonist and would do the role justice. It would also be a bit of a departure from his 'Good Guy' persona from Lord of the Rings, Doom, Star Trek and more in line with the Vaako character from the Chronicles of Riddick series.
Guess who's next Achilles?
Doctor Matsumoto: George Takei
This one I picked for my own amusement and because I am a George Takei fan. I did keep my pick in line with the original characters Asian ethnicity. George also has experience with sci-fi and many other genres, but I've never seen him play a mentor role like Matsumoto so I think it would be something a little different for him.
Commissioner Jameson: Jeffery Combs
My reasons for picking for Jeffery are not only his work on several Star Trek series, but also his connection to the original movie. In the original he was 1st Prole, a very minor part but I moved him up because his current age and experience make him perfect to play the Commissioner. I also like him as an actor. He's shown an ability to play various roles well but I would like to see him in more things aside from Star Trek.
Professor Laplace: Amy Adams
In the original movie, Professor Laplace was in her twilight years; experienced and well respected. In the new film I picked someone much younger but old enough to have experience and respect. I also tried to keep from having too many A-list people on the film because of its B-list nature. I felt I needed at least well known actress so I picked Amy.
Tex Conway: Chuck Norris.
For the role of Texan Tex Conway I picked none other than Chuck Norris: famous in part for his role as Walker, Texas Ranger. To my knowledge he has yet to do anything related to sci-fi, and while he has done movies, I picked him not because of that, but simply because I wanted too. His following has become kind of a cult culture what with all the Chuck Norris quips and sayings, which to his credit even he has even spoken lightly of during interviews. I think he is a great pick for the role of the over-the-top Tex Conway.
Crash and burn, baby!
So those are all my picks for the CBN First Hollywood Draft and for the reboot of Robot Jox. There might be better picks for the roles, but I tried to keep things in line, not only with the original roles, but also the feel I got from watching the original. I got all my original picks in the draft so I didn't have to sub anyone in at the last moment except the director. So these are my purest list of choices. Would you pick someone else? Comment on your choice!