Transformers on a Doctor Who budget is what Robot Overlords is most clearly designed to be, and at the very least delivers on its title right from the outset.
If excessive Britishness is something that works for you, you might be drawn to this title. For the rest of us, it’s all just a bit mediocre.
In the aftermath of an invasion of Earth by alien robots, humans are confined to their homes unless given permission, and are monitored by implanted neck chips. A group of kids, led by Sean (Callan McAuliffe), manage to figure out how to trick the chip and stay out later than they should. They soon come into conflict with not only the robots, but also human sympathizers to the Overlords, led by Smythe (Kingsley). Gillian Anderson gives a performance as Sean’s mother.
Aside from Kingsley, who shows up for anything that catches his eye, it seems, the performances are negligible. The CGI isn’t great either, but the film at least recognises this, and uses it minimally or at times when it would not be so noticeably flawed. With such a self-obvious name, the film might have been able to inject a bit more self-aware humour into the whole affair, as it teases a couple times, but for the most part plays it fairly straight.
The film is rather family friendly, and would appeal to anyone from Britain looking for a sci-fi film set in that area, but there’s really nothing about this movie to stick in the mind. Average in every way.