Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Age Restriction: PG13
Plot: In 2020, robot boxing has replaced human boxing. Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), a washed up boxer, uses robot boxing as a means of getting by (not very well though). He is strapped for cash, owing every Dick, Tom and Harry money, when the opportunity comes along; he sells his estranged son to his ex-girlfriend’s sister. He sells his son for 100 grand on the condition that his son stays with him for the summer. Max (Dakota Goyo), Charlie’s son, finds a sparring robot in a junk yard that no one thinks is worth anything, but, surprisingly, has a lot of fight still left in him.
I wasn’t keen on seeing this movie, and wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean the concept wasn’t all that original, I thought it would be like Rock ’Em Sock ’Em robots. These robots are so much better, though, giving you all the pageantry of boxing without all the blood (I’d much rather see oil spills than blood). Every robot had its own persona, which is hyped up by their human owners. Unfortunately these robots do not fully control themselves and are more remote control than AI, which is quite disappointing.
Charlie as an absent father is quite believable, but it’s his little co-star that steals the show. Max, a fanatic of WRB robot fighting, has all the attitude and intelligence of someone far beyond his 11 years. Bailey (Evangeline Lily), daughter of Charlie’s former trainer, is the obvious eye-candy (and possible love interest) in the movie, but her character could have featured a little more, especially since she is somewhat of a techie and robot engineer.
Even with all its faults, this movie is suspense-driven, as I was on the edge of my seat many times. I wanted this movie to suck, but it really didn’t and far surpassed my zero expectation. The underlying story is predictable and a few fight scenes needed little more time to polish. Despite all of that, I still enjoyed the movie, routing for the little guy (both boy and robot), and is definitely worth a watch.