Live-size, live-action “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots?”
The premise is pretty basic: a down-on-his-luck former boxing champ Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) needs cash for a new robot so he can make some $$$ in the ring as the sport of boxing has been outlawed and replaced with robot fighters. In debt to a lot people, he gets stuck with the child he fathered from a previous relationship. Discovering a robot buried in a scrapyard, it turns out there might be more to it (the robot’s name is ‘Atom’) than meets the eye (pun intended).
So how was it?
Very good flick!
Sure – it borrows heavily fro
m “Rocky,” “Over The Top” and a bit of “Short Circuit” (is or isn’t the robot ‘Atom’ sentient?) but the movie hits it’s story beats perfectly and the film is well-crafted so you actually enjoy it despite the seeing the story outcome from the very beginning.
The row-buts – very well-designed and executed. This one of those rare occasions where the CGI and the Puppetry / Animatronics is seamless (the last time I couldn’t tell when I genuinely knew there was an even mix was 2001’s Jurassic Park 3 with the Spinosaurus / Tyrannosaurus Rex brawl – I still can’t really separate the two technologies)!
The cast – especially the kid. 99.9% of the time you can’t stand the kid; the kid here is genuinely likable, smart and the story treats him as an equal to Jackman’s character.
Danny Elfman’s score – a very non-Elfman score, which so far, I’ve only heard once and that was 2003’s Hulk. You know what I’m talking about – Elfman’s Tim Burton mesh that is distinguishable and in the majority of 90% of film scores. This is a good thing as I like it when composers venture out into unfamiliar territory (Compare the Spider-Man score to Men In Black and you’ll see what I mean…).
One other thing I like – the date in which the film takes place is never mentioned; closest we get is the fact that one of the robots was manufactured in 2014. One of the thing I hate most that sci-fi flicks are esp. guilty of is “dating” their future. Nothing kills the escapism of a film than seeing a date, esp. a current “future” date which hasn’t quite turned out the way predicted (SeaQuest’s “guv’ment banning of beef” in 2004, anyone?). The only thing fanciful are the robots and the sleekness of some of the tech; but just like the swingin’ 60’s fifty-years past, people still wear business suits, jeans, sweatpants, sneakers, dresses, etc. and all the daily shenanigans of life play out as normal.
The only real “con” I see is the story is a cobbling of already familiar plotlines…
The “champ / underdog” and “over-the-hill sportsman gets another shot of glory” of “Rocky…”
The “son travels with father to questionable locals while dealing / betting with shady characters” of “Over The Top…”
The “bad father who truly loves his son / discovers love for his son” from just about any family drama…
…but like a said – the film is so well made and adds some new tracks to the well-beaten path that you just follow along happily.
What I’m saying is…
…the movie was good – better, in fact, than some (most) of the mega-budget summer popcorn flicks!
Support it and go and see it!