A knock-out of a film that won’t go down without a fight…especially if it’s for your family!
DreamWorks Pictures in association with 21 Laps Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment, Angry Films, ImageMovers and Touchstone Pictures present…
Based on a partially done episode for the Twilight Zone series called “Steel” made on 1956. The film gives emphasis on a washed up boxer still searching for the reason to fight and earn money but in a new place, time and motivation!
Director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) creates the bravura while levitating the drama between a father and a son, trying to bring them closer despite so much pain coming from a mother who passed on leaving her child confused, while seeking glory is her sister who wants to adopt him. Trying to get Charlie (Hugh) reacquainted with Max (Dakota) who gets more into trouble by making a catch 22 deal with the Aunt Debra’s husband Uncle Marvin, since he just needs to make some money to buy robots for the tournament! Both the Director and Steven Spielberg bring together a film with a signature take on a father and son struggling relationship which they adhere in the projects they make and produce!
Writers Dan Gilroy (Two for the Money) and Jeremy Leven (The Time Traveller’s Wife) gives a heart warming story but still infuses the right type of excitement and action for the spectators to appreciate. The male consensus can be taken from the boxing part, let alone geeks who dreams of watching it become a sport and be incorporated into robots! While the female audience will take a chance with its tale of redemption and family getting back together again! What can I say it’s for everybody!
Storyboard Artists helped key in actual scenarios that will take place specifically in the fighting arena Joel Venti, Trevor Goring and Michael Anthony Jackson gives light into actual events that can be placed and used to maximise the delivery of the actual shots made!
Two noteworthy aspects of the film were the animatronics used on the robots and the drama that encompasses the story. For the former, it was tasked to Legacy Effects which was headed by Jason Matthews, they were able to provide the animatronics aspect of the film which in turn converted by Simulcam which allows actual fighters being converted into robots instantaneously into the screen and provide the needed CGI to make it as authentic looking as possible! Even boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard gave inputs and pieces of advice on the set to capture every positioning of fighters and moments of its execution!
Kevin Durand (Robin Hood) and Hugh Jackman (Prestige) returns from their previous mutant movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. Here, they’re still fierce competitors and businessmen as from “loaned” money are concerned! I believe Hugh traded his adamantium claws to buy, build and train these fighting machines to entertain in the ring! He brings life to Charlie Kenton, broke and always on the run from his previous “business” colleagues! While Kevin plays Ricky who lost a ton of weight while providing a robot versus bull match “entertainment” in a rodeo fair.
Hugh can definitely bring in the goods even with drama but it had to be a little more convincing when it comes to being a father trying to win back his son, his emotional take in his role was sub-par on that specific aspect but on the other hand, while being a tormented and broken man is without question another strong asset which he can persuade his audience to keep coming back in his films!
His first fighter was called Ambush, a rust bucket that was given a challenge to fight the Black Thunder! Full of optimism and arrogance, Charlie made a $20 thousand deal and lost everything simply by being distracted by a lady spectator! Then, he purchased a former contender from the WRB title named Noisy Boy, Japanese in origin but has been around the futuristic tournament and the world for quite some time to make a name of its own! Again, his lack of preparation and overconfidence resulted in a massacre coming from Midas “The Gold Blooded Killer”!
Then when suddenly all seems lost, fate did “save” the day! A new fighter is found and you can really feel the will power of Atom trying to stay alive in the ring and in every match! It made such a huge impact when it fought the current world champion named Zeus, a powerhouse sponsored by the wealthy and manipulative Farah Lemcova portrayed by Olga Fonda (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) while designed by Japanese impulsive genius Tak Mashido whose role was given to Karl Yune (Memoirs of a Geisha). Since it was just a sparring Generation 2 robot that just needed someone to believe in while believing in themselves that they could make a difference, to be accepted and to be a true winner not just in the arena and the roaring fans but also for the one’s that you love!
There is another Dakota in town! Dakota Goyo (Thor) is Max Kenton an unwanted child from a previous relationship with Charlie. Since his mother died, he’s Aunt wants to adopt him while Charlie looks at it as a way to earn fast cash to buy another robot! Another cast was Evangeline Lily (Hurt Locker) she plays Bailey Tallet, the daughter of a former trainer to her childhood friend! She is now owner of the boxing gymnasium where Charlie tries so hard to give credit! Their on and off bantering whether through money problems and spare parts has left the business losing financially!
To add, some of the major companies were not half as shy to broadcast their participation in the film such as ESPN and Bing.com gives it some major sponsorship! Even the music was conforming and fantastically resonates into the background coming from well known artists to give life, rhythm, energy in the film! They are Eminem, Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, Crystal Method, Timbaland just to name a few!
It was not bland, cheesy nor boring. It was fun, enthusiastic and there were lessons to learn coming from broken family relationships! I remember a certain game called Punch-Out where a guy by the name of Little Mac was destined to become Champ against the era’s undisputed heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson! Mac has the same idealism of Atom that makes him a crowd favourite and what drives him to excel in his game are his two closest friends Charlie and Max!
I really thought watching this film would just let me kill time but it was definitely worth it! It gave meaning to dual clichés from most of the stories told but here, it was not just fighting in the boxing ring more importantly it’s about fighting for your family!