This little film has all the stylings of a blockbuster summer movie. It has fighting robots (like Transformers), it has Hugh Jackman (Wolverine from the X-Men films), it’s got lots of “in -the-ring” fighting (like Warrior) and it’s got a familiar storyline (like Rocky). But this movie is anything BUT a blockbuster. Actually…this is a kids movie wrapped up in a lot of bells & whistles. If not for a choice number of cuss words, this movie could very well been placed in the kids section and no one would have said a thing. But it’s PG-13 rating is probably well deserved (there is a human fight scene in here) and there may be a few moments that smaller kids find a little scary so…aaaaanyway…
Charlie (Jackman) is a loner who has a passion for robots. And not just ANY kind of robot. He likes robots that can fight! He travels from city to city, town to town using his shuckster style to make money by placing bets on his robots to win. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very often so when the authorities come to find him to let him know that his 11-year old son is motherless (he abandoned them both years ago), he brokers a deal to sell Max (played by a very good young actor, Dakota Goyo) to his mother’s family for $100,000 but ends up keeping him for the summer. As the summer rolls along, the bond between Charlie & Max grows stronger and Charlie finds out that Max ALSO loves robots and so they end up roaming together, winning fights with a sparring robot that they find in a junkyard one dark and rainy night. Eventually they find themselves in the ring with the heavyweight champion robot Zeus and the ‘David vs Goliath’ storyline is in full effect.
There are a lot of things to like about this movie…and there are a lot of things to dislike. Topping the “likes” list is the way the humans interact with the robots. The effects are so good that it really looks like Atom (the sparring bot with a heart of gold) is dancing, fighting or simply mimicking little Max’s moves. I also liked Evangeline Lilly’s role as the woman of Charlie’s dreams who is not so wrapped up in his dreams. Topping the “dislikes” is the familiar storyline and the obvious bad guys who are generic in every way. But other than that…I enjoyed this flick with my 7-year old daughter and my 9-year old son…and they enjoyed it also.
Overall Rating: B-