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It probably was aiming for a wider audience but the movie in essence really is a movie that will probably be enjoyed the most by young kids. You could say that this is the "Rocky" for really young kids, about an underdog, taking a shot at the boxing title. It only doesn't involve human boxing this time but robot boxing instead.

The premise is really awesome of course but I must say it probably works best for the first part of the movie and at the end. In the middle the movie starts to take a more dramatic approach. Nothing wrong with that of course but it doesn't ever feel like anything gets developed properly and involving enough.

The movie is really filled with missed opportunities. For instance at points they decided to give the boxing robot, named Atom, some almost human like emotions and characteristics but the movie does far too little with this. It could had created a real special and heartfelt bond between the little boy and the robot but instead the movie is only really sporadicly doing this, so it just never becomes anything truly effective.

Also the story itself is far from anything believable of course. And no, I'm not just talking about the fact that it involves robot boxing but more so about it that it features a story in which an 11 year old boy builds his own fighting robot, pretty much from scratch and not only that but he kicks some robot butt with it as well and even after just a handful of fights gets to take a shot at the world title, against a robot that obviously cost millions of dollars to build, train and maintain and had years of experience at the top. But oh well, this is of course a story lots of young boys want to see and get excited about. So again, as a kids movie it definitely is serving its purpose but also as an adult it also all remains perfectly watchable, since there still is plenty to enjoy for them as well, also story-wise.

Luckily the movie has plenty of great elements in it to make up for its weaknesses. Because all in all, I still did really liked this movie and was even loving it at times.

First of all, it's a great and spectacular looking movie. It uses some great cinematography and the special effects are really topnotch. It truly does feel and look like the human characters are interacting with the robot ones and the use of real shot stuff and CGI blends in perfectly and seamlessly with each other. Also the music by Danny Elfman and its sound design truly adds to the movie!

Also the fights themselves, and lets face it, that's what the movie is all about, are truly spectacular and thrilling to watch. They are well put together and puts you right into the action, which really makes you want to root for Atom. Seriously, to me it was almost just as thrilling and exciting as any of the fights, from any of the Rocky movies. One thing that does still puzzle me is why boxing is something that always works so great and spectacular on film, while in real life it really isn't every anything half as exciting or spectacular to watch.

Hugh Jackman really needed a movie like this again. There once was a time, not too long ago, he was asked to be in basically everything but now days, after a couple of not so big successes behind his name, he most likely didn't had lots of big movie offers being thrown his way. But with this movie he shows he's still in good form, also psychically. He really gave away one fine performance, even though his character maybe isn't exactly the best written. The young Dakota Goyo also did a more than great job. Little kids in movies can so often get incredibly annoying when they have to act in all sorts of situations with all different type of emotions but Dakota Goyo really manages to pull it all off really well and convincingly.

The movie is further more being filled by some other great and also likable characters. Now, some of them indeed feel a bit comic-book like at times but in my opinion this actually suited the movie its overall atmosphere and way of storytelling very well.

So a movie with hits and misses but luckily still mostly hits. And sometimes when the movie hits, it hits really well!

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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