Wow. This was, seriously, one of the best boxing movies ever made. And the Czar has seen plenty.
The film takes place in the near future, where humans have been regulated out of combat sports entirely to protect them. By the way, the world has not improved very much as a result. To take the place of humans, robots (ever more ridiculous) have been built to fight in rings, with massive wagers and promotions and blackmarket activities surrounding it all. The Czar thought this realisticyou regulate the unsavory stuff out of anything, and it comes right back in an even worse form.
Hugh Jackman is a busted down former boxer who got pulled into this world of outrageous robots doing implausible things to each other in the ring. When his estranged wife dies, he is awarded temporary custody of his 11-year-old foul-mouthed punk, whom he takes on the circuit with him. The only warning for parents, really, is that this film had Steven Spielberg as an executive producer, meaning you get just enough of the kids potty talk to get to the coveted PG-13 rating.
Bottom line, the kid finds an abandoned robot that can mimic human actions; Jackmans character realizes that it has no weaponry, no outlandish gadgets, and no exotic silly features, but its ability to mimic is so good that he decides, in a flash of ingenuity, to teach it old-fashioned boxing.
You can guess what happens if you know anything about the Sweet Science: put a good boxer against the most outrageous spectacle-fighter, and guess what happens. Yeah, better than Million Dollar Baby. The boxing is good enough that even the Царица herself really got into it. And both kids had to be tied down: the cinematography, camera work, and general flow of the bouts puts you in the ring.
Flaws? Plentysome blatant silliness, impractical plot twists, and a needlessly racist character (in case you forgot he was a bad guy) create some eye rolls for parents; but the film makes up for it every time the robot fights, and theres a ton of it to keep you impressed. Sugar Ray Leonard himself was the fight consultant, and this movie reminds you how good he was: Jackman himself looks very credible as a boxer.
Finally, the Czar was dimly aware from the promotional stuff that the kid teaches the robot to dance with some hip hop moves. Braced for it, the Czar was relieved that the whole bit was carefully threaded into the plot and wound up, incredibly, making sense: Jackman encourages it because crowds love stupid stuff, and they love kids doing it. His character is absolutely right: a kid dancing with a robot as part of the pre-fight showboating is believable and elevated the kid to pop culture icon, and they treat it quite authentically in that regard.
Even if you hate hate hate fight movies, you will get caught up in this one. Rent it, kick back, and enjoy.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.