Through some well-worn plot twists, Charlie and Max end up together as he searches for a new fighter. They find an old sparring robot that’s literally on the junk heap, and turn him into a success. The robot, named Atom, has a shadow boxing function that allows Charlie to "train" him. Atom eventually gets a chance to fight against a souped up, Transformer-like champion named Zeus. It’s Rocky vs. Apollo Creed, sci-fi style, as Charlie tries to find redemption, forge a relationship with his son, and mend fences with his old friend/love interest Bailey, played by Evangeline Lilly of Lost fame. Jackman does a nice job in his role, torn between being a success & earning big money, and doing right by Max, who’s well played by Dakota Goyo.
There’s nothing ground-breaking in the screenplay by John Gatins, from a story by Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven (which is loosely based on a Richard Matheson short story called “Steel”), but this is a fun, fast-moving film with a good cast and nice direction by Shawn Levy (Night At The Museum, Date Night). The movie has a big heart & an emotional center to go along with its action & special effects. Motion capture technology was used for the robot fight scenes, and it’s very effective. Famed boxer Sugar Ray Leonard was the film’s technical advisor for the boxing scenes, and helped train Jackman for the movie.