Being in Mauritius, a small Island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, means that I get to see movies much later than everyone else, hence the “second run” in the title.
First let me tell you that my whole family love boxing. When we lived in the UK, we would gather to watch the big live matches on the TV. But the horrible deterioration of heroes like Ali and the tragic Eubank/Watson fight, coupled with the move to Mauritius and the corresponding lack of coverage have taken their toll and our enthusiasm for the noble art has taken a pounding over the years. The last boxing film I saw did not restore my faith in the sport either. I’m talking about Million Dollar Baby. Like I said, I saw the match that ended Watson’s career, so seeing a similar scenario slapped up on the big screen and the fake romanticism of the assisted suicide, really got my goat.
So today I watched Real Steel. And I’ve got to tell you, as both a tech nerd and a, somewhat, disillusioned boxing fan, I loved this film. It was both action-packed and heart-warming. The retro-futuristic look of dust-bowl fairs, the nods to Mattel’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em toy, Terminator 2 and just about every boxing film ever made were obvious, but not derivative. Apparently the retro look and story are a result of the Golden Age SciFi short-story Steel by Richard Matheson. Seeing as I am a big fan of SciFi from that era, I suppose that it’s no surprise that I love the film. In fact, I really don’t have any criticism at all. I’d go as far as saying it’s the best boxing film I have seen in years. It’s also the kind of film my mum would like to watch, so hats off to Levy and Spielberg.
Bob and weave, eyes on the prize.