In the not too distant future, boxing has been banned and replaced by robot fighters in the ring. Sam "Steel" Kelly is a former boxer but now owns one of these pugilistic machines. Unfortunately his robot, which he's named Battling Maxo, is getting old and many of its parts are no longer available. Kelly is broke and is doing everything he can to ensure Battling Maxo can enter the ring as the promoter has made it clear there's no payment if there's no bout. When Maxo breaks down however, Kelly decides to takes its place. Written by
Portrait of a losing side, proof positive that you can't outpunch machinery. Proof also of something else: that no matter what the future brings, man's capacity to rise to the occasion will remain unaltered. His potential for tenacity and optimism continues, as always, to outfight, outpoint, and outlive any and all changes by his society, for which three cheers and a unanimous decision rendered from the Twilight Zone.
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Man vs. robot. Not exactly a new idea in the science fiction repertoire. Here it gets a fresh start as Lee Marvin has to step in the ring against a fearsome B-7, with results that might surprise you. At this stage of his career, Lee Marvin was one of the most interesting actors around. Few could convey the authority or clarity of emotion that he could. Here those qualities are put to good use and it's hard to imagine the half-hour succeeding without him. As it stands, the episode is mildly involving because we're not sure how the unusual premise will play out. Marvin is a fight manager of an obsolete model android during a period in which boxing among humans has been outlawed. There are the usual sleazy types running the bouts that Marvin must deal with, and it's odd to see this model tough guy bowing and scraping so he can get a few bucks from them. Really noteworthy for the fine make-up job turning real people into convincing looking robots. Serling sees the events as a tribute to the human spirit even though the filming plays up the tacky futility of it all. Take your pick.
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