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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two of the best palookas in TV and film in man vs. machine face-off
Lee Marvin- what can I say? One of the best action actors of the '60s and '70s. And Joe Mantell- one of the best sidekicks ever ("Angie," "Marty's" also-unmarried sidekick in 1955's "Marty," with Ernest Borgnine as Marty; "Walsh" in 1974's "Chinatown," with Jack Nicholson as Gittes- it's Mantell who delivers the famous final line of that movie: "Forget it, Jake; it's Chinatown"), here playing Marvin's sidekick. Two palookas, tough guys at the end of their rope, fighting against the odds. Even though the episode takes place in what was then the middle-distant future, 1974, when an ostensibly more humane society than in 1963 has banned prizefighting between humans, we see that the down-and-out are still struggling just to survive.
Great story, great actors, great episode.
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