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.
See more »
Not to take anything away from Lee Marvin and Joe Mantell who give great performances as a boxing manager and his mechanic, I've never been able to buy into the fact that if boxing were outlawed that people would pay to see human like robots fight it out. Boxing is an art of scientific brutality, the reactions of humans in the, the science of landing blows to where you want and the defensive reactions are something no robot no matter how sophisticated would ever achieve.
I believe this episode stemmed from the fact that in two successive years two championship fights ended in fatalities. Davey Moore collapsed and died shortly after losing the featherweight division crown to Sugar Ramos in 1963 and a year earlier I still remember seeing Emile Griffith rain down blows on Benny 'Kid' Paret that killed him and regained for Griffith the welterweight championship. Both of those events gave a lot of impetus to the movement to ban professional boxing.
Well unlike this story in 1974 boxing was alive and well and with human combatants. Here however both Marvin and Mantell arrive in some small Kansas prairie town with their robot, Battling Maxo. He's as worn as any human fighter, he was one of the first series of fighting robots invented. But now just like personal computers, he's quite outdated. He's going against a new state of the art robot as well and then he breaks a part. After that Marvin and Mantell have a critical decision to make.
Despite what I consider not possible and certainly it was proved by time that this didn't happen, Marvin and Mantell do well in their roles borrowed somewhat from Requiem For A Heavyweight. Poor Battling Maxo was certainly not Data in the ring.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?