Why is it that we love manly movies? I just saw Real Steel and I loved it, fighting robots, who would have thunk it, but I think I know why. As I have said before, boys and girls are different and us men love ourselves a good old-fashioned boxing movie. The underdog using his fists and natural talent to take a beating and come out victorious against a stronger and tougher opponent. It’s Men 101. Of course, you have to have some relationship problems in the plot. This is the classic, soft-hearted tough guy theme. The little boy, women or brother, take your pick, tries to break through to the interior of this grizzled old tough guy. And aren’t they always down on their luck or not expected to win by any means, but yet they always come out on top or close to it. Doesn’t matter it gets me every time.
The bell rings for the final round and we see the hero, barely on his feet, his face and body have taken a beating and he is barely conscious. He stumbles towards his opponent who blots out the sun by his sheer girth. His opponent comes at him like a freight train, landing blows like missiles to his face and body. The heroes son, girlfriend, brother yells from the crowd (never in the front row always back in the crowd somewhere) “Fight back!” as a solitary tear runs down their face. Then in slow motion, the hero takes a devastating blow to the head, we see in slow motion spit fly from his mouth. We cut to the first person perspective of the hero, the sound is muffled and everything is in slow motion, he is woozy, he is hurt. Then like the film catching up the action jumps back to full speed and the heroes son, girlfriend or brother yells one last time. “FIGHT!” The music rises as we see the hero get a burst of energy, like the phoenix rising from the ashes he is reborn. He is landing punches solidly and we see the villain retreating, we then see the look in the villains’ eyes, he is worried. In unison we all are thinking, go for it! The hero like a man possessed then starts pummelling his adversary relentlessly and as the music reaches a crescendo the hero lands one final blow that falls the behemoth like a giant redwood. Like the biblical story David and Goliath, the underdog has won. Credits.
Like I said before it doesn’t matter how many times I see this same scene I always get a little excited. Even writing the above paragraph got me a little pumped. So in honour of all that is boxing and the fact that as a sport it is dying, here is a list of some of my favourites in no particular order. These are my picks but for a more comprehensive list, you can go here.