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Headscratchers: Real Steel
  • Although the Shadow Mode jog where Atom bangs into stuff is funny, one has to wonder why the robot doesn't have some sort of proximity sensors built into its body to prevent this, seeing as we already have a similar things in some cars even now.
    • He's not meant to go jogging down the street, he's meant purely to spar in a fighting area where few, if any, obstacles would be present. He's also merely Generation-2, may not have incorporated such things yet.
    • Better question; why take the robot jogging? I get that he's training him with the mimic mode, but the point of jogging is to improve endurance as a work out, something the robot can't benefit from.
      • He's not. He's just running around for the hell of it, not giving him a thoroughly-thought-out workout.
  • Why does Ricky have goons when there are freaking fighting robots? Maybe they cost a bit, but still, it would probably be cheaper in the long run. My best explanation is that he's sadistic.
    • Or it's most likely very illegal to sic robots on a human. "Assault with a Robot" may carry a life in prison term.
      • Plus that would probably kill Charlie and murder might be a step too far even for Ricky.
    • Also using robots as goons would be very obvious, and expensive as well. Plus, you'd need somebody nearby to be actively controlling the robot as well. It's just more practical to have a human goon than a robot one.
  • The fact that people seem to think voice controls are better than anything else, or at least more advanced than the Shadow Mode, is patently ridiculous. Think about how long it takes you to say something vs. doing it. Of course the robot also needs to process the words, and even if it's a super-fast process that's still vital milliseconds and processing power that could be put to better use. If the movie portrayed how long interpreting a verbal command actually took, it would resemble a Turn-Based Combat system more than a super-fast action sequence. So basically, if we take the explanation for robot fighting's popularity (harder hits, to the "death", etc.) at face value, and that somehow this phased real boxing out note  the most likely scenarios in real life would be 1) previous "live" boxers would still box, but using a robot to mimic their actions so that they don't get hurt, 2) things work almost exactly like a video game, with a bunch of dedicated nerds programming and upgrading their robots that they then control using some sort of game controller, keyboard or similar combinationnote , 3) robots are programmed so sophisticatedly (and we see hints of this when Atom sits up on his own, and saves Max) that no or very little human input is needed. This is actually the only scenario I think that could make robot fighting overtake real fights, because if it were done correctly they could act and respond much faster than a human boxer. Kind of Matrix uber-Neo level fast. Ignoring that metal is notoriously unwieldy.
    • About the "voice more efficient than shadow mode" thing, I think it has to do with laziness. You're not gonna learn the actual moves and show effort when you can just tell the robot what to do. That's how it is NOW. The less YOU have to do, the more advanced it is.
    • This bugged me too until I realized that while we don't see much enough to confirm this, the bots must have some pre-programed fighting moves. I think this is a little like Pokemon. Sure things work better when you actively participate but the bot can fight just fine on it's own. I don't think you could have old boxers still fighting with this set up since clearly the robots aren't limited to human biology. We don't (or if we do I missed it) know the rules clearly, having a hammer arm is apparently legal enough that nobody calls the maker on it. Two heads? That's cool too. Are you limited to two arms? Two legs? All sorts of stuff a real human could never mimic.
    • You have have hit upon the very point of Atom's success with this Headscratcher. One of the primary reasons Atom is successful is because he has actual training. All the rest are, literally, Unskilled, but Strong - fighters controlled by non-fighters. It may very well have been that shadowboxing robots were a 'thing' but over time as it became easier to create such robots, there became less of an emphasis on skill versus gimmick and pure power (which is not unusual - many a game has succumbed to the metagame of damage above all else) because more un-trained fighters were fighting. And without that training, they're not going to want to have complicated controls.
    • Point of fact here: Charlie's robots are in fact the only ones we see that use the voice recognition. Look at Twin Cities and Zeus—the two biggest-name bots they face in the whole movie, the most "advanced" ones, aren't run by voice commands, they're run by a team using controllers and joysticks. Heck, Charlie says Noisy-Boy has voice recognition by saying the Brazilians are "crazy about that crap," so he's not exactly so enamored with it himself. So, the OP's initial premise that people think voice recognition is the best is wrong.
  • Same troper as above, while I suppose it falls under Acceptable Breaks from Reality, the fact that these robots seemingly made of solid metal are so agile kind of annoyed me. (Yes, I know it's the same as all Giant Mecha series, probably far less egregious than the skyscraper-tall bots dancing around and ignoring the Square/Cube Law completely, but somehow the premise seemed like it should have had more plausibility.) Couldn't they have all been made of a super-hard, super-lightweight plastic or futuristic material, or at least been handwaved as "they're made of carbon fibre"? Their heaviness also makes me wonder what the hell has so much power that it can move all their numerous parts at a speed equal to that of a human's, and why Zeus (who being a modern robot, should logically have a more efficient/advanced energy system) ran out of it faster than Atom. Maybe I'm overthinking it, or maybe they just thought Viewers Are Morons and didn't bother.
    • Atom is designed to get beaten up, so he's tough and has a long battery. Zeus is designed to knock enemies out near-instantly, so power efficiency is the one thing the designers never had to care about.
    • Power generation doesn't really advance all that much. After all, we've been using the same basic internal combustion engine and steam turbine technology for quite some time now. More over, it's probably less about power generation (might as well stick an RTG in the thing) and more about power expenditure, capacity, and efficiency. You can have a really efficient system but it's not always going to have the great capacity and vice versa. And there are certainly machines and devices that can move very quickly; the challenge is less speed and more control and precision and making sure it doesn't rip itself apart.
  • Not a very important thing, but how strong did Tak have to be to smash that screen with a punch, and why didn't he get glass in his hand?
    • As mentioned on the Fridge page, the nature of that screen means it's probably designed like safety glass, to break in a relatively non-dangerous way. As for strength, it wasn't that thick.
      • Also, he was kinda pissed, so that probably had something to do with it.
  • There should be a trope called "The Future Has Transparent Technology" because it was EVERYWHERE in this film. I really don't see the great advantage of this, other than maybe looking cool. If you think scratches on screens are bad now, imagine if there are two sides of a screen where they could be. Not to mention, presumably everyone can see what you're doing even if they're standing where the "back" of a computer or device is facing.
    • Ah, but it also means you can see the ring through your screen, so you can watch the fight and the controls. That doesn't explain Charlie's phone though. Maybe it's just "kewl looking" for marketing purposes.
  • The shadow function of Atom seems to go from mimicry to mirroring and back without any command. For example, when Atom is fighting in shadow mode, he seems to mimic Charlie, but when they're between rounds and Atom is getting a pep talk, it's mirroring him (as evidenced when Max interrupts an they both look at him.)
    • There may be a simple explanation for this. If Atom is facing whatever he mimics then he would act like a mirror to their movements. Charlie raises left arm = Atom raises right arm. However if he is behind whatever he's mimicking he acts like that things "shadow." Charlie raises left arm = Atom raises left arm.
    • It might be a mild case of internal state recognition (Am I fighting or not) which ties into his old role as a sparring robot. In one form of shadow, he has to learn what an opponent might do (mirror). In another, he has to DO what someone might do (mimic). P Lus ties into the Maybe Mundane Maybe Magical aspect of whether Atom's intelligent or not.
  • If old sparring robots are built so tough that the most powerful robot in boxing history can't break one, then they would be prohibited from League fights in the interest of fairness. Any experienced 'bot driver or mechanic would know about their reputation, and would cry "foul" at the idea of taking on a fighter who literally COULDN'T be beaten. But everybody in the film, even the master robot designer, seems utterly convinced that Atom is held together with chewing gum and bent paperclips... even after he's spent weeks absorbing abuse from allegedly superior bots.
    • It's not that he's old, it's that he's a sparring bot. Atom's designed to take a lot of damage, but has very little offensive power. I don't think there's limitations on durability, as Zeus seemed to be equally tough (but with a shorter battery life).
    • Exactly. Atom as tough but it took replacing parts of him to make him a fighter. Note that some of the parts that weren't his originals actually do get damaged much sooner than he actually does. As for why no one did that any more, you can actually see a lot of this in modern gaming/other niches - people tend to go for damage over survivability (shock and awe) under the idea that if you beat the other guy quickly enough, this mitigates how much damage you would actually take (eg if he goes down in one punch, that's 'the same' as having infinite armor). This also plays into the fact that most of the robots are being 'trained' and controlled by non-fighters. Atom takes a more realistic approach - finding a balance between offense and defense because Charlie knows that you can't one-shot everything and that you have to be able to take some punishment because you will get hit - note he's also an actual fighter so he knows how these things work.
    • What do you mean "couldn't be beaten"? Atom can be beaten, as evidenced by his first fight where he nearly gets beaten by a robot that was apparently knocked together out of mostly scrap metal by some backwoods redneck. Atom is simply more durable than the average robot. If it's legal for Zeus to have pistons for arms I don't see how it would be illegal for Atom to be a little tougher than most bots.
  • I'm a little confused with the Ironic Echo of the film with Max telling Charlie "Your secret's safe with me." I dunno if it's obvious enough what they're talking about, but for some reason, it just went over my head.
    • I'm assuming that Charlie was going to say something like "I'm proud of you" or "I love you". Being a big macho man, he has trouble spitting such things out, so Max saves him from embarrassment.
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