Real Steel (2011)

October 11, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What  Worked?

Real Steel, inspired by Richard Matheson’s short story, is about a has-been boxer that has become a guaranteed loser in the game of boxing robots. Does it sound like a lame, boxing-cliche riddled flick trying to cash-in on people’s interest in the Transformers series? It does, but it surprisingly brings more to the table than one would expect. Starring Hugh Jackman as the down and out ex-boxer, Charlie, who reunites with his 11 year old son, Real Steel has a little more beneath the hood than metal.

When a flick like this hits the silver-screen, most viewers look forward to the special effects and actions scenes, and Real Steel performs in these categories very well. The movements of the fighting robots look fluid and when they throw some fisticuffs in the squared circle, it’s a fun time for the kid you used to be. The script is standard, but the acting injects something more into all the metal and mayhem.

Hugh Jackman, playing Charlie, plays an ex-boxer that seems like the only luck he gets is bad luck. Jackman elevates the film to become more than just robots bashing other robots, as he’s on the road to redemption. He loses time after time like he’s addicted to it, and Jackman pulls off the frustration and hunger to win naturally. Initially, Charlie is a selfish prick, giving up on a relationship with his son for money, but he finds his road to redemption in the new-found bond with his son.  Dakota Goyo plays Charlie’s son, Max, and he does a solid job in the role, performing well with Jackman. The bond between father and son that is developed makes this film have some heart, saving it from being complete nonsense.

Real Steel is a family friendly, entertaining flick about fighting robots that also displays the building of a father-son relationship. Max finds hope in the underdog in the ring, Atom, just like he finds hope in his father, an underdog in life. Real Steel is no Iron Giant, but it has more to offer than Transformers.

Potential Drawbacks:

It’s a rather silly premise, even if it’s pretty fun to watch. Some of the fight scenes seem a bit silly as well, with double uppercuts and what not. For those that watched the Twilight Zone episode entitled “Steel,” this film my be a disappointment in some aspects.

The acting from Jackman is solid, but that doesn’t mean the film never gets cheesy or that the cliche parts are overlooked. The script seems to be inspired by Rocky, especially the ending, and that may take away from the film to some viewers.

There’s nothing really surprising about the film overall, as it takes the underdog boxer formula and adds some cool robots in there.

P.S. Click here for the Twilight Zone episode “Steel”

Film Recommendations:

Iron Giant


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