Review: Real Steel

THE SETUP: A former boxer / current loser (Hugh Jackman) is having bad luck and making a string of bad choices, and then he’s suddenly saddled with a son he doesn’t want. Did I mention this is a story told in the future world of professional robot fighting? Yeah, I should mention that because to redeem himself, he’s got to find the right robot to get him back on top. I’m sure the kid will help.

THE THOUGHTS: How can you not think “rock’em, sock’em robots” when you first see this trailer? It looks cheesy, kinda silly…but what it does actually bring to the table is a lot of heart. If any of the actors hadn’t played this completely 100% serious, it wouldn’t have worked. And it does. The special effects and robot fights are kickass, the acting (dare I say it) is ernest and the story isn’t rocket science but it’ll keep you interested. It’s hard to bring more charm than the truckloads Hugh Jackman brings. Evangeline Lily adds more than the usual girlfriend role. And, the child actor in this is fine too. I’m not a fan of “cute” kids in movies and this kid was pushing it but he didn’t take away from my enjoyment. What really was impressive was that you felt the robot Atom was a genuine, thinking, feeling machine. Like Wilson in Castaway but with more punching. I left this movie pleasantly surprised (which is good when you have expectations of lame). Adding to the goodness pile: rumour is, the final fight was a shot by shot recreation of the Rocky/Drago slugfest from Rocky IV. Nice!

3 stars – good movie, take a friend. A movie that kinda sneaks up on you in how fun it is. Real Steel does something I didn’t think it would make me do….care. I’d put this above a renter.

Random Recommendations
Rocky IV (1985) – It’s got Drago. It’s got ridiculous training montages. It’s got Bridgette Nielsen. It’s got overblown American propaganda. It’s got James Brown. This is everything that was awesome/terrible about 80s sports movies. Watch it, but watch it knowing what you’re getting in to. Craptastic.

Cinderella Man (2005) – The down and out fighter with one last shot at the big time. There’s been about a million of these movies but one of the better ones was this. Ron Howard directs Russell Crowe in a true story of a boxer making a come back in the 1930s. Great story and amazing boxing match (it’s long but worth it).

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