Director: Shawn Levy
Writers: John Gatins (screenplay), Dan Gilroy (story), and 2 more credits
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly and Dakota Goyo
Motion Picture Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 127 minutes
Robot wrestling is a growing ‘sport’ in Japan, but the hand built and controlled robots stand knee high to the competitors. In the futuristic Real Steel the scale is far more epic with the robots towering over their masters like a troupe of Terminator T-800’s. So this film’s central premise does not require a complete leap of faith like the Transformers franchise, but it does retain some sci-fi roots. And, unlike Transformers, this movie has a bit more than the crash bang wallop aesthetic.
The story of Real Steel is that of ex-boxer Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), his estranged 11 year old son Max (Dakota Goyo) and his girlfriend Bailey (Evangeline Lilly). Charlie builds, trains, and fights robots as a wandering promoter from town to town. Like his past boxing career, Charlie is a hit and miss ‘roboteer’ and is generally scrabbling around for money. His relationship with Bailey is also bumpy whilst he is forced to reconnect with his son whom he is saddled with for his latest tour.
Real Steel reminds me of the recent cage fighting film Warrior. Both have cheesy moments, regurgitate classic movie plots and yet succeed very well as big entertainment. In this one we get the father and son bonding theme seen in films such as Road to Perdition as well as the working class hero dynamic of Rocky. The acting is solid enough and Jackman is almost always likeable (although he pushed his luck with Australia). The robots look great and the fight scenes are compelling. Real Steel is enjoyable and a perfect father and son (aged 10 – 15 years old) movie.