Hey, it’s that boxing robot movie! I really liked Real Steel for two reasons: first, the trailer told you exactly what to expect and delivers on that promise; and second, it’s got a solid cast that makes the whole premise work. What could have been a campy, overly cheesy robot-boxing movie ends up having some level of depth, humor, and fun. And it’s just an all around enjoyable movie.
Is it high art? Of course not. And it has no reason to be. It’s a solid action flick with a father-son bonding storyline that ties the whole flick together in a nice package. I’ll admit that the opening sequence is a bit shaky, and could have been much better in terms of setting up Hugh Jackman’s character, Charlie, and the idea of robot boxing, but the film redeems itself quickly with plenty of energy, excitement, and action.
I especially liked the variety of robots and different types of fights they were placed in. This helped lift what could have become a mundane and tiresome sequence of fights in a boxing ring to an unpredictable level that made each fight more entertaining than the last. It was great that the robots had their own distinct personalities, fighting styles, and designs, which took it beyond being just a Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots type of film.
Hugh Jackman, who is no stranger to the world of sci-fi/SFX movies, leads a great cast that includes Lost’s Evangeline Lilly who plays Bailey, Jackman’s best friend and love interest. Their scenes together are filled with conflict, electricity, and sexual tension, which helps bring a human aspect to the story.
Along with Bailey, Charlie also has to contend with his estranged son, Max (Dakota Goyo), who gives Charlie a run for his money and helps him rediscover the passion he once had as a boxer. It is the Charlie/Max story that helps to drive the story forward, and both human-based storylines help ground the film in some semblance of reality instead of allowing the spectacle to take over.
Speaking of spectacle, the film’s visual effects and overall look helps create a futuristic world that is believable and realistic. Both real and CG versions of the robots were used throughout, and the resulting blend of both is seamless. Real Steel’s robot effects are top-notch in this film and are a testament to how far computer effects have come in only a few years.
Real Steel is an enjoyable popcorn flick that delivers what it promises, has solid performances, and some great action sequences. I highly recommend it.
Real Steel opens October 7, 2011!
What did you think of the movie? Leave a comment and let us know!