Saturday, October 15, 2011

Real Steel

Yes, I saw Real Steel, what of it? I know, it's Rock'em-Sock'em Robots on the big screen but for some reason I was compelled. The early reviews weren't so bad, most people thought it was decent dramatic fluff with fighting robots, and that is a pretty honest account of what I saw.
Set in the not too distant future, Robots have replaced humans in the boxing ring. A former boxer turned Robot manager, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), tries and constantly fails to get a winning robot in the ring. Honestly there are times in the beginning of the film where it's frustrating to watch him be so incredibly dumb regarding his robots. He gets overly confident as his Bot takes on a rampaging bull and takes his eyes off the ring for a few seconds to cheer to the crowd. The bull gores right through his bot rendering him worthy of the garbage dump. Charlie skips out of town before having to pay up. you don't have to wonder if that comes back to haunt him later, cause it does, quite an ass whooping. Charlie seems to owe everyone money and he's leaking funds fast. He finds out that his ex-wife has died leaving him with a 10 year old son Max (Dakota Goyo). Charlie at first isn't interested in the kid, in fact he's more interested in selling him off to the kid's rich Aunt Debra (Hope Davis), who seems to be the only person that cares for this kid. He makes a deal under the table with Debra's rich husband Marvin (James Rebhorn) for 50K with the caveat that he would take Max for the summer. Charlie buys a new robot and proceeds to treat the kid like shit through about three quarters of the film before they have a bit of Father/Son bonding. The only other person that doesn't seem to hate Charlie is his ex-girl and Robot builder Bailey (Evangeline Lilly). Father and son are now desperate to locate a new robot and find a special training robot named Atom at the bottom of a junkpile and just like Rocky and every other underdog story Atom has a date with destiny in the Ultimate Robot Boxing Championship. The rest is fairly predictable but I have to say it was very entertaining.
This is kind of like the Champ meets Rocky meets Transformers. You get some pretty excellent Robot fighting with some drama between Father and Son. The kid is pretty great in fact he's one of the high points of the film. You find yourself invested in his journey and he does a great job of bringing the audience in even when the script starts to falter. Most of that is due to Hugh Jackman and his over-acting. It really feels like he's trying to hard at times, which is what makes this movie mostly frustrating. Jackman is his own worse enemy in that regard. Thankfully there are some nice moments with Evangeline Lilly as she appears to be Charlie's conscience. Anthony Mackie is great too, he's criminally underused in this film, he's such a fantastic actor and this role was completely beneath him. This really felt like a bad script that Steven Spielberg took out of the trash, tweaked it and this was the end result. There are all those Spielbergian elements floating around and most of the time they are effective. There is a part of me that wanted to show the film to my son, even though he's probably at least another year or two away from seeing something like this. But I couldn't help but think how much he would enjoy watching those Robots tear each other apart.  If you have a little guy, oh say, around the age of 5 or 6 take him to see this movie it will make him deliriously happy. It has it's faults for sure but it's cute and kind of fun and should be entertaining for the whole family.
Grade: 3 Buckets

1 comment:

free movies said...

Real Steel is one of my favorite movies. I like movie based o Robots and machines. I like the concept of the movie. You have to give credit to the director of the movie for such a wonderful movie. Don't miss it.