Do you remember those Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em toys of the late 80’s? Well this movie can provide a good back story for that toy game. This was kind of a sleeper movie as it came out late after the summer blockbuster hits of 2011. I was actually quite entertained of the premise and the movie definitely delivered.
Real Steel is a movie is about a former boxing contender Charlie (Hugh Jackman) who now earns a living through “robot boxing”, a new sport set in the future where human boxing and MMA has died out. Charlie who’s always in debts finds out that his former girlfriend, with whom he has a child, died. Thus, leaving him sole custody of an estranged son, Max (Dakota Goyo). Charlie finds out Max is also interested and quite passionate in “robot boxing” and takes him with his battles. Along the way, Max discovers a “sparring robot” called Atom from a junk yard. The father-and-son tandem then goes about winning battles by training Atom real human boxing and in the process heals their relationship.
The story has lots of character development and being a movie about robots, it is surprisingly very, very human. Bailey (Evangeline Lilly), is the daughter of Charlie’s coach and trainer, and would love to see his father’s best student respect his own talents in boxing. She wants to see Charlie box again; Max looks for a father figure, but seeing Charlie’s sad state initially discourages him; And Charlie, is looking for something to hold on to, something to fight for since he thinks of himself as a washed out boxer.
Dakota Goyo, who played as young Thor in the movie Thor, steals the movie from Jackman’s convincing acting. The new kid is rich with emotions and flair. The CGI effects are flawless, the shadows and reflections on the robots are all rendered crisp without looking “too 3D”. The future setting isn’t really that distracting, since the film focuses more on the characters and not on the effects. Fictional technology portrayed is also realistically probable.
I am a Rocky fan, and I saw all 6 movies (only 1-3 I consider “great”); and chances are, if you love Rocky, you will love Real Steel. The ending is very open for a sequel (think Rocky 1’s ending ushering in Rocky 2), since there are plenty of questions to answer and back story to explore. Like, where did Atom came from? Why is it that Zeus’s creators (Zeus is the undefeated champion, think Apollo Creed from Rocky 1) afraid of Atom? Perhaps Atom was a prototype of Zeus? Max and Charlie will definitely continue fighting battles after being declared the People’s Champ.
Executive producer Steven Spielberg was right on the money for supporting this, the movie even has Sugar Ray Leonard as the fight consultant.
Real Steel, is a “real steal” from the fact that Atom was sort of “stolen” and being the object of father and son’s struggles; and “reel steal” from stealing the audience’s hearts and box office sales this weekend. Thumbs up!