Archive for October 7th, 2011

7th October
2011
written by Adam

In the year 2016 former boxer and current drifter Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is on the brink of financial failure and trying to make a living as an operator of a fighting robot. You see, in the future traditional blood sports aren’t enough and audiences want real carnage, the closest they can come is with battling robots, often spewing hydrolic fluid and electrical components upon their demise. When Charlie learns that his ex-wife has passed away and left their son Max (Dakota Goyo) in his custody panic sets in– until he realizes he can profit from the situation. But easy come and easy go, before long Charlie and Max are without money and in need of a new fighting robot, by chance Max discovers an old model sparring dummy named Atom. Assisted by pseudo girlfriend and tech wiz Bailey (Evangeline Lilly), Atom is cleaned up and reactivated. With Max’s spirit and Charlie’s fighting skills Atom may have what it takes to make it to the top of the robot fighting world, but it’s a long way to the top before Atom will be able to take on the champ, Zeus. And, what about the outstanding custody issues between Charlie and Aunt Debra (Hope Davis)? A family film that has the look and feel of Steven Speilberg written all over it, even though he’s only signed on as an Executive Producer. I’d even go so far as to say Danny Elfman’s score feels like a page right out of John Williams playbook. So, the film in many regards feels like an homage to a number of sci-fi films from the 70’s and 80’s, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, after all there were some greats right? But here’s the thing, the film also feels like a big budget holiday release, and in this case it’s being released at the wrong time, which almost condemns it to poor performance. The story isn’t exactly much of a surprise, and I almost winced a little as Goyo and the robot “dance” on a few occasions, this actually solidified my fear of the film’s “geekyness” which may be another card stacked against this one. Still, geekyness and all, from an entertainment stand point of view, I still smiled, laughed, and allowed myself to enjoy this flashy form of Rockem Sockem robots, even though it’s not necessarily top notch or original. And, fun fact, according to IMDB many of the robot boxing fights were motion-captured using professional boxers, supervised by Sugar Ray Leonard. Maybe a matinee. Real Steel is rated PG-13.

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