Real Steel (2011)

Just a two-hour long flick of Rock’em Sock’em Robots, with Wolverine.

In a future world where flesh-and-blood boxers have been replaced by towering mechanized fighters, pugilist-turned-promoter Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) reconnects with his estranged son, Max, to convert a discarded machine into a World Robot Boxing contender.

Upon seeing the first trailer, I was thinking that this was going to be incredibly stupid. However, I wasn’t wrong really, but I’m glad to be wrong this time.

Director Shawn Levy does a great job here of actually making all of the robot fighting sequences a lot of fun to watch. If you love robots, and you love robots beating the crap out of each other, then you’re going to love this because we get a whole bunch of brawls between robots from a little Texas rodeo to an abandoned zoo, and then to a huge stadium where they have a huge PPV fight every month.

Levy also creates a great atmosphere with a lot of the fights because of the way everything looks and feels. The robots are colorful and look as if they really are there, and the songs that play in the background of each and every fight, are just plain kick-ass awesome and just keep me in all of the fights. The fights are awesome, just because they beat the hell out of each other so well which is a lot of thanks to having Sugar Ray Leonard on the set as a boxing consultant, giving it a REAListic feel.

There’s also a huge heart that comes with all of these robots smashing each other as well. The central story is something we’ve seen before (father-and-son relationship) but how Levy can balance both the intensity of the robots fighting and the heart of the relationship, really makes this film seem like more than just a film about robots kicking the hell out of each other, there’s actually something to care about and sort of feel emotional towards.

Despite this actually being a very fun film to watch, there were problems that I still had here as well. The script is very predictable though and a lot of it feels like something I’ve seen before, actually something I saw about a month ago in a film called ‘Warrior’. By the end of that film, everybody starts getting real lovey-dovey and I sort of liked it but at the same time, thought it was a bit too over-dramatic. The same thing happens here at the end of this film and once again, I was kind of annoyed but at least it serves a bit of a purpose as well.

I still also can see why this film would be advertised as a kids family, but there is actually a lot of stuff in this film that will sort of turn parents and kids away. There were a couple of little kiddies in my theater, that were having a ball, but I thought there was a lot of language and way too much violence here, for parents to actually be happy they took their kids to see. I think they needed the Pg-13 rating, so it wouldn’t just be noticed as a kids movie, however, I think if they were to just tone it down a bit, it would have probably been more effective.

Another problem I had with this film was some of the plot didn’t seem right to me. If I were going to see two 1000 pound robots beating the scrap out of each other, I would not want to be standing 5 away from them. I’d actually probably be standing about 100 feet away from them, or in a protective glass or something too. I know that this film isn’t really going for the reality points with this material, but it did seem a little strange.

Also, the little kids mom just died, and I did not see this kid cry, be upset, or mope about it at all. As soon as he saw the robot, he lit up like a Christmas tree but before that he just seemed annoyed, not sad at all that his mommy just got killed in a car-accident. Hey, if you’re kid is sad about a passing in the family, especially a mommy or daddy, buy him a robot.

Hugh Jackman is a great choice here as Charlie Kenton because he is probably the only guy that could make a dick-head dad likable. He’s selfish, self-centered, and kind of a con man, but I still somehow liked him for this because I thought Jackman made this guy seems so cool and real. The kid in this film Max, played by Dakota Goyo, seemed like he wasn’t going to be an annoying little shit at first, but somehow made himself the heart of the film. He looks as if he was cloned from Jake Lloyd, but can actually act and be a little kid instead of a too-smart-for-his-own-good kind of little crap head that we see in all of these film’s with a kid in them. The chemistry that these two create together is great because at first, they barely even get along but as time goes on they become more and more attached and it feels real as well as a lot less corny, when all of the tear-drops start to fall.

Consensus: Although Real Steel is corny, predictable, and not for the whole family, the film still is incredibly well-made with a huge heart in the right place, fun scenes to watch of robots wackin’ each other left-and-right, and good performances from the whole cast.



  1. Nice review! I havent seen it, but as stupid as this movie looks on the outside, I think it will be my favourite movie of the year. (Just kiddin… ) (but…)

  2. I especially like this line from your review: “If you love robots, and you love robots beating the crap out of each other, then you’re going to love this.” Ha. Amazing how all-over-the-map, performance-wise, Jackman is, a song-and-dance man who can also dominate big sci-fi flicks.

  3. I liked it too. Gave it a B.

    But I felt like I had to make about a dozen apologies and explanations along the way. This movie had so many flaws you had to overlook that its almost like and ifthen equation.

    If you can go in without cynicism
    If you can watch something non critically
    If you enjoy the high concept
    THEN you can probably enjoy it.


  4. Really enjoyed the review. very very nice. you have great way with words. i am not sure if you recall me, you left a review on primetimex.

    lets talk some more. afif

  5. I think the key to this movie is to watch it like a kid the first time you watch it. Yes, the plot is predictable (very predictable), but it’s a blockbuster movie so what else could you expect? It’s in that family movie genre, which you can only do so much with, but the subtle depth just under the surface and the well crafted action that anyone can enjoy makes the movie my favorite of the year. Worth going to see on the big screen just for the robot fight scenes in my book. Good review bro.

  6. I forgot to mention the actual fight scenes in my review, but they really were great, weren’t they? Much more weight to them than I was expecting. Also, bonus points for using the word “pugilist” πŸ˜‰

  7. Yeah you were right this movie is a little bit corny, kinda predictable but I still give it a 100% for the whole new look and feel of enjoying robots, transformers and boxing that we love from our very own “Manny Pacquiao” The People’s Champ.

  8. Enjoyed your review, Dan! I do think the fight scenes are tailor-made for the big screen, which is why I’d recommend seeing the movie at the theater (especially the cheaper matinee). I don’t understand why the writers had Max swearing, except to get the PG-13 rating. The bad language was totally unnecessary, detracting from the movie. Our family really enjoyed it. Loved, loved, loved Atom!

  9. I properly ADORED this film.

    I agree with everything you say pretty much. That kid is the living image of Jake Lloyd and you’re right that only Jackman could get away with being that big and asshole and stillhave us all like him.
    It does get a bit gooey in places, especially towards the end, but I was so hyped up by the steel smashing that I honestly didn’t care about the cheesy dialogue.
    Properly brilliant raw action movie.

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