Movie Review: "Real Steel"
I’ve always been a fan of boxing. The pageantry, the fierce competition, and the freakish shape these athletes keep themselves in is astounding. Although we are decade or two removed from the Pay-Per-View glory days of the sport, it still stands as a national pastime, and the result of a big fight is always water-cooler fodder for Americans.
I’ve always been a fan of sci-fi movies - whether it is a future dystopia, aliens come to Earth to harvest our resources, or some mysterious creature from the deep ocean terrorizes Manhattan. These types of films that suspend reality create an atmosphere of what “could be” and for films like Real Steel that take place in the very near future, it adds an even greater element of realism.
I’ve always been a fan of Hugh Jackman. He's manly enough to play Wolverine and rip mutants to shreds on a daily basis but also comfortable enough with himself to star on Broadway in musicals. He’s witty, can play the leading man, and definitely lifted a weight or ten before filming Real Steel.
These three elements come together in Real Steel, along with a booming soundtrack and some heart-pumping fight scenes (not to mention an estranged father/son back story.) In the not-so distant future, the sport of boxing has evolved and become a high tech battleground for 8 foot tall, 2000 pound robots (managed and operated by humans). Charlie (Hugh Jackman) a small time promoter and former “real” heavyweight boxer, makes his way through life by scraping together metal parts to build robot boxers. When he is reluctantly reunited with his estranged son Max after the death of his mother, Charlie and Max travel the country training a robot contender and getting a final shot at a comeback.
Fun. That’s the one word I would use to describe the film. Please forget about the word’s inherently generic nature and focus on the feeling it exudes. The movie comes across as a mash up of Transformers and Rocky which is fantastic if you liked both of those movies, but so not great if you passed on them. If you and your kids like robots, action, thrilling fight scenes, pounding music, and some comedy mixed in then you’ll love Real Steel.
Disclosure: Matt Moretti attended a preview screening of Real Steel to facilitate this review.
Matthew Moretti is a Project Manager at Mom Central Consulting and has never successfully built a fighting robot despite dozens of attempts.