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Real Steel 2011 - Film Review

Updated on June 17, 2015


Charlie a retired boxer looses a bet to an old foe he has to try and find the money to pay off his debt anyway possible. He suddenly hears about an Ex-Girlfriend dying and leaving their son behind called Max. Charlie doesn't know much about Max at all and certainly nothing about kids in general. Charlie decides that Max should live with his mothers rich sister where he will be able to be cared for and raised properly. Charlie takes part of the custard money and Max for up to 3 months on a mission to win back the money he needs to get out from his foe's grasp.

The Film

I have been wanting to write this film review for ages and now I finally have the chance!

I love this film and I promise its not just because of the huge fighting robots. There is so much heart and spirit in this film. I am not a boxing fan and get no enjoyment out of watching it, yet this film I could watch over and over and still cheer every time. I don't understand why it got such mixed reviews. Ok some areas of the footage and story are not perfect but the overall feel of the story and the characters are outstanding.

Charlie the main character does start off as a pompous jackass. All he is focused on is money and nothing else. Doing stupid things to make large amount of money quickly and ignoring the advice of his son he looses badly and destroys the only hope he has of winning anything. As the film goes on this streak in him starts to fade as he realises there is more in his life than just money. He knows nothing of Max at first which is understandable so they do clash heads but Charlie soon learns that father like son that Max is very good with robots and has a passion and a keen eye. Max learns more slowly about his dad but the pair soon start to understand that if they work together then they are a much stronger team.


Specially when Atom is brought into the mix. A learning sparring fighting robot which Max becomes best friends with. Atom may not be able to speak but to Max he is able to speak far more than any other person. The whole film between the three of them is just adorable and I love how Max is using Atom to teach his dad what really should have worth in life.

However one part that always bugs me is how the lads have managed to go through so much and have become so close yet as soon as Charlie is given the opportunity to sell Atom to the enemy he automatically says yes. I was so annoyed. By this point in the film I thought the bond between father and son would have changed things and Charlie would have realised that Atom meant something to Max. I was just starting to really like Charlie's character but then this happened and I went back to feeling like he was a complete jerk again. It was like this character went completely backwards. Specially when things get more serious with the story line I would have been more sympathetic towards the characters them but instead really you don't care. Yes fair enough the habit is hard for Charlie to break but he should have been more torn than just automatically giving in to his weakness. It would have been more character building and something which was more understandable than completely ignoring the feelings from his own son because of just pure greed. There is nothing worse when it feels like a character isn't developing at all.

However other than that I like the characters and the sensitive character moments in this story make up for Charlie being an idiot part way though.


The robots are cracking in this film though. Each machine we see has been built, and fights depending on the owner. So there are ones which look like completely junk and are slower and more clunky but the owner takes pure enjoyment out of the fight using an old radio control kit and look just as greasy and messy as the robot. The home made ones I find have more character to them. Yet ones that are made of money are perfectly sculpted and don't have owners as such they just have people who fight them and its all about the money. But it doesn't matter who they are as you are cheering for Atom near enough from start to finish.

The fights themselves were also interesting. Each one adding a new element and build up to the story. In a way I am convinced this is what they do in actual boxing matches anyway as your not sure what you are going to get once you get there, each boxer will come with their own style of fighting and each new fight builds up tension and drama which rolls on to the next. This was very well done in this film. Each fight you were not 100% sure whether they would win or loose and each fight brought up the tension which was accelerated by Max and his performances in the fighting arenas as well. Its part of the joy of this film as you build up the relationship from each fight and each new fight you cheer them on even more.


I do really enjoy this film in all. Yes there is some annoying character moments but if you take them away its a great little film that I am always keen to watch. I find if I am down or in need of some comfort I can stick this cheeky little film on and cheer along to the fighting and join the crowds in their air punching following their movements step by step. Its just a nice little crowd pleaser.

My rating 8 out of 10

Real Steel and none of these images belong to me I just use them as reference for my review.

Movie Trailer


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