Heather's DVD Review: Real Steel
Is it possible for someone down on their luck to have things turn around for the better? That's the premise behind the DVD release of Real Steel which had one bad luck individual finding a light at the end of the tunnel. The results may have been done before, but it was still worth watching nonetheless.
Real Steel followed Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) who was a former boxer/Promoter with no shot of any type of success. When human boxing became a thing of the past, Charlie started promoting fighting robots who went for the kill when humans couldn't. Sadly, he just couldn't pick a winning robot to save his life. Charlie owed money to everyone and they were all looking to collect. Things started to change for him when he was forced to care for his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) after his mother died. Charlie did what he was asked to do with a price tag involved. He dragged Max along for the ride when he found one more robot to help dig him out his financial hole, which went bust. His son finds a robot named Atom in a junkyard and vows to make him a fighting robot no matter what. Much to the surprise of everyone, Atom starts to win his fights and makes waves in the boxing community. While things seemed to be looking up for Charlie, his relationships with Max and his longtime friend/potential soulmate Bailey Tallet (Evangeline Lilly) are hanging in the balance. Can he fix them before it's too late and still have a winning robot?
In terms of plot, Real Steel's resembled a more futuristic Rocky than anything. Both films had disgraced boxers who were down on their luck and looking for another shot to redeem themselves. Okay, the connection may be a stretch, because Jackman doesn't actually get into the ring exactly. His Charlie mainly hung outside the ropes and called the shots. The biggest difference was that Jackman's Charlie was hard to root for a good portion of the film. He was designed to be a selfish man who did bad things to get ahead, until his son came along. Stallone's Rocky was a flawed boxer, but he never crossed too many lines as Jackman's Charlie did. Unlike the Rocky films, Real Steel won't likely be transformed into a long running franchise. The plot's ending made it almost impossible for it to happen, but let's not rule that possibility out. Never say never. Sometimes the plot tugged the audience's heartstrings a little too hard by emphasizing the relationship between Goyo and Jackman. The father/son dynamic was genuine against the extreme fighting backdrop, because the costars sold it perfectly. This helped to overlooked the outlandish idea of fighting robots taking over for human boxers. The movie's real find was Goyo's Max who provided the film with some much needed levity and some emotion depth as he bonded with his father and Atom. When he arrived in the story, Goyo made Max the driving force that helped redeem Jackman's character to audiences, because they wanted Max to have a relationship with him no matter what. Despite some plot cliches, Real Steel is still worth seeing just for Goyo's breakthrough performance alone.
Verdict: An action movie that mixed family drama with robots.
Movie Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)