I was lucky enough to be invited by Disney to see Real Steel, its latest release starring Hugh Jackman. When the invite came in, all eyes looked at me due to my love of science fiction films and I was instantly handed the ticket. I would be lying if I said I expected anything special from the movie, especially when I read the following synopsis: ‘In the year 2020, robots have replaced humans in boxing. Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) loses a chance to become a boxing champion when robots take over, and he becomes a small-time promoter. When he has difficulty making a living, he reluctantly teams up with his son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build a robot which can contend for the championship.’
My initial thoughts were ‘It has to be the worst idea for a film ever created’. Oh boy, was I proven wrong. The concept worked perfectly in what can only be described as an underdog story combination of The Fighter and Transformers.
The story of Real Steel slowly evolves through four main characters; Charlie Kenton, his son Max and Charlie’s on and off girlfriend and landlord, Bailey Tallet (Evangeline Lilly known for her role as the main female character Kate on the TV show Lost). And of course, a robot called Atom.
Charlie is a struggling robot fighter and ex-boxer, who moves from fight to fight trying to make enough money to build better robots. When his ex-partner suddenly dies, he is called to a courthouse to decide if he wants to assume custody of their son, Max. Charlie has no interest in custody but sees an opportunity to make some money off his sister-in-law’s rich husband and agrees to give up all rights to Max, in exchange for money. In the deal, Charlie also agrees to look after Max for three months before handing him over. That is where the movie kicks into second gear and Charlie and Max go on an adventure that takes them right to the top of robot boxing.
The highlight of the film isn’t the amazing graphics or special effects, it’s the brilliant acting by Hugh Jackman and young Dakota Goyo. I predict Oscar nominations for both of them. The other outstanding feature of the movie was the storyline and how it pulls you in. For the last 30 minutes of the movie, I was sitting on the edge of my seat with my heart pounding, egging on the underdog.
Real Steel is not a movie for everyone, but if you are into science fiction or want to take your grandkids to an action-packed movie, filled, surprisingly, with quite a few laughs, then I would whole-heartedly recommend it.