¨I wanted you to fight for me.¨
Real Steel is a fantastic and fun film that is so much more than simply a robot boxing movie. I have to admit that when I first saw the trailer I thought this was going to be another Transformer like fiasco, but I was pleasantly surprised with how well the movie was presented. The robots were simply secondary characters and the true heart of the film relied on the human characters and their relationship. It mixes sci-fi with the classic David against Goliath underdog story and some heartfelt drama focusing on the relationship between a father and his son. The special effects and the boxing robot scenes are great, but I am so glad that wasn’t the actual focus of the film; there was so much more to it. Hugh Jackman is a great actor and he really delivers a lot of heart in his performance, but the actual star in this film is the young Dakota Goyo who really shines in each scene he`s in; he has so much charisma on screen; I am sure he has a great future ahead of him. The relationship between his character and his father (Hugh Jackman) is the true focus of the film and what made Real Steel stand out above the rest of the summer blockbusters. Shawn Levy (Date Night and Night at the Museum) directed this film which is loosely based on the short story ¨Steel, ¨ and the screenplay was adapted by John Gatins. I found some parts of the screenplay similar to the original Rocky movie, so in a way Real Steel could be called the futuristic remake of Rocky.
Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) used to be a professional boxer before the sport was banned and displaced by robot boxing. He was an average boxer who could take a lot of hits, and stood his own against the then champion of the world. Now he barely survives as a boxing promoter, taking his robot across the state to small rodeos and promoting small fights. He is not very good at winning and owes a lot of people a lot of money. He lives with his former coach`s daughter, Bailey (Evangeline Lilly) who also loves boxing and works as sort of the robot engineer as she tries to fix the different parts and pieces of the damaged robots Charlie brings back. She admires Charlie, but also knows that his life is leading nowhere. Charlie`s life changes when he spends a summer with his eleven year old son, Max (Dakota Goyo), whom he had never met before. Max`s mother passes away so legally Charlie is in charge, but the boy`s aunt Debra (Hope Davis) wants to take full custody of the kid along with her wealthy husband Marvin (James Rebhorn). Charlie sees the opportunity of making some money off his son and offers to give them full custody of the kid as long as they pay him 100,000 dollars. Marvin makes a deal with him as long as he keeps Max during the summer while he travels with his wife to Europe. Max and Charlie don’t get a long at first, but their passion for robot boxing brings them closer together. Charlie can find a chance at redemption when Max finds an old and abandoned robot named Atom which was used for training, but with some few adjustments they might have found a winner.
Real Steel was probably one of the most fun films I`ve seen this year. Yes, it has some flaws, it`s not perfect, but it was really entertaining. The film has some corny dialogue, it can be predictable, but it is a winner thanks to the great cast. I`m also a sucker for underdog stories and this is probably one of the best sport movies I`ve seen this year. It has its emotional moments and I really loved the performances from Jackman and Goyo. The kid is just fantastic on screen and his charisma is unbelievable. You can`t help but route for this kid. I also enjoyed Evangeline Lilly being the Lost fan that I am and it was great to see her in a decent role. The scene where she talks to Max about how Charlie used to be a great boxer was great; you can tell how much her character cared for Charlie by the way her eyes light up when she talked about it. I wish she would accept more roles in the future; I loved seeing her on screen. The robot boxing scenes were also great; I can remember two or three fights that were absolutely engaging, and the final fight is just a great homage to the original Rocky movie. Real Steel is real fun and real entertainment. I absolutely recommend this film and it will surely be among my favorite films of 2011.