Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Real Steel, 2011

This Tuesday, a film from the near future for Overlooked Films, Audio & Video over at Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom.

Real Steel is a futuristic movie about boxing, not between people but between robots. Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, a former boxer turned promoter of robot boxing, except his robots don’t do as well in the ring as he himself once did, though he refuses to admit it. With mounting losses and debts, Charlie is at wit’s end. He desperately needs money for a new robot that will get him back into the ring. And then one day Charlie learns that his ex-wife has died leaving behind their eleven-year old son, Max Kenton (Dakota Goyo). That's the last thing he needs.

Max is a precocious kid who quickly endears himself to his newfound father who’d rather gladly surrender him to his sister-in-law Debra (Hope Davis) and her husband Marvin (James Rebhorn), for a million dollars and get on with his life, programming robots to fight other robots. There is no serious custody battle, only a rich aunt who would rather raise her nephew than leave him with her sister's struggling ex.

Max and his father Charlie bond over robots.

The rest of the film is about Charlie and Max discovering more than just their passion for robot boxing; they also discover each other as father and son. Helping them to bond is Atom, an old discarded robot Max finds in a scrapyard and has enough faith in to win them matches and moolah. Charlie is initially amused but then quickly realises that Max’s gaming brain is working wonders for their two-man team. In the end he finds a son who teaches him how to win at robot boxing, and at life.

Real Steel, directed by Shawn Levy (The Pink Panther, Night of the Museum), is a silly but an entertaining film. At one point I didn’t know if I was watching Real Steel or one of the Transformers. When my teenage son asked me why Hugh Jackman would do such a film, I said probably for the money. Who wouldn't? Jackman is mild-mannered throughout the film and acquits himself well as Charlie Kenton who teaches a robot how to box.

14 comments:

  1. Lana thought this movie was just too cheesy. It was definitely rather cheesy but i kind of liked it anyway. A lot better than she did anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charles, I liked it mainly because I like Hugh Jackman ever since he has been playing Wolverine.

      Delete
  2. Never heard of this movie, Prashant. Well, that's not so unusual, I don't hear of a lot of things these days. Anyway, thanks for this post - I'm going to add this film to my Netflix queue. It reminds me of a long ago television episode of either OUTER LIMITS or THE TWILIGHT ZONE which also had robot boxing as its modus operandi.:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yvette, I didn't know about this film either till I accidentally caught it on cable. You'd be surprised how many new movies I haven't heard of or seen. It's worth a look.

      Delete
  3. I kept meaning to watch this one when it was at the theater, obviously I never did. Maybe I can find it on demand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ryan, I don't think this film was worth seeing in a theatre. Cable or on demand should be good enough. I hope you find it.

      Delete
  4. Like you Prashant, I quite enjoyed this, for what it was -having low expectations hels! It was spired by "Steel", a short story by Richard Matheson that he adapted for the original version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE show starring Lee Marvin - that episode is currently on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eybyCHoY-jk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sergio, thanks for the info related to REAL STEEL as well as the link to the episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. I also didn't know about Richard Matheson's short story STEEL. I'll be checking out both.

      Delete
  5. Wasn't aware of this movie. I like Hugh Jackman so doesn't sound too bad, just don't like boxing much. It could be fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy, the final bout between Tom's and Charlie's robot, Atom, and the reigning champion is as brutal as those in the ROCKY movies, minus the blood, where the underdog always wins in the end. It's not a bad film but you won't miss anything if you don't watch it.

      Delete
  6. I'm glad you enjoyed this one Prashant, and I think we all have films that entertain us even if they are silly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moira, I enjoy a lot of silly movies except I could spend all that time doing something constructive like writing, and reading books.

      Delete
  7. Never heard of this one. I'm not a big Hugh Jackman fan to be honest, so I won't be going out of my way to check this out, but maybe if it comes up on the small screen....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Col, this one is for the family. Hugh Jackman made a good Wolverine in the X-Men series. Action roles suit him more than romantic leads as in KATE AND LEOPOLD.

      Delete