Review: Keeping It 'Real Steel'... A Film For The Entire Family!
The latest in the Shawn Levy collection portrays the near-future, where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech; Charlie Kenton (Jackman) is a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Goyo a/k/a Lil Thor) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.
For starters, I walked into this film not expecting much and I thank Satan I did. Why? Well, because I found myself enjoying this piece more than I thought I would. I enjoy Jackman, I enjoy robots, and I enjoy fighting and enjoy dreary story/back-story-lines which spark up the most intense of moments leading characters to take desperate measures, and REAL STEEL covers ALL of that. Yes, a film where one needs to leave their brain at the door, but overall fun, exciting and entertaining!
A lot about this movie reminded me of 1987’s OVER THE TOP. There’s something about it when portraying everything Sly was in the film. Jackman is also a beaten man trying to recover his life. Like Sly, he’s forced into this strange situation where due to an unforeseen occurrence, it leads to spending some time with a kid (Who happens to be a little prick just like in OVER THE TOP) he doesn’t really know. Like Sly, he drives a truck and takes part in competitions which entail a little muscle—more brains in REAL STEEL, but you get my drift. And so… build up, confrontations, challenges etc. I’m not complaining and saying it was bad, because it wasn’t, it’s just a strange analogy that ran parallel as the film played. If anything, I guess I can refer to this as an advanced version of OVER THE TOP!
Next, come scenes where robots are introduced and set up for the big fights. I have to tell you, this is where this movie holds a lot of its strength and coolness, because it’s so freaking awesome to watch these 8 foot robots fight like it’s their last day on Earth. Man it was cool watching Ambush, Big Noise, Mighty Midas, Zeus and even Atom. The creativity that went into putting these scenes together are so flawless, in retrospect, to a degree it’s what Bay’s TRANSFORMERS should have looked and sounded like. With all due respect to DARK OF THE MOON, because of all... I enjoyed three (3) the most (Due to my Lord Shockwave), but DAMN…REAL STEEL’s robots stole the thunder when it comes to fantastic fantasy display of robots kicking each other’s rears! Punching, kicking, slamming etc… and also distinctive enough to follow and know who’s who.
Tying the film’s hoopla with all the drama and fighting comes a pretty cool soundtrack, which, much to the studio’s credit, decided to go with Eminem! Pretty much one of the best rappers out there today, and I have to tell you, it definitely boosts these scenes, especially right before fighting. There’s a feeling generated by his lyrics and beats which starts to PUMP you as the audience member up and want to leap up and start fighting as well.
Adding to all this fuel too came a few phrases used by Dwayne “THE ROCK” Johnson from back in his WWE days. It could have been purely coincidental, it happens… but with a film starring Hugh Jackman (Who happens to be a close friend of Johnson and recently hosted WWE RAW), lots of tough guy jargon and fighting… someone, somewhere during pre-production meetings had to have brought up popular phrases by The Rock. It’s way beyond weird and obvious. Once you see the film, you’ll know which ones they are.
Is the acting, script, direction or even art design Academy Award winning? No! It’s way beyond their league to even screen, however, it’s a good film. It’s fun, entertaining and quite enjoyable as you follow through. Yes, predictable to a degree, Jackman's accent slips a couple of times, and I would say it had its “Eh” moments, but I really liked it and can tell you it’s a piece for the entire family.
On a side note: I guess NYC will have a BING Arena in the future, and how awesome if IRON MAN had been in this film fighting as well.
GRADE: B- / GENRE: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Sports / RATED: PG-13 / RUN TIME: 2 Hrs. 7 Min.
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie, Evangeline Lily
DIRECTOR: Shawn Levy
Christina Aguilera Returning To 'The Voice' This Fall Look At Them Now: Hanson At 'The Hangover Part III' Premiere