Real steel is basically a modern take on rocky. In the future, boxing has become an obsolete sport, instead it is robots that do all the fighting, controlled by humans using hi tech controls. Hugh Jackman plays as an old boxer who has tried to stay in "boxing" by becoming a robot boxer, but with hit and miss... well mostly miss results (he is too impatient, and doesn't fully understand all the robots, there characteristics and so on). This is a bit problematic because robots are quite expensive. Anyway, he takes care of his son (at least my understanding that it was his son) who he doesn't see a lot of due to being divorced from his wife. Anyway, they come across "Atom", and old rusty training bot that has a cool "mirror mode", which was really designed to not do very much, just have basic controls, and mirror any robots practising on it. There is no way this thing could stand a chance....
Or could it?
You see being able to mirror actions means using Hugh Jackmans (or Charlie as he is known in this film) boxing knowledge, and his son's (Max) knowledge on robots, they take Atom to boxing in the big league (after fighting in illegal outlaw fights, and all sorts of different imaginative locations for robot duals). Will they be able to stand up against Zeus, the "king" of all the robots. To be honest, it is so like Rocky its unreal, but somehow it still feels completely original... It has the same "backstory" of the boxer, down on his luck, feels alone, and has a son he barely knows, and the odds seem impossible, yet still they try.
This film is basically Rocky, just repeated with robots. The most basic way I can describe it is imagine Iron man, Rocky, transformers all got together and had a boxing match, this would be the film. It is really good, I have to give it 5/5.
I'm not usually into this kind of movie, but seeing the good reviews on Amazon and having seen the trailer, it did spark an interest in me to see it and it was surprisingly enjoyable.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
In the future where robot boxing replaced human boxing, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) invested his whole life into the sport. At the bottom of his career, his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) is put into his care after his mother died in a tragic car accident.
When the two go scrapheap hunting for robot parts, Max falls down a cliff but is rescued by a robot hand. Max rescues the buried robot, called Atom, and persuades Charlie to get him a fight and reignites Charlie's career as well as their relationship.
The movie moves at a timely pace and there is enough action to keep you into the film without being bored. Masked as a robot fighting movie, there is in fact a lot of deep meaning into the father son relationship which is explored.
At times, the film makes you laugh, at times it moves you. This is the real strength of the movie and whilst the younger members of the audience will love the combat, the older ones will definitely read between the lines and enjoy the emotional aspects.
The trouble with movies like this is their predictability. All the fights shown here are pretty predictable and therefore slightly anticlimatic and there loses the element of surprise. That said, the climax and ending was dealt with in a good way- not too convenient/easy but justified and simple.
Hugh Jackman- Charlie Kenton
Dakota Goyo- Max Kenton
Also stars Anthony Mackie and Evangeline Lilly.
Hugh Jackman is the typical Hugh Jackman - still enjoyable but at times forced. The delight here is the young Dakota Goyo who manages to present a genuine and moving performance, very natural and slick.
'Real Steel' is one of those movies you pick up and put down at the movie rental store but if you gave it a watch you would actually find so much more from the movie than what is on the cover or the synopsis. With a simple plot, good action and a strong cast, this is a great family movie with some genuine heart.
When previews for Real Steel hit the internet, viewers couldn't help but speculate if what they were watching was Rock'Em Sock'Em Robots the movie. Implausible as it may initially sound, the idea of turning a toy franchise into a feature film isn't all that crazy. Hollywood, seemingly tired of milking eighties TV for all it's worth, have now drawn their attention to children's pass times in their quest for movie script inspiration. We've recently had the critically panned Battleship and I hear that a Monopoly movie is in the works. Thankfully Real Steel is not an example of the movie industry trying to cash in on a Mattel intellectual property, but rather a fine film in its own right. For the record the short story "Steel" penned by author Richard Matheson is the actual foundation this flick is built on. I cannot comment on how faithful Real Steel is to its source material given my high levels of illiteracy. These days I barely read anything that isn't video game text or a web forum... oh and Playboy. I look at that fine publication too... for the articles.
Set in the near future, Real Steel tells the tale of a world were boxing rings have been vacated by human athletes and replaced with fighting mechs. Substituting fleshy boxers with machines sounds like a grand idea to me. It's less risky than subjecting a person to repeated blows to the cranium and I would imagine that automatons have far greater stamina than certain fighters (who command extortionate pay per view rates only to deliver unsatisfying short bouts.) Heck I can envision a day when all sports go this way. In recent times we have seen the growth of e-sports were spectators are content to watch virtual fighters/teams compete (such as the Street Fighter circuit or popularity of Starcraft 2 in Korea.) Years ago we even had Robot Wars dominating the airwaves and the creations in this film are far more impressive than watching Craig Charles get excited about pieces of scrap crashing into each other.
Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) unsheathes his adamantium claws and sticks to using his bare knuckles as retired boxer Charles Kenton. Back in the day he could have been a contender. His claim to fame is going a full twelve rounds with one of the best boxers in the business, but his overconfidence and poor decision making skills meant that he never lived up to his promise. With boxing consigned to the scrap heap his fighting record ended up being full of entries were he either inflicted a knockout or ended up prostrate on canvass himself. Transitioning to the arena of World Robot Boxing seemed like a no brainer, but things haven't worked out. Due to his aforementioned failings many of his robot avatars end up wrecked incurring a large repair bill he can ill afford.
THE MAIN EVENT
With debt collectors at Charlie's throat, Kenton is forced to babysit his estranged son over the summer. The deal is that he looks after the tyke, whilst his aunt his abroad, in exchange for a lump sum of cash and promise to sign custody of the boy over to his deceased ex-girlfriend's sister. A protagonist who is willing to trade away his son for a quick buck doesn't sound like someone audiences can get behind, but viewers should warm to the character thanks to Jackman's roguish charm. In the grand scheme of things the arrangement also makes perfect sense. The boy would be far better off with a wealthy and responsible aunt as opposed to a deadbeat dad who has been absent for the majority of the child's life.
Thus the story is setup. It's a Rocky like tale of a poor bum who claws (there's that Wolverine reference again) his way up to earning a shot at the world title against the Japanese constructed Zeus. Charlie and his son Max (played by Dakota Goyo) are initially brought together, by circumstance, against their will but bond through the trials and tribulations they face. Max is a whizz when it comes to video games, loves Robot Boxing and is blessed with a cocky talent for haggling that put his pop to shame. The youngster's insistence that the pair compete in matches using Atom, an obsolete sparring bot salvaged from a junkyard, is what turn's Charlie's fortunes around in the ring. Outside the squared circle Kenton's life also improves for the better as his relationship with his boy begins to blossom.
FLOAT LIKE A FLOAT BOT, STING LIKE AN AUTOMATED STINGING MACHINE
What carries the film would have to be the father/son dynamic between Charlie and Max. The script writers did a good job of balancing mushy stuff with some delightfully witty banter between the pair. The exchanges show how the two develop a fondness for each other evolving from spiteful jibes to friendly teasing. Anyone who has seen the trailer however doesn't care about all that. What they want is action and I pleased to say that the movie delivers. You get at least five full robot duels (including one which pits Charlie's original robot against a bull) and they were so much fun to watch that I wish they could have squeezed a few more metal mangling battles into the film's two hour running time. Sugar Ray Leonard was drafted in as a consultant for the movie and it seems like his input played a part in delivering these stellar robot brawling set pieces.
The visual effects also contributed in making the boxing segments much more watchable than the hard to follow tussles found in the Transformers movies. A combination of animatronics and CG techniques, which earned the studio an Academy Award nomination, were used to bring the robots to life. I wish the Transformers movies, populated with samey looking autobots, would have adopted Real Steel's approach to character design, as each robot has a distinctive look. Examples of note include Midas who sports a gladiatorial headpiece, Noisy Boy the colourfully decorated league robot whose purple paint job is peppered with oriental text and the two headed Twin Cities. Atom, the hero we root for, becomes a third member of the family despite not possessing any artificial intelligence. His shadow box programming routine, which allows him to mimic his master's actions, along with Max's attachment to him gives the impression that Atom is alive. This injects some humanity into what could have been soul-less fights as we genuinely root for Atom to beat the odds and escape from the boxing matches unscathed.
LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE
As someone who has a soft spot for robots (so many of the cartoons I love feature androids, giant mechs etc) I was really excited about watching Real Steel. In the end though it took me almost a year to check it out after mixed reviews dissuaded me from giving it a go. I shouldn't have waited so long as in the end I really enjoyed it. It's a great family movie which delivers a good message without resorting to overly cheesy storybook clichés. It's got some touching moments, funny bits and the infusion of robot combat, at the right moments, will keep youngsters' attention on the screen just when things feel like they are starting to drag. Using a boxing metaphor, I wouldn't say it's good enough to secure a knockout five stars, but if we go to the movie critic judges I'm confident that Real Steel still manages to claim victory earning four stars on the score card.
Real Steel 
Released: 2011, Run time: 127 minutes, Genre: Action/Adventure/Science Fiction
Film only review, watched via lovefilm.
In the near future robot boxing has become the latest sports phenomenon. It is a multi million dollar industry with big reputations and big cash prizes. As with all sports though it has it's less than desirable underbelly which is where the debt ridden, often drunk Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) resides. A reckless individual Charlie attempts to make his living and clear his debt by betting that his boxing robots will win fights, something which rarely occurs and as each robot is destroyed so are Charlie's hopes of paying back some of the ever increasing money that he owes to dastardly characters such as Ricky (Kevin Durand).
As Charlie's life spirals out of control things get worse as he discovers he has a son, Max (Dakota Goyo). Max is an eleven year old boy with great technical knowledge, he is clever and resourceful and has an in depth knowledge of the robot boxing world. Due to the death of Max's mother Charlie is now Max's legal guardian. Max's wealthy Uncle Marvin (James Rebhorn) offers to buy custody of Max for a princely sum on the condition that Charlie looks after Max for the three months they vacation in Europe. Never one to miss an opportunity Charlie agrees, determined not to get to know his son Charlie intends on leaving Max at Tallet's Gym which is ran by Charlie's childhood friend Bailey (Evangeline Lilley) but the quick witted Max has other plans. Together Charlie and Max hit the open road and re-join the underground fighting circuit trying to win back some of the money Charlie owes but Charlie's lack of focus and careless actions lead to the same mistakes. There seems to be no hope until a chance discovery is made by Max. Could this 'discovery' be their chance at competing in the big league?
I chose to watch this film as I like films that feature robots and science fiction is one of my favourite genres so the concept of robot boxing seemed right up my street. This film didn't let me down in terms of robots but it did let me down in terms of science fiction. I wouldn't have branded this film as science fiction as it is more about the exploration of a father/son relationship and how people can change given time and responsibility. I would have labelled it as a fantasy/family film that isn't to say I didn't enjoy it though. Recently I have seen a spate of bad films (see previous reviews) that have been heavily marketed and have let me down. This film was the opposite I hadn't heard much about it and was pleasantly surprised.
The film focuses on Charlie Kenton, played by Hugh Jackman. Charlie is a reckless, gambling, drunk who is trying to escape his past. Jackman plays the part extremely well and is a joy to watch. He combines just the right amount of ruggedness and heart that this role requires. Charlie's son Max is played by Dakota Goyo, who is fantastic at portraying both humour and emotion. Evangeline Lilley plays love interest and long suffering friend Bailey, a likeable character who adds warmth and a human aspect in the early parts of the film. The stand out performance for me though was bad guy Ricky played by Kevin Durand I really hated him which is a sign of a great performance. Overall I think the film was well cast and the actors worked well together to represent a realistic storyline in an unrealistic world. The animatronics were excellent, they were a believable element which is credit to the team behind them. The only far fetched moment out of keeping with the rest of the film was the way in which the 'discovery' occurred. I didn't like that part at all.
The storyline was well written and surprised me. This film has a lot more 'heart' than I expected. The robot boxing is more of a background storyline, the main storyline is concerned with Jackman's character and how he grows and develops as a person and also how his relationship with his son progresses. I liked this element as I am not adverse to a heart wrenching tale but those believing it to be a science fiction film maybe disappointed. Having said that I was watching this with my boyfriend and he also really enjoyed this film and he doesn't like films with 'heart' at all so I would say the balance is good and this film would have something for everyone to enjoy.
The soundtrack to this film really works. It isn't the sort of music I would choose to listen to personally but it works really well, particularly the music at the fights. The song choices really get you geared up and rooting for the robots. There is an atmosphere of suspense during that the fights that is really well created, I think I held my breath the whole way through the final fight-it was gripping!
In conclusion this was a thoroughly enjoyable film with a good if not slightly predictable storyline. It has you cheering for the good guys and
booing at the bad guys. An all round entertaining film.
==Film Only Review==
When my husband asked me if I wanted to watch a film last night I cautiously asked what it was about. The response "I think it's about 8ft boxing robots" came back. At that point I had thought about moving off the couch and finding something more enthralling to do but I decided to stick with it. And boy am I glad I did!
==Summary of the Plot==
So I was expecting the whole film to be full of robots so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the robots are just an added layer into a film about human beings. Basically Charlie (Hugh Jackman) is a wreckless man. He has a boxing robot who he enters into fights with other boxing robots. Things don't start well for Charlie and he ends up broke and to make matters worse he finds out the mother of his child, Max (who he has never seen) has died and he needs to sign custody of Max over to Max's Auntie. Max's wealthy Uncle doesn't really want a child hanging around for their upcoming trip to Europe over the summer so pays Charlie to keep Max for the summer. Neither Max or Charlie are happy with this, but with £50k to buy new boxing robots with, Charlie agrees. Charlie continues on the path of recklessness and doesn't learn his lesson and ends up broke. Where will he turn? During a visit to a scrapheap, Max finds an unusual old robot (later called Atom) who he decides to take home with him and repair. The story follows the adventures of Charlie, Max and Atom as they try to earn Charlie some money....can they ever beat the ultimate boxing robot Zeus? You'll have to watch to find out!
8ft boxing robots did not inspire me at the beginning but I found myself captivated by the storyline from the outset. I wanted to see how the dynamic between Charlie and Max changed if at all. Their relationship was quite endearing if not a little sad at times but also lots of humour in the there too. It was interesting to see how Charlie changed over the course of the film too. The acting overall was pretty good and I felt as though the characters well quite well fleshed out with problems of their own from the past. The boy who played Max was a great little actor and played his part really well.
I did feel as though bits of the film were quite predictable and had guessed the finale but overall it was a really easy to watch film which must have had a fairly big budget due to all the animatronics (either that or it was CGI) of the robots. The storyline wasn't anything dreamt up by a mastermind and it does have it's weak points but visually the film is brilliant. I was amazed at how good the robots were! The film has generally favourable reviews by critics and has made around $300million at the box office. Don't be put off by "8ft boxing robots", give it a go, it might surprise you!
I must admit when I watched this film I was rather sceptical to start with. To me from the cover art to the sypnosis on the back it all seemed a bit 'Hollywood Cheesy' for me. Oh how surprised I was when within the first quarter of the film I was captivated. Now it may not be the best storyline but it a real 'feel good' movie.
The movie is set in a time where boxing is a thing of the past and fighting robots are the new pugilists (interesting thought, i know). Hugh Jackman plays Charlie a fight manager who is down on his luck to say the least who becomes embroiled in a custody case for his estranged son Max. They end up travelling the country to showcase fighting robots without much success until Max 'finds' a robot. In the time spent training and travelling the bond between father and son grows.
The films turns into somewhat of a heartwarming family film. It is in the direct style of early 'Rocky' as the loveable underdog.
The film is clearly aimed at 12-16 year old boy range but the child inside me loved this film and I am not alone in this opinion. Many men I know also enjoyed the film and my fiancee was rather surprised to enjoy it also.
I think the movie has something for everyone. It might not be the best film for a saturday night but you can do alot worse.