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Real Steel (DVD)
Member Name: Kat1987
Real Steel (DVD)
Advantages: Enjoyable, family entertainment, fun to watch and easy to follow.
Disadvantages: Not as science fiction as you first think.
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.
Summary: A feel good film, well acted and much enjoyed.