Reel Steel

Posted: October 27, 2011 by tmepost in Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

By David Burrola

Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Director: Shawn Levy

Cast : Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lily, Dakota Goyo

Rating 4/5  Besides, Rocky + Robots = Awesome. Matinee, Evening, doesn’t matter go have fun with this movie and take ’em to the mats.

A washed up former boxer trying to make his way in robot boxing finally gets his break, but has to take his estranged son along with him. Together, they two learn about each other and fight an overwhelming battle to the top of the fighting circuit.

 This movie is fun. A lot of people have said its Rock’em Sock’em Robots the movie, and while I will admit that i’ve said that too, its not like its a bad thing. In fact, what kid wouldn’t want their own 2000lb robot to play with and beat up other robots with? None, thats who.

 The movie opens with our main character Charlie(Hugh Jackman), on another embarassing match as he’s just trying to make his way like he did as a boxer. He looses, and as he tries to make a quick break, two men approach to tell him that he is now the sole parent of his estranged Max(Dakota goyo).

 Seeing a way for him to get more money to pay off some of his depts and get a new robot, he brokers a deal to take on his son for the summer until Max’s aunt can take him in.

 From here on in its Charlie introducing Max and the audience to the robot boxing world. And man, the fights are just as fun as you’d want them to be. The robots don’t seem to move like they’re these advanced and sleek facsimiles of humanity. They’re clunky at times, bulky and every single one just looks like they’re out of a video game. Still, that’s part of the charm of them, as it seems like its more of a near future thing that robots are all around and used in professional sports boxing. Its actually explained why things changed from people to robots and it presents a good argument on human nature for the sake of entertainment, but through ingenuity than flat brutality.

This is explained as the two are in need of a new robot and go to a scrap yard to steal parts. There they find the eponymous Atom, a sparring bot that’s meant to take a heavy beating but not dish it out. He’s also got a special function to him that makes him fairly unique and rare, in that he can mimic movements that he sees, and is called a shadow box mode.

 When they’re in need of it, Charlie is convinced by Max to give Atom his moves that he used when he was a boxer. See, Charlie was just a small time boxer who never backed down from any fight and never quit till the other guy was on the mat. So, during an exhibition fight, he goes up against the current champ and going round for round against him, ultimately loosing but giving the champion a run for his money. If that sounds at all familiar, its because you saw Stallone do that way back in 1976. Yeah, Real Steel goes and puts a bit of Rocky into the mix, which makes this move now totally awesome.

 Yes, that can be kind of silly to include a landmark underdog story of a boxer into a movie about robots doing the same thing, but hey its the tried and true method of using underdogs to get you into it. And for its credit, the movie doesn’t try to make the whole thing cheezy, it takes it straight and really does love what it does. For that you have to really appreciate the whole world they created and mirror of struggle that any person would do in that kind of contact sport.


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