Saturday, October 8, 2011

Movie Review: Real Steel

Have you ever wanted to see a movie with both elements from "Rocky" and "Transformers"? Well, look no further, "Real Steel" is such a title.

Released in 2011, Real Steel is essentially an action packed, family oriented drama blending with elements from sci-fi movies. And did I mention the giant robots made of shiny metals?

Is this movie good? Well, while it might have borrowed a lot of elements from "Rocky", and the plot is very predictable and somewhat cliched, but to be honest.. I really enjoyed it.


The year is 2016, the world of fighting/boxing sports has changed dramatically. In the future sporting world of boxing, human no longer fight, people make robots to fight in the ring.

Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, an ex-boxer who is competing in the boxing ring using robots. Charlie tries to make money by betting on the matches that his robot partipates in. The problem is, luck is often not with him, and soon Charlie became heavily in debt.

At this point, he was informed of the death of his ex-girlfriend. Charlie was told that he has a son Max, who is 11 years old and as the next of kin, Charlie has the legal custody to Max. However, Max's aunts wants to take custody of Max from Charlie, because Charlie is not only irresponsible, and he is also a terrible father who abandoned Max and his mother at Max's birth.

To resolve his debt problem, and also as a way to restart his robot fighting career, Charlie made a secret deal to sell the custody of Max to his aunts, for a price of 100,000 dollars. However, to keep the deal a secret, Charlie can only surrender the custody of Max after he has spend a summer with Max.

Taking the payment, Charlie purchased a Japanese robot, and participated in a match. However, because Charlie was not familar with the control of the new robot, he lost the match and his new robot was destroyed in the ring. Leaving Charlie further in debt. In a desperate attempt to rebuild a robot, Charlie sneaked into a robot junkyard trying to steal some old parts. In the process, his son Max accidently slipped off a cliff, and by chance was saved when he became stuck to an arm of a scrap robot lying on the floor. With much gratitude, Max dug the offline robot out of the dirt. The discovery of this old robot, will not only change Charlie's fortune, but will also change Charlie and Max's father-son relationship, and help Charlie to grow into a father that he was meant to be....

My thoughts on the movie:

Hugh Jackman's character Charlie, is a washed up boxer, heavily in debt, yet refuses to take up his responsibility as a father to raise his son. However, by the end of the movie, Charlie finally learnt the mistakes of his past ways, and made a commitment to change.

Many elements of this movies are borrowed from "Rocky", but at its core, this is a redemptive story about an irresponsible man's journey to grow up, and realizing how to love his son whom he had always neglected.

As I said at the beginning of the review, this movie has many cliched moments, and a lot of borrowed ideas from other movies. But I really liked the redemptive themed central plot.. Maybe I am getting softer and softer as I get older, but I have to admit at some heart warming moments in this movie, I found the corners of my eyes getting slightly wet...

Final Conclusion:

Story 7/10 - This is essentially "Rocky + Over the Top + Transformers". While it may not be the most original idea, but the essence of the story is good enough, and it is just refreshing to see a family oriented movie focusing on father and son relationship.

Movie design and special effects 9/10 - Needless to say, a Hollywood movie of this category typically includes multi-million dollar CGI and such, "Real Steel" is no exception. The robots look great, and the robot fighting scenes are very well done.

Violence - moderate - Some of the scenes depict the destruction of robots, and since this is a movie about Robots fighting each other in the ring, there are a lot of fighting scenes.

Sex/Nudity none - Sex and nudity scenes are almost non-existent in this movie.

Final score: 7.4/10 - Despite the borrowed elements from other movies, Real Steel, is a very well made movie that deserves your viewing. I think most people who watch this will generally enjoy the movie for its outstanding special effects, and the simple story telling of a father's journey to rebuild the relationship with his son.