Real Steel review
Do you like boxing? Do you like robots? Or do you hate boxing and hate robots and prefer heartfelt emotional stories of estranged families learning how very much they truly love and care about one another?
Then take thee hence and get thee to Real Steel!
I cannot express how much I really enjoyed this movie! I went thinking that it was gonna be a flashy Rockem Sockem Robots flick and the only thing that would make it really good would be Hugh Jackman and all his... well... his overall overwhelming abundance of awesome. Honestly, I think they could have put any good looking meat head actor in the role and ended up with a really good movie.
Really good. Not great.
Now don't think that I'm saying Hugh is the meat head type. From Oklahoma to Deception and on he never ceases to shine in any of his films. If you've only seen him as Wolveriene please go take a look at Kate and Leopold and Someone Like You. Two of his earlier American roles that speak about his ability to take on a role. Also both are good for a feel good laugh if you like that sort of thing. If your more of the intellectual type then The Fountain or The Prestige are more up your alley. Cartoons: Happy Feet and Flushed Away. He sings in both.
Sometimes I think my husband thinks I like him for the simple fact that he's dashingly handsome, but in all reality I think he's one of the finest, most diverse modern actors around today. He sings, he dances and he can really tug at your heartstrings in a movie like Reel Steel.
His costars are as follows: Dakota Goyo who plays his son, Evangeline Lily who portrays the tough best friend and love interest and the incomparable Kevin Durand as the antagonist.
I've nothing to say about Dakota Goyo's past works. He played young Thor in Thor and I really don't recall him being in it at all. Not his fault, I've only seen Thor once and I refuse to buy it on DVD only to turn around and buy the blue ray because I absolutely HAVE to have the special features version lol. As for his portrayal as Max Keton in Real Steel, I can only speculate that you will be seeing this kid a lot more in the future. He's a very good little actor and even though he and Hugh don't really share any real resemblance, you can totally believe that he's Hugh's kid. He really got into the role I think and the chemistry between their characters really sells the love/hate father/son relationship.
Evangeline Lily... again, I've not seen her in anything but this, but she does a good job as Charlie's (Hugh) anchor. She grounds him to reality and even though the first half of the film is her yelling at him, you can really tell that her character cares and doesn't want to give up on him. She seems very real, not one of those plastic barbie doll dime a dozen type actress. I may not have seen her in anything but Real Steel, but I look forward to investigating her past films.
Now... Kevin Duran or as I like to call him, Zipacna. I first saw Kevin portray an evil goa'uld on the television series Stargate SG-1 and I've been calling him Zipacna ever since. Others would recognize him as Joshua (the dog faced boy) from Dark Angle, Blob in Wolverine or Little John in the latest installment of Robin Hood. As I scan his IMDB now I can't believe he's done so much work that I haven't seen. I know now that I, with my trusty Netflix, but remedy this! He's another awesomely diverse actor who doesn't get enough credit. So far he's not really had a staring role, but that doesn't matter because he steals the screen every time he's on it. Even next to Hugh Jackman I couldn't help but just smile ear to ear at Kevin's performance.
Though estrangement and the Zeus boxing crew are the main antagonists of the film, Kevin really puts a face on it. You really love to hate his guts and that to me really means he's doing his job as an actor. I've seen him play smug, I've seen him play a weasel and I've seen him play the coward and every time I can't help but awe at his ability to transform into a role. If not for his voice I wouldn't have recognized him in half the films he's been in. I don't want to say he's at the level of Gary Oldman transfiguration, but he's damn close.
Ok, enough with the actors, lets get down to story.
We've all seen Rocky 1 right? Yeah, well see it any way. Rocky is the primer underdog boxing movie and that's what we got here.
After robot boxing takes the world by storm what's a former heavyweight to do? Struggling to keep a fighting bot together and running from past debts, ex-boxer Charlie Kenton (Hugh) learns that his long lost girlfriend has recently died, leaving their eleven year old son (by Texas state law) in his custody. The boy's aunt and her wealthy husband want custody so Charlie makes the uncle a deal. $100,000 to sign the kid over to her and two months with the boy while they go frolic with friends in Italy over the summer. No problem right? Charlie takes half the cash, buys another boxer and all things are hunky dory. That is till Charlie screws up again and their new boxer is nothing more than a pile of scrap metal.
If not for Max (Dakota) and a near fatal accident they never would have come across a generation two sparing robot. A sparing bot is designed to take a lot of punishment but never deal any real damage. Atom as he is so named quickly becomes the boy's best friend. This bot has a very rare shadow function which means it can mimic whatever it sees, leaving the viewer to constantly wonder if it's mimicry or really some deep underlying artificial intelligence. This question is never answered but is left open to let the viewer decide for themselves.
After some restoration, retrofitting of parts and much insistence by Max, Charlie gets Atom a fight and from there on it's up, up, up.
I could sit here and reveal the entire movie to you, but what's the use in that? You'll wait for it on dvd or blue ray when it's really a big screen film. Unless you have a 50 inch at home, you should go see it in theaters. More than just a boxing movie, it makes you think a little and examines the relationship between a father and son.
The effects in this film are really good. It's as if they took the technology from the Transformers movies and actually put it to some good use for once. I often found myself forgetting that I was looking at a computer generated robot and in my book that means the film makers have really done their job. It's quite possible that they switch back and forth between CG and a scale model armature, but you really can't tell. At least I couldn't.
In effects this film gets a A. It would get an A+ but technology is always growing. When they can make a human look human maybe then I'll give a film an A+.
The cast gets an A+. Again they could have chosen someone else as the lead and ended up with a really good film, but Hugh really brings it all together into a really awesome film.
The story gets an A. If I had actually been driven to tears, it would have gotten an A+. It was close, but not quite.
Overall Real Steel is worth your $8.50. Go see it, but your not going to want to miss a moment to refill on popcorn and soda. That I promise you.
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