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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Real Steel

Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) in Real Steel builds robots to fight. This guy isn't interested in cybernetic superintelligence or making a personal slave out of nuts and bolts - he constructs robots that are designed almost exclusively to battle it out in the ring. But when Real Steel opens, his big kahuna 'bot is trampled by a bull, and not only is the guy quickly without his robotic claim to fame, but all the money has drained out of his pockets, as well.

Of course, this is the perfect time for Charlie to learn that his one-time ladyfriend has kicked the bucket, and she left him as custodian of their son, Max (Dakota Goyo). Charlie isn't exactly a child-rearing kid of dude, but the kid's aunt and uncle make him a deal: If Max can stay with him over the summer, after they get back from Europe, they'll take him - and they'll throw in $100,000 to sweeten the deal.

Predictably, Real Steel then becomes a father-son introduction story, in which Charlie shows Max how to build robot fighters, and Max proves to Charlie that sometimes it's worth opening your heart every once in a while outside the ring. They unearth an old, cranky bot from a junkyard - Max thinks it 'still has a chance!' - and the road to a climactic ring-battle sequence is laid out clearly in front of us.

Real Steel is a thin film, but your take on it will depend on what you come into it with. I thought the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em concept of the movie looked seriously dumb in the film's previews, and that sensibility wasn't exactly countered by the picture's innate cinematic value. That being said, many viewers who approach the movie expecting nothing more than diverting, escapist melodramatic fare have actually fallen in love with the thing.

Long story short: If you rent Real Steel expecting it to be shitty, you just might find yourself surprised.

Directed by  Shawn Levy

Produced by Shawn Levy
                      Susan Montford
                       Don Murphy

Starring  Hugh Jackman
                Dakota Goyo
                Evangeline Lilly
                Anthony Mackie
                Kevin Durand

Distributed by Touchstone Pictures
Release date October 6, 2011

Budget $110 million
Box office $295,120,796

For download (torrent)

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