A boxing robot film directed by the man who gave us Night at the Museum sounds like bad idea for a movie so did it deliver a knockout blow?

I want to apologise for two things. The first is because I want to take back all the unkind words I said to people when I heard about this film and the second is to all the people I begged non stop to go and see this film and take the whole family as it is just GREAT!

The Dreamworks film opens up with the usual cliché’s of a man with no real prospects who keeps losing money and does not really care for anyone and owes a lot of money to lots of people. Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Charlie Kenton, a washed up boxer is not perfect but we are not looking for an Oscar performance here we just want to be entertained. Charlie now boxes using 8 foot tall robots which is how the sport is now played around the world. Soon into the film he finds out that he has to look after his eleven year old son Max, who he has not seen for ten years, because the mother has died suddenly.

Here is where the heart of the film starts to come alive as father and son, played by newcomer Dakota Goyo, join together to go on the road to box the robots. Max shows his skill and knowledge with the “Bots” and tries to help his estranged father not loose both the fights and the money. After one such defeat they have to search for spare parts in a junkyard which is where Max finds an old Bot called ATOM which he cleans up and with the help of Charlie trains it to fight.

Together they make a good team that helps them to make it to the big time of the World Robot Boxing League.

I am going to say this again, go and see this film and take the whole family as it is just GREAT. Bold words I know but why is it great?

Cast your mind back to the first time you saw a Rocky movie in the cinema and just wanted to cheer and shout “ROCKY” with the rest of the crowd. Or remember watching The Champ and getting all choked up at how good that film was or how about The Iron Giant, the brilliant animated movie about a boy and his giant robot. Real Steel is all of these movies rolled into one and it just works. Director Shawn Levy has done an amazing job of giving us the Rocky of the X-Box generation. As you sit there in the cinema watching Atom take the hard punches you cannot help feel attached to this big robot that does not even grunt let alone speak.

The cast which includes Evangeline Lilly (Lost) and Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins) all give a great performance worthy of a schmaltzy popcorn fun sports movie. The real joy here is the relationships between Max and his father and Max and his robot ATOM.

Atom itself looks perfect like the rest of the robots which were a combination of actual real robots and motion capture ones where real boxers trained by Sugar Ray Leonard wore the special suits and then in post production were overlaid with the robots that gives the fight sense a real sense of realism. Each robot has its own identity from the unique Twin Cities 2 headed bot to the World Champion Zeus who has never been beaten.


Both Director Levy and star Jackman have stated their hopes that this becomes a franchise and I for one an totally on board with that.

This film will appeal to sports fans but also to those who have missed that special spark when they saw ET and if you are neither of these then just go and enjoy 2 hours of pure popcorn fun.

GS Rating 4/5

GS Reporter: Montoya

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One comment

  1. Real Steel is a blast, an unabashed crowd-pleaser that mixes Rocky, Transformers, video games and father-son bonding to great, if corny, effect. Still didn’t need to be 127 minutes though. Nice review. Check out mine when you get a chance.

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