Film review: “Real Steel” starring Hugh Jackman & Evangeline Lilly

By: Lucyinthesky

Robots and boxing, ‘Real Steel’ seemed like the type of movie perfect for guys, but after seeing it I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it and by the end I felt like I was in the crowd cheering for the film’s main robot, Atom.

Real Steel’ is set in the near future, probably around the 2020’s I want to say, it’s the story about Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), who once was a boxer in around our present time, very succesful, but due to the increase of robots entering the ring instead of humans he was out of a job and soon enough the “real” boxing we all know dissapeared. In the meantime, Charlie finds his way buying used robots and making money out of their fights at underground fighting clubs. One day after hustling his way with robot fighting and losing his last robot in a bet, he encounters two lawyers that tell him he needs to appear in court for a custody hearing about his eleven year-old son Max (Dakota Goyo) who is the son of one of his ex-girlfriends with whom he lost contact over the years and recently she passed away. Once Charlie is in court, he finds in that same courtroom Debra (Hope Davis), his ex-girlfriend’s sister, who shows a great interest in adopting Max. Charlie, never having any type of contact with Max is troubled by the fact that after 11 years, now he has to take care of him and he really doesn’t have the money to support him, so while he’s at the courtroom he notices that Marvin (James Rebhorn), Debra’s husband, is wealthy so Charlie decides to give up the kid’s custody after a deal: Marvin and Debra are off to a two month vacation in Italy, so since he knows that Debra’s wishes are to take care of Max, Charlie asks Marvin privately for $50K now, and $50K later when he takes Max back to them by the end of the summer, with the promise that Debra would never find out and this whole deal would be only between Marvin and Charlie, saying to Debra that Charlie felt like staying at least for a summer with his son for “all the time that was lost throughout the years”. In reality, with those $50K Charlie buys Noisy Boy, a robot that once was in the professional worldwide boxing leagues and Max is later dropped off at his house, which actually is a boxing gym. Once the main gym for professional boxers, now Tallet’s Gym is only what Bailey (Evangeline Lilly) has left from her father’s legacy, Charlie was for a short period of time her boyfriend but not anymore, since her dad was his trainer, but now she gives him there a place to stay, but since things haven’t been so easy on the road of underground robot fighting, Bailey’s only wish is for Charlie to get the rent money on time to at least preserve her dad’s memory.It all changes, when Charlie gets the $50K from Marvin, buys Noisy Boy and gets Max dropped off. Charlie, stoked for having Noisy Boy with him and getting ready to go on underground fights, thought about leaving Max with Bailey but Max convices him to let him go with him on the road. Here’s where the adventure begins! After going on a fight with Noisy Boy and losing all of their money plus Noisy Boy in pieces, they decide to go to a robot junkyard, and there Max finds Atom, one of the second generation robots very old compared to what the current robot’s technology is, but with help of Bailey and Charlie, Max fixes Atom and takes ownership over him, deciding to take him to underground fights and prove to his dad that Atom could make the money he so desires. The only thing bringing Max and Charlie together is their love of boxing, and its because of this that they figure out how to train Atom.

Atom isn’t like every other robot out there, robots like Noisy Boy follow commands from a headset, but since Atom is from an older generation it is originally programmed to copy movements. Max, being all technology and video game savvy, finds out a way to put Noisy Boy’s voice recognition commands software so then either he or Charlie can communicate to Atom, as well as convincing Charlie to teach Atom some of his boxing moves. Soon enough, they’re the sensation at underground boxing, with a cute opening number performed by Max being copied by Atom that made the crowds go crazy, and then Charlie telling Atom commands over the headset from his own moves used back in the day. Atom becomes the star at the moment, winning fights with robots that are way faster and stronger than him, yet what those robots don’t have is the experience of a heavyweight boxer taking control of every move. One day after much recognition and buzz being created about Atom, they’re offered a fight in a professional boxing match and here’s when Max decides to challenge the #1 robot in the world, Zeus, telling him that Atom could take him “any time, any place”. And this is the battle to look forward to because it changes not only the father-son relationship between Charlie and Max, but also the future of robot boxing’s underdog: Atom.

Real Steel‘ depicted a very distant father in Charlie, who at times was a little too cold-hearted with Max, but yet despite his stubornness, and love for money, by the end of the movie he shows more affection towards Max which was totally expected. Max is a bright kid who all he wants is for his father to fight for him, and has faith in Atom that he could make it into the big leagues if they’re given the chance and keep working hard enough.  Bailey is Charlie’s love interest and somewhat support, she reminds Charlie of what’s really important in life and the father he needs to become for Max, as well as telling him about his father’s successes when he once was a boxer. The movie was predictable at times, but way too enjoyable! I rarely find movies especially if they’re not super dramatic and intense or an R-rated comedy with a good plot that keep me interested the whole time, ‘Real Steel’ was the real deal, and kept me wondering what was going to happen next as well as having a good time with a little bit of heartwarming in between. The fight scenes are great, I loved all of the new technology featured during the film, and I mean, it opens up to the possibility what if this really is the future of boxing? ‘Real Steel‘ made me believe like it could definitely happen.

Real Steel‘ is the movie for you if you’re down for some robot fighting with a hint of father/son relationship topped off with comedic relief and overall a good all-around film. This isn’t some Oscar-worthy stuff, not like I look for this in EVERY movie I see, no, I personally look forward to enjoying myself and feeling like what I paid for my ticket and the  time invested was worth it, and Real Steel did this for me, I had a blast!

Let me know what you think of it, leave a comment!



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