A movie like Real Steel is meant for a couple of things – launch the career of a young actor is one of them and if this movie has done one thing right, I hope it is to bring the young actor Dakota Goyo to the limelight.
Those of you who have read my posts on movies & movie reviews may know that I do not like Hugh Jackass aka Hugh Jackman. He just pisses me off and I think he is pretty much a one-dimensional actor but really annoys me as well. However he has acted in movies whose topics I like (X-Men Origins : Wolverine & Van Helsing for example).
Reel Steel is co-produced and directed by Shawn Levy and stars Jackman with the aforementioned child actor Goyo, Evangeline Lilly & Kevin Durand. The story is simple; a few years from now boxing is banned and robots have taken the place of boxing for humans. Charlie Kenton (Jackman) is an ex-boxer who know uses a robot. At an event, having made a bet that Ambush would win, Charlie now owes promoter Ricky (Kevin Durand) $20,000, which he doesn’t pay before leaving. Charlie goes back to his city where he finds out that his ex-gf has died leaving behind a young son Max. Max’s uncle & aunt want full custody, which Charlie gives them in exchange for $100,000, half in advance, on the condition that Charlie take care of Max for three months while the couple are away on a second honeymoon.
Charlie takes Max to meet up with childhood friend Bailey Tallet (Lilly) who runs the boxing gym of her deceased father, Charlie’s old coach. There Charlie buys a new robot xecondhand World Robot Boxing league (WRB) robot, the once-famous Noisy Boy, and in his enthusiasm arranges for a fight with the illegal circuit’s champ robot Midas. Due to inexperience with the controls & overconfidence Charlie loses and Noisy Boy is destroyed. While scrounging for parts in a dump, Max falls and slips in the muddy slush but his shirt gets snagged on the arm of an old mostly buried robot. Max & Charlie dig it up and find it to be an obsolete Generation-2 sparring bot with shadow boxing fuction for following human movements. Max loves Atom as the robot is called and fixes it up. At an outdoor event Max bets $1000 for a win against another robot and wins. Max later upgrades Atom to take vocal commands and to have harder-hitting fistcuffs, using parts from Charlie’s demolished robots, and convinces Charlie to train Atom.
Atom’s subsequent wins against bigger & more sophisticated bots brings both robot & Max lot of fame. At a big WRB event, Atom beats Twin Cities in an exciting match. After the match Max challenges WRB champion Zeus, designed by genius Tak Mashido (Karl Yune) and sponsored by wealthy Farra Lemcova (Olga Fonda), who before the match tries to buy the upstart Atom. As they leave the stadium, Ricky’s men catch up with Charlie and beat him up. Charlie recovers and takes Max to his uncle & aunt feeling Max will be safer with them and refusing the second half of the money he was promised. Bailey pushes Charlie to do better and that he can be a better father. With Max coming out to the arena and with Bailey & Max’s uncle & aunt in the crowd, Charlie leads Atom to a victory over Zeus with a lot of boxing terms being tossed around and blah, blah, blah from the supporters and cliches reign, the underdog lasts all the rounds but does not win as the unfair judges declare Zeus the winner on points. However the crowd is all for Atom & Max and the bot is declared the People’s Champion, father & son reunited and hand over the tissues if you are lame enough to be moved by this drivel.
So our hero is a father who wanted nothing to do with his son and was willing to give him away for money? And it takes his son being able to show him how to win money to make the dad finally start loving the kid! 6 out 10 and that’s for the kid actor & the special effects!