“Real Steel” – Review (NEGATIVE)
Rock’em Sock’em Robots! And I know I’m not the only one who thought this when they saw the trailer premiere for “Reel Steel” earlier this year. This combination of science fiction & inspirational sports drama of an underdog has all the elements of a Box Office success, and it will succeed at #1, but the movie relies on too many sports clichés. Sure it has nifty effects and Hugh Jackman isn’t that bad, I’ll admit it, I have a man crush on the Jack, but the movie overall is just boring.
The year is 2020. Human boxing has become a thing of the past, when the fans/viewers want to see more brutal and violent ways to pummel one another, in come the robots. Robot boxing has become the top sport worldwide. A struggling promoter, Charlie Kenton (Jackman), has been out of luck for years now, losing robot after robot in fights. He’s broke, he’s an ex-boxer, he’s a bum (sound familiar?). Charlie gets the news that an ex-girlfriend of his, who had a child with Charlie, who Charlie has been with in 11 years, suddenly enters his life. Well, the kid does, after the news of his mother recently passed away from an unknown “movie death”, Charlie is stuck with the kid until he’s ex’s sister returns from an Italian vacation to adopt the young boy (Dakota Goyo). After some run-ins, Charlie & his son, Max, find a sparring robot in a junkyard. Charlie feels he’s found a champion robot. During this hopeful rise to the top, a special bond is made between both father & son, and boy & robot.
You can pretty much guess where the movie goes from here, so why bother seeing it? Because it has robots beating the snot out of one another! That’s it. Seriously the human characters are boring & typical, the story relies on too many “Rocky” themes, and the overall plot is just too predictable. It got to the point where you can guess right away what’s gonna happen next. For a story like this to work, we need to care about our characters (the humans), but there’s hardly any danger for them, the robots are fighting one another, so who cares for a robot? You shouldn’t, ‘cause they’re not real!
The movie does try to pull the whole, ‘Aw, this robot might have a soul and feelings.’ But, it seriously doesn’t go ANYWHERE! The movie drops hints about it, and that’s all, nothing more is explained. It’s just…lazy writing, trying to muck up the audience.
Don’t get me started on the kid. I’m sure Dakota Goyo will have a well-balanced career, but this movie isn’t doing any favors for him. His character comes off as pompous, he thinks he’s a know it all, he makes Hugh Jackman, and many of the other adult actors in this movie, look like children. His behavior is unlikable, every time he opens his mouth I felt like throwing my popcorn at the screen. Much of the blame could go to director Shawn Levy, since the guy himself is all those things I listed above to begin with. I can’t stand Shawn Levy, find an interview with him and you’ll see why. The characters he directs are just so annoying and child-like.
To the films credit, the action scenes were impressive. The robots looked damn cool, and Hugh Jackman is still the awesome Hugh Jackman we’ve come to love since “X-Men”. Kids, I’m sure will like this movie, adults might tolerate it, but for the movie geek fans like myself, it just doesn’t cut it. You know what? I’ll save you the trouble, anyone here seen “Rocky”? You know how that movie ends? This movie…SAME ENDING!