In the future, sports are violent and action-packed. Humans, unable to handle the growing violence, create robots to fight in their place. “Real Steel” follows the life of go-for-broke boxer Charlie Kenton, who uses robots to box odd animals and other robots in an underground fighting league.
Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) has just acquired a new robot when his life is interrupted by the arrival of his eleven year old son, Max Kenton (Dakota Goyo). Charlie has not seen his son since he was born. Max has only one desire, which is to get to know his father.
After losing his new robot in an all or nothing fight, Charlie is forced to destroy it at a junk yard. At the junk yard, he finds a sparring robot called Atom. From here, the story progresses to Atom’s rise in fame, popularity, and glory as he eventually takes on the champion Zeus. Zeus has never been defeated in combat, and no robot has ever lasted more than two rounds when fighting him. Any more details on this fight, though, would spoil the ending.
Comparisons between “Real Steel” and more traditional boxing movies are inevitable. Previous boxing movies like “Rocky” and “Cinderella Man” focus on the anguish and pain that boxers put themselves through physically and mentally. Human physical anguish is not possible in a movie about robot boxing, but the typical mental anguish is present. The trivial relationship problems, sexual tension, and father-son issues Charlie faces can be easily related to Rocky Balboa’s story in “Rocky.” “Real Steel” does attempt to add traditional elements to its story, such as that of “David and Goliath,” but hardly sticks to the standard criteria of what it means to be a boxing movie.
The primary question is, “Is this movie worth watching?” In short, yes, this movie is worth the price of a ticket. Due to the unusual nature of the story, the actors had to really sell it on their acting talents. Jackman carried the cast and Goyo performed brilliantly, despite his 12-year-old age. The script was realistic and the editing flowed quite smoothly with the progression of the story. A great plus to this movie is the fact that the robots have great boxing attributes, and, unlike other giant robot movies, “Real Steel” is not padded with actresses who cannot act or unnecessary explosions. “Real Steel” remained tasteful, while still being able to deliver a great amount of action. For all these reasons, “Real Steel” earns a 7.4 out of 10.