The Twenty-First Century

Real Steel [2011]

The way the folks at Dreamworks are treating this film you’d think it was a turkey; it’s anything but. It may not be great, but it’s still science-fiction with some real thought behind it. The setting is the near future (so I guess we survived the apocalypse); Hugh Jackman plays a washed up prizefighter who makes a living as a manager for boxing robots. When his ex-girlfriend dies, he’s forced to spend a summer looking after his 11 year old son, whom he never really knew. The boy is also a huge fan of boxing robots, so when he finds an old robot in the junkyard, the discarded machine takes them to the big league, where the big boys fight. This includes a vicious robot by the name of “Zeus”. Will the boxing tournament help cement the relationship between father and son? You probably know the answer to that. But truth be told, everything about “Real Steel” rings true, even if it the story sounds a bit too predictable. And The notion that technology has run ahead of us is both timely and intriguing; that’s one reason “Real Steel” is pretty interesting.  But the reason the movie works is that it’s primarily interested in offering a good story with plenty of action and visual effects. There are some aspects of the plot that might have been explored more fully; with a bit more effort this could have been even better, but on the whole I think “Real Steel” accomplishes what it sets out to do. When I first watched the trailer, the movie seemed like another “Transformers” movie. It isn’t. In fact, I’d call it an original. That’s why I enjoyed it.

If you’re a sucker for underdog stories, you’ll definitely enjoy “Real Steel”. But in case you’re looking for some kind of poetry, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Rating: 3/4

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