This weekend I saw Real Steal with Damielle. It’s about a near future where robot boxing is the dominant entertainment venue for the masses. Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, who’s become a shadow of his former self trying to reach for the lime light again. Events happen that lead him to take on his estranged son Max, and all the things that accompany a child’s innocence and optimism. It’s an underdog sports story with a whole lot throw in, put it all together and press purée, that’s what your get.
The good; the computer rendered graphics are great, I attribute this in part to the filmmakers knowing when to use the practical model and when to use the CG version. Then there’s the story/characters, nothing new here, while this sounds like a criticism it’s not. Much like Avatar and Drive, it’s all about the execution and how well all these movies and stories are combined together. This movie was very predictable but I still found myself caring about the characters. To add to that, all their motivations were clear as well, at no point was I ever confused about what each person wanted.
The world is also wonderfully established, they did a great job establishing the world works and how things operate. There’s small touches like the truck Kenton drives, there are windows by the foot pedals where the driver passenger would be, cause the truck is so high you’d need to look lower.
The bad; the timing of this movie’s release has me wondering. It should’ve come out closer to the holidays or been a summer release, it seems like the studios didn’t have much faith in it, what a shame. People have said it’s a kids’ movie, I can see that, but it does a great job of combining boxing movies about the underdog like Rocky, with something like Robot Jox.
*SPOILERS* There are nods to the previously mentioned movies; the world champion robot is named Zeus, in Rocky, the champion is named Apollo Creed. In mythology, Apollo is the son of Zeus.
In an obvious nod to the iconic game “Rock’em, Sock’em, Robots”, during the Atom/Zeus fight, Mashido assumes manual control of Zeus and grabs two simple joysticks and moves them back and forth operating Zeus exactly as done in the board game.
Midas’ Mohawk hairstyle is a nod to “Clubber” Lang, Mr.T’s character in Rocky III.
And then there’s the ending, more nods to Rocky.
The ending is a bit of a shock, unless you’ve seen Rocky, with the way the movie was going I’m glad that they decided to go the way they went. Overall, I loved the roller coaster of a film that they provided. Mashing all those afore mentioned films worked well. Most of the time I would complain about mashing films together, but in this case I welcomed it. Real Steal is a good popcorn family movie that everyone can enjoy, it’s harmless and sad, and uplifting, and fun. Above all it’s fun. Go check it out.
Oh and another thing, the movie is based on a short story by the legendary Richard Matheson, which was made in to Steel from the classic Twilight Zone. His other works include; The Last Man on Earth, I Am Legend, The Box… So another reason for me to like this movie.