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Film Review: REAL STEEL (2011)

Real Steel - poster Director: Shawn Levy
Writers: John Gatins (screenplay), Dan Gilroy (story), Jeremy Leven (story) & Richard Matheson (short story “Steel”)
Running Time: 122 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

Genre: Action/Drama/Sci-Fi
UK Release Date: 14th October 2011

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 28th July 2012.


After this film came out I listened to a short review that didn’t condemn it, but didn’t exactly praise it either. I decided to add it to ‘The List’ in the hope that the reviewer was having a bad day… they do that occasionally. It seems I was at least partially right; whilst not being the best film ever made, it is certainly one of the most entertaining I’ve seen so far this year. I will tell you more after this very brief summary.

Real Steel - 4 Charlie Kenton is an ex-boxer who now makes a living travelling around with a fighting robot. I should say that the film is set in a not too distant future where robot fighting has replaced the human version of the sport. All ‘bots are humanoid in shape and the fighting is loosely based on the rules of boxing where the last one standing wins. Charlie is a bit of a chancer but always seems to make the wrong decisions; this causes him to be in a lot of debt (constantly). Even Bailey Tallet, who runs a gym where he bases himself is losing patience with him. Then his ex-girlfriend dies and, via a bit of a complicated route, he ends up with the custody of his eleven-year-old son, Max. Now Max is a big fan of robot fighting and wants to pitch in to help his dad. He reluctantly agrees and while they are looking for parts one day, Max finds an old sparring ‘bot called Atom. He brings him back, cleans him up and decides he wants to fight him. Eventually Charlie agrees, but will it be the right decision (for once)… Should he listen to his son or carry on thinking he knows best? Well, you guessed it, I’m not going to tell you here… Needless to say, it sets them off on a journey that could lead to a greater understanding.

Real Steel - 8 Very well made with some excellent effects; the robot fight scenes are quite amazing! Some well chosen tunes intersperse the action, which works well, although some of the music wasn’t to my taste. The performances were all very good, particularly Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, he really had me believing Charlie was a complete idiot at the beginning of the film (always a good sign). Dakota Goyo also did a decent job as Max, a little annoying at times, but eleven-year-old boys are like that in real life, but still a decent performance nonetheless. Finally there’s Evangeline Lilly as Charlie’s former trainer’s daughter, Bailey Tallet. Quite a straightforward role that she played very well.

REAL STEEL A film with very much a feel-good factor, but not one that makes me want to jump in the shower to wash the saccharine off. I’ve heard it described as ‘Rocky with robots’ and I can see how that comparison could be made. There’s plenty of action and in between, more than a little drama as Charlie and Max try to figure out their relationship. For me, it didn’t let me down on the entertainment front despite its shortcomings (little character depth and a slightly predictable plot) but it still gets the SteelMonster Seal of Approval!... RECOMMENDED.

My Score 8.3/10

IMDb Score: 7.2/10 (based on 108,873 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 56/100: (Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).

Real Steel - 1 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 60/100 (based on 204 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 74/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 60,598 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

Max Kenton: You screwed me!
Charlie Kenton: Nice mouth.
Max Kenton: You know where they're going right now?

Max Kenton: So what do we do?
Charlie Kenton: We fight smart, be patient and pray. Seriously, pray!

Charlie Kenton: I don't want your money, Marvin.

Bailey Tallet: 1200 miles for a kiss.
Charlie Kenton: Worth it. So worth it.

Charlie Kenton: What do you want from me?
Max Kenton: I want you to fight for me! That's all I ever wanted!

(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site: http://www.steelgetsreal.com/

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