Real Steel (starring Hugh Jackman and Evangeline Lilly) is a combination of two movie types I really like—science fiction and boxing. The synopsis of the movie sounds unique and in many respects, the movie is unique. However, once you see the movie, the first thing that comes to mind is that it’s faintly reminiscent of the Rocky movies. The movie is actually loosely based on a The Twilight Zone episode entitled, “Steel” (1963) penned by Richard Matheson (1956). Being a fan of the old television series (still being shown in some locations), I can see a faint resemblance to the way the show would have been put together, but don’t expect to see Rod Serling appear on screen.
Let’s get the required glitz review out of the way. The graphics in this movie are nothing less than spectacular in the fact that they look completely normal. There is a certain amount of flashing lights, explosions, and the like, but for the most part, this movie could happen in your neighborhood today. It’s this lack of over-stimulation that draws you into the movie. You find yourself believing that someone you know could be boxing robots. Whoever put the graphics together and came up with the creative ideas for this movie is amazing. I had expected eye popping effects and instead got normal, which actually suits this movie quite well.
The value of this movie is in the plot. Emotions run high because the plot is quite good and well acted. You find yourself wanting to cheer, cry, and yell all in a matter of minutes. Charlie Kelton (Jackman) ends up taking care of his little boy, Max (Dakota Goyo), after literally ignoring him all of his life and then selling him to his sister-in-law. Max is understandably upset at first, but then something happens—he gets interested in his own robot boxer. Even though Charlie is a complete loser on his own, when coupled with Max he becomes a winner. I don’t want to ruin the plot of this extraordinary film, but you can imagine what happens next.
Most of the performances in this movie are a little over the top, but well acted. The only actor that didn’t quite do the job was Evangeline Lilly (Bailey Tallet in the film). I found her performance a bit weak. It was almost as if she was overawed by Jackman. She did play an important part, but the performance could have been better—more believable. It wasn’t until the end of the movie that I felt a bit for her character, but by that time I was almost too busy cheering Charlie and Max to really notice. It was a case of too little, too late.
If you like science fiction, boxing, or simply a well-acted emotional movie, you’ll like Real Steel. It has few warts and a lot to recommend it. I just hope that they don’t ruin this movie by coming out with a sequel.