Ever seen a movie that gives you renewed and refreshed faith that quality cinema still exists? Prepare to have that feeling with “Real Steel,” the new action-packed flick that takes one to the gut.
Released to theaters on Oct. 7, the film is set in the near future—around the year 2020—where a new sport involves giant boxing robots that are manned by skilled fighters behind the ring. Fights like these require heavy and equal amounts of technology, smarts, and agility.
This particular story follows Hugh Jackman’s character, Charlie Kenton, a retired professional boxer now working and selling these fighting bots. Along with his estranged son Max, played by Dakota Goyo, the desperate pair find an older generation bot in a junkyard that turns out to be more than they were expecting, winning fight after fight and finally making it to the big leagues. Evangeline Lily also plays a major role as the spunky Bailey Tallet, Charlie’s love interest.
I was terribly excited to see the movie after only seeing the trailer a month ago, yet I had zero idea what I was in for until I saw the herculean names that flashed in the opening credits. Get this—”Real Steel” is directed and co-produced by cinema genius Shawn Levy, director of hits such as “Cheaper by the Dozen,” “Night at the Museum,” and my personal favorite, “Date Night.” Even further, Susan Montford and Don Murphy, who are married, also produced the film, the latter who worked on the “Transformers” movies. Who else is on-board? The one and only producer Robert Zemeckis and famed composer Danny Elfman (be still, my beating heart).
The sound quality and graphics are a force to be reckoned with, and the little details are what set this flick apart from the rest. As the robots throw punches at each other, sparks would fly off instead of real blood, giving the feel of real fighters without being human. Eminem has plenty of tracks playing throughout and adds his own flare to the movie.
The technology in this movie is impeccable, and its almost humorous how much they try to promote the near-futuristic additions. In fact, the overkill on advertising and product placement throughout kept me chuckling. While I am sure there were certainly more, at one point I actually counted 15 different logos and brands including multiple Dr. Pepper, Budweiser, and Mercedes-Benz. Even Hewlett-Packard’s name was plastered all over the robotic technology.
At first glance, many movie-goers—myself included—perceived this flick to take a whack at Rock‘em Sock‘em Robots, and this assumption is not terribly unprecedented. With the “Transformers” franchise and the new “Battleship”-inspired movie coming out next summer, my first thought was, “What’s next? A modern interpretation of the legend of ‘Candyland’?” However, this incredible movie is more than just brawn and punching. The heart and soul that was poured into it and the story that builds this masterpiece is what sets it apart from the rest. Trust me—it’s not your average CGI action movie.
As the credits rolled, it took everything in me not to stand up, throw my fist in the air, and shout, “Now THIS is why I go to the movies!” Yes, it was that good. A movie should make the viewer feel something and take that something away from the theater. There was so much heart that was definitely felt in every member of the audience, who broke out in roaring applause at one point. I almost had to wipe a tear from my cheek near the end when Bailey and Max gaze upon Hugh Jackman’s character as he victoriously throws punch after punch in the final fight and was able to find his way back to what he loves: boxing.
Hands down, I give this movie a strong five out of five chips for its great effects, rich story, fresh takes, and for just being plain amazing. It exceeded my expectations ten fold, and I would recommend it to anyone. Bottom line, “Real Steel,” through its amazing story line and underlying themes, effortlessly portrays this worthwhile message: do what you love, and don’t ever stop.