Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Real Steel

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Real Steel - 3 out of 5

When I first watched the trailer to Real Steel all I could think of was, "Hey, they made Clue into a movie and Battleship is coming out, why not Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots."  This prospect of another game becoming a movie got me excited to once again attempt to sell my script of turning Twister into a romantic comedy...I already have the tagline.  "Right hand blue, left hand love."  However, after watching the movie, I realized this movie has less to do with the game that knocks robots' blocks off and more to do with the 1987 classic with Sylvester Stalloone Over the Top.  Only instead of a boy and his father learning to love each other in a truck through the use of arm wrestling, we get a boy and his father learning to love each other in a truck with robot boxing--also the robots are better actors than Stalloone.

"About to finish robot:  Would you like me to continue? Yes or Cancel."

In the not to distant future, boxing isn't violent enough for the unwashed masses so people build robots to kick the crap out of each other.  One washed up operator (Hugh Jackman), after losing a battle against a bull (that's right, his robot is fighting a bull at the beginning of the film--the sad part is, this will probably actually become a reality in the future), discovers that his ex-wife died and he has to give up custody of his son to his former sister-in-law.  Jackman agrees to take the kid for the summer before giving him up permanently and the two hit the robot boxing scene with a robot that, in all reality, should just be a punching bag and not a champion.  However, this means the robot is the underdog and that means he's got heart (figuratively, he's a robot after all) and works his way up to fight the World Robot Boxing champion Zeus.

How come when actors get a controller of any kind in their hands in movies they have to
use it like they are having a spastic seizure?

In a nutshell, Real Steel is just plain silly.  The premise is ridiculous and, as if to make it even sillier, the filmmakers take the movie WAYYYY too seriously.  It was as if director Shawn Levy was making the robot equivalent of Rocky.  As the story sets itself up, you settle in for one cliche after another in the world of underdog sports films--and when an estranged father and son are thrown into the mix and you're in for even more cliches.  What you would expect  happens as daddy and sonny boy don't get along at the beginning but end up finding mutual ground in the form of kicking metal butt and in the raining pieces of shredded steel and nuts and bolts, their begrudging respect turns into affection.  

That's a smile that screams "I didn't flush."

I see the kid from Star Wars Episode I:  The Phantom
Menace
hasn't aged a bit.
Once the kid is introduced, you knew this was going to happen so I'm going to throw this out there...the movie could probably have been better if he wasn't in it.  Had the movie been just about a washed up operator trying to dig himself out of the pits of the robot boxing world, this movie would have been a little more unique.  Also, the kid's character isn't helped by the fact that the actor playing him is absolutely awful to watch in action.  Then, as if the filmmakers are giving you bait to hate the kid even more, dances sequences with the kid and the underdog robot (named Atom) are thrown in before robo-bouts.

Seriously, the movie could have done without these scenes.  I get it, a robot doing the robot is cool.

Error 404: Punch Not Found
That being said, Real Steel isn't a total stinker.  The special effects are great and the boxing scenes (despite being done by robots) are genuinely entertaining.  Also, the future they show is realistic and not to over the top.  However, with the cliche themes littered within the story and the annoying boy only makes the film passably entertaining to watch and to give it a single shot.  But if Optimus Prime showed up in the end to take out Atom and Zeus and take the title of World Robot Boxing Champion, then the movie would have made it to a 5 out of 5.

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