Against all the odds, Real Steel isn’t a completely terrible movie. Well, not nearly as bad as you would imagine when considering that its a film about rock ’em sock ’em robots. Director Shawn Levy wisely opts not to make a bunch of robots hitting each other repeatedly the centrepiece of his film (unlike, say Michael Bay’s last three films). Instead it focuses on the father/son relationship between Hugh Jackman who plays a deadbeat, washed up robot fighting enthusiast named Charlie and Dakota Goyo who plays his estranged son Max. The two reconnect and bond over a love of robot fighting and using a discarded fighter they find at a scrap heap, strive towards winning a robot fighting championship of the world. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, and it is, but there is at least some kind of substance to this story. Certainly more than I expected.
What makes some of the fights kinda neat is that they seem to channel famous Mohammed Ali fights. One fight in particular purposely evokes Ali’s famous clash with George Foreman who was a far bigger and stronger opponent but didn’t have the cardio to go the distance.
Real Steel is short, silly and sweet.