“Real Steel” is an adorable story about a broken father-son relationship that gradually mends itself with the help of several life-sized “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em” robot boxing matches.
A reluctant father, Charlie (Hugh Jackman), sees a quick way to gain money and to convince his sister-in-law in believing that he’s turning a new leaf. He bargains with his sister-in-law’s husband to let his son stay with him over the summer.
Surprisingly, this movie focuses more on the father than the son. Charlie is a retired boxer; the lack of available boxing matches has made him a bit more desperate for money. He is unable to find many opportunities to box—even if it’s through a machine — and he’s less than gracious when it comes to interacting with family and others.
Dakota Goyo is adorable as the young, sarcastic son whose obsession with robot boxing championships in combination with his father’s boxing expertise help them succeed in each match.
Thankfully, the robots in this film are made with animatronics instead of CGI. The actors are dealing with actual robots rather than having to rely on a green screen and estimating where each robot will be to talk to them. Each match feels like an actual robot boxing match, which makes each situation feel even more authentic.
The film, while engaging enough to keep one rooting for our father-son duo, has a few technicalities that may have been overlooked by the screenwriters and the director. Charlie and Max (Goyo), in the championship, face a robot that has been designed to predict its opponent’s next move. However, this very concept seems to go away once Charlie takes control of Max’s robot. Although it drills a small hole into our plot, it doesn’t take away from the overall story and Charlie and Max still remain closer to each other as father and son as a result.
Jim’s Rating: 7.8/10