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Feel good entertainment with a great story
UniqueParticle19 February 2020
I love watching Real steel whenever possible, delightful scenes especially with the kid and Hugh Jackman is awesome throughout! VFX are incredible and well polished; I'm glad it was nominated. Shawn Levy has done many projects under his belt that I have absolutely loved or even just consider a guilty pleasure which is nice too. I like the cuteness in many parts, definitely one of the better robot movies made in last couple decades!
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A great fun family movie
brentcollyer7 March 2020
Just watched this movie with my 8 yo daughter and it was a lot of fun, she really loved it and I thought it was very well done and easy to watch. Lot's of very negative reviews not sure what they were expecting, I don't think anyone involved was planning a trip to the Oscars. Sometimes it's good to just relax and not over critique everything.
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No splitting this Atom, it has got a rock solid heart.
hitchcockthelegend27 July 2012
Real Steel is directed by Shawn Levy and collectively adapted to the screen by John Gatins, Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven from a Richard Matheson short story called Steel. It stars Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand, Hope Davis and James Rebhorn. Music is scored by Danny Elfman and cinematography by Mauro Fiore.

Set in the near future, robot boxing is a big crowd pulling sport. After a struggling robot operator is introduced to an 11-year-old son he has never known, they stumble upon a discarded robot at a junk yard....

We can all moan about the mimicry of an idea and the clichés that dominate Real Steel, but you really got to hand it to the makers for what they have achieved. They have crafted a family film that's very much perfect in this day and age. The story is one that any adult Sylvester Stallone fan can acknowledge and appreciate, the human heartbeat pleasingly steady, while the premise of big colourful robots beating the crap out of each other delights youngsters and us adults who are still young at heart. Film pretty much does what any other film of this type does, lays on the syrup in the last quarter where second chances and family strife come thundering through the plotting. Undeniably it's hugely derivative, events are joystick operated to get an emotional response from a family audience, while product placement reins and the script often sags under the weight of unoriginality. But it does uplift the spirit and getting to the end is easy since it's so much berserker fun. Yes it's the robot Atom, the people's champion, yes it's David vS Goliath and yes! It's Balboa vS Creed. Nothing wrong with that really.

The cast don't really have to offer up much beyond being adequate within the context of the material, though a muscular Jackman finds good paternal chemistry with young Goyo. In fact Goyo is pleasingly not annoying, always a bonus is that. Inevitably the robots are the stars, they're a triumph of design and visual effects and a sight for sore eyes, while Levy has a good handle on staging the fight sequences - even when cribbing from Balboa. The near future look is terrific as well, with Fiore's colour photography very appealing. Coining in over $290 million at the worldwide box office (over £180 million in profit), Real Steel found the family audience it was looking for, proving once again that there is a market for simple and effective popcorn carnage. It's not high art or intelligently scripted, but was anyone seriously thinking that was going to be the case here? If you want brains with this premise then seek out Twilight Zone episode "Steel", starring the excellent Lee Marvin, otherwise just sit back and enjoy the ride and let the botty bots and human interest raise the pulse and gladden the heart respectively. 7/10

Home format release is a sparkling print, extras are annoyingly short but the blooper reel is fun, we get a stunt deconstruction, and we learn about the influence a certain Mr. Spielberg had on the production.
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A gem still in 2020!
denvertts29 September 2020
#3 on Netflix! Well deserved! I've watched this movie at least 3 times every year since it came out in 2011. Saw it pop up on Netflix & had tears in my eyes in the same parts I always do. This movie is full of heart & I will always love it. Fighters, fathers, underdogs will feel this movie to their core. ATOM!
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Doesn't lead us down the road of "coolness"
StevePulaski14 February 2012
My response to Real Steel is almost parallel to Hugh Jackman's reaction to the robot fighter Atom in the film. Upon initial advertising and trailers, I wasn't impressed by the film one bit. It looked like another film that glorified the "coolness" of robots, and then tried to tack on a contrived story of a father and son relationship. Never did I believe I'd see it and actually award it a positive score. Just like in the film where Jackman doesn't believe Atom has what it takes to be a successful fighter, and then is greeted with a rude awakening.

The film takes place in the near future, 2020 according to director Shawn Levy, where human boxers have been replaced by large metal monstrosities that do the dirty work while the humans occupy the controls and the commands for them. Charlie Kenton (Jackman), a former boxer, now spends his days using the robots to fight, but finds himself in a rough patch of failures.

After being informed his ex-girlfriend has died, whom he had a child with, Charlie must now take care of the kid for three months until his aunt and uncle return from their second honeymoon. The kid is eleven year old Max, played efficiently by Dakota Goyo. The two meet awkwardly, but experienced moviegoers like myself know that these two will soon become a cheerful father and son duo.

During a junkyard visit where Charlie and Max are searching for new parts for their robot, they stumble upon Atom, a small, yet relentlessly strong bot who is abandoned but still able to fight. They repair him, and then discover that with voice recognition and shadow effect, where the robot mimes the moves of a human) that he is a bot with a strong amount of potential for success. The rest of the film depicts the father and son's efforts to take Atom all the way to the championship.

The digital effects work very well together, and are much more eye appealing than the similar ones used in the Transformers series. For one thing, the fight scenes are coherent, entertaining, and extremely well scored by Danny Elfman, who this time gives us some delightfully different music.

The robots are captured using a variety of digital techniques. Some are animatronic, some are used through motion capture animation, where actors get fitted for special suits and imitate the motions of the character, and some just plain ol' CGI. All of these three techniques are blended very well together, and make for a very entertaining visual spectacle. Even the motion capture isn't as sketchy and glitchy as it normally is. In Ang Lee's Hulk back in 2003 it was clearly jerky and underdeveloped, in Mars Needs Moms, this same year, it was unnecessary and obtrusive, but here, it seems the effects team has gotten their act together.

I think the only fault here is the screenplay. but what makes it a bit better is the fact that the cast approaches it with optimism and the mentality that they will "make it work." Jackman certainly does, pulling off a sleazy, ignorant father who grows to appreciate his son and his job a bit more, and Dakota Goyo, like I said before, hits almost every note just right. The problem is the screenplay hammers us with several movie clichés we've seen many times before. The rags to riches story has shown itself many times, not to mention one's rise from humble beginnings to a successful career. At least Real Steel recognizes the movies it's paying homage to, like the whole end scene that slightly mirrors Rocky.

Director Shawn Levy has successfully made success out of two underdogs; the film itself and Atom. His previous flicks like Just Married and Night at the Museum were lightweight innocent features that failed to include anything on the same level as Real Steel. By the end, the film had given me a feelings I like to possess when I come out of a film I thought was going to be lackluster; reassured and surprised.

Starring: Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo. Directed by: Shawn Levy.
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Soooo Cheesy!
martinrobertson30048228 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Real Steel" is the cheesiest movie I've seen in quite some time. After a promising start, flick starts getting over confident in telling its story. A Story we've already seen before in "Rocky" and its many clones.

Set in a future where the only difference seems to be fighting robots. Hugh Jackman plays an out off work boxer and grade A a**hole, who is hopeless at getting new robots fighting. Jackmans life is supposedly turned around when the son he abandoned as a baby turns up and helps in finding an old robot, who ends up being great in the ring.

As I wrote above, the film starts off well. Jackmans playing a character that only cares about money and winning until the kid turns up. Even the kids doing well until he starts teaching the robot how too dance (and yes he even teaches him "the robot," sigh!) and like most over confident child actors, becomes the irritating c*cky kid in the movie.

I don't think I'm spoiling anything by saying that the old robot wins and Jackman ends up caring about more than just himself by the end off the flick, but the way they go about this is seriously corny, and the way in which Jackman started out makes me not want too root for him so much by the end.

Overall the films story maybe isn't as predictable as you'd think, and is saved from a worst rating by this, and its light sprinkiling off funny moments and cool robot designs. Round one though is better than round two. Which seems determined to out-do "Rocky" and all its many imitators, in an attempt to win the award for corniest movie ever.
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Could've, Would've, Should've…but Didn't.
Jonathon_Natsis17 October 2011
What a little gem Real Steel could have been. Well before its release, and before any intricate plot details became known, this sounded like an intelligent film in which robots are forced to engage in brutal fights for the entertainment of their human masters. Where the story would've gone from there is left to the imagination, but it appeared to have all the makings of critically acclaimed, self-conscious science fiction. The final product differed heavily from initial expectations, however, and we are left with a hollow, albeit bearable alternative prompting those such as myself to ask: What could have been?

In the very near future (2020, according to director Shawn Levy) the human art of man-to-man combat has become obsolete. One-time fighters have been replaced by robots that do the dirty work while their human controllers reap the rewards. Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is one such promoter, recently down on his luck and who lives not for the bright lights, but to make just enough money to survive. At this most inopportune time, he is forced to take care of his estranged son (Dakota Goyo), whose burgeoning friendship with an outdated sparring 'bot named Atom convinces Charlie to give the big time one last shot.

For a movie that has the skeleton to accommodate exploring the concept of human qualities in machines, a la Blade Runner or Artificial Intelligence, as well as (warning: pretentiousness ahead) the theme of 'ethics and morals of humanity', it actually does everything it can to avoid those topics entirely. My hopes for such a film were all but dashed with the casting of a child- a sure sign that the story would be strictly focused on Max and Charlie's relationship, and in that respect the plot seems unnecessarily restricted. This results in an inherently out-of-place scene in which Atom, all alone before a big fight, gazes into a mirror as if to question his existence. Its inclusion into the final cut is sure to whiz above the heads of its pre-teen target audience, while more mature viewers might interpret it as a cheap attempt to inject some heart far too late into the story.

Indeed, its family-friendly status is the biggest letdown of Real Steel. At the forefront is the misguided characterisation of Charlie's son, who is portrayed as, in my opinion, a spoiled brat who's so cocksure of himself all the time that a little part of you wants to see him fail. The child as an authority figure may appeal to those of Max's age, but it detracts from the contrasting, gritty realism of Jackman's character, and shuts down any hope of character-based realism in the process. Other attempts to please the male tween market include obvious allusions to toy lines and video games, as well as a mind-boggling assault of product placement, which becomes more than a little irritating during the second half.

The script is not disastrous. The writers dabble in clichés occasionally, but not quite to the point where it numbs the mind. On a more negative note, the screenplay does allow for an assortment of cringe-worthy moments (which some might call 'heart-warming', depending on personal perspective) that include dancing robots and the introduction of more than one excessively cartoonish side character, again limiting the level of engagement one can make with this movie.

The action set pieces in the film were visually pleasing, exploiting a decent amount of camera angles to give the viewer an intriguing look into the mechanics of robot rumbling. The CGI is impressive, and the clunky (as opposed to slick) movements of the robots actually work well, reflecting what a realistic fight between two heavy machines would look like. Jackman does his best as always, but he alone can't salvage a once-promising prospect that instead settles for being the very definition of blockbuster mediocrity.

*There's nothing I love more than a bit of feedback, good or bad. So drop me a line on and let me know what you thought of my review.*
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"Real Steel" is the Real Deal
jon.h.ochiai8 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Real Steel" is awesome. I did not expect this going in. It is more than just "Transformers" meets "Rocky" doing "rock-um sock-um robots". I saw Hugh Jackman on Jimmy Fallon talk about what made him enroll in the project. "Real Steel" beyond the visually astounding CGI glitz and spectacle is the touching story of father and son defining love and respect. Again, not all that surprising given Steven Spielberg is Executive Producer. I'm a fan of Jackman. "Real Steel" may be his crossover hit that leverages his amazing gifts, playing a real guy, and not a superhero. He is awesome, as well. As Jackman describes "Real Steel" is about second chances, and redemption. Sure the story's climax pits underdog undersized fighting robot Atom against the ferocious indestructible Zeus. For me, "Real Steel" resonates in its human voice. Hugh Jackman as Charlie confesses to his son Max (scene stealing Dakota Goyo), "You deserve better… than me." Charlie asks Max, what he wants from him. Max answers, "I want you to fight for me!" Yes, "Real Steel" is fighting for love with everything you have. "Real Steel" is the real deal.

Set in the near future, 2020, human boxing is now obsolete. Robot boxing is the reigning form of entertainment that gives audiences the brutal carnage without damage to human life. Jackman is Charlie Kenton, former boxer now manager of second rate robot boxers. As "Real Steel" opens we witness his robot Ambush being demolished at amusement event at a county rodeo. The promoter Ricky (arrogant and sleazy Kevin Durand) knows Charlie from his boxing days. It turns out that Charlie owes some bad people a lot of money. Charlie returns home to his love Bailey (beautiful and radiant Evangeline Lilly) with Ambush in tow. Bailey confirms that Ambush is a complete loss and reminds Charlie that he has no money. Bailey owns her father's boxing gym in the city, and her father managed and trained Charlie when he was a contender. Bailey can't support Charlie and keep the gym afloat.

Charlie gets word that his old girlfriend died, and he now has custody of their son Max (Goyo). Irresponsible Charlie pretty much abandoned Max and his Mom when he was born. Max is 11 years old. Max's Aunt Debra (unforgiving and taut Hope Davis) wants full custody of Max. At a court hearing in Texas, loutish Charlie expresses no interest in being a father. Instead he brokers a deal with Debra's wealthy husband Marvin (decent James Rebhorn) to sign custody away for $100,000. Charlie needs the money to buy state of the art champion robot, Noisy Boy. The catch: Debra and Marvin are vacationing in Italy for 2 months. So Charlie gets to forge a relationship with Max, or not. Really for Charlie this means having Bailey look after Max. Goyo is natural as the smart cool gamer kid, who is a fan of robot boxing and street dancing. Seems he also inherits his Dad's stubbornness. He also insists on calling Jackman, "Charlie". Max knows he is being played at least initially.

Evangeline Lilly is beautifully understated and generative as Bailey. Too bad she isn't given more to do, as well. She immediately is drawn to care for Max, because he is like Charlie, but void of his painful disappointments. In a wonderful scene she tells Max about the man Charlie was as a boxer. Although, he was 25 and 19, unfortunately all by knockout, he battled toe-to-toe with the number 2 contender in the world. Her Bailey loves Charlie so much, and is waiting for him to step into the great man he can be. Jackman shades Charlie as a powerful man, who lives life fully, leaving nothing behind. Of course the glaring paradox is his relationship with Max. Screen and story writers John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, and Jeremy Leven strike the right tone with their "Real Steel", they know it's the people that inspire, not the stunning special effects. Director Levy touchingly focuses his narrative as well.

Charlie's "Noisy Boy" is torn to shreds in an underground cage match. While searching for repair parts in the junkyard, Max uncovers another robot, Atom. Atom is a second generation sparring bot, as Charlie points out to Max. So Atom is built to take punishment, not inflict it. Unfazed Max is determined to fight Atom in matches. Using his hacker skills Max merges Noisy Boy's voice command feature with Atom's Shadow Function—Atom can flawlessly imitate every movement he sees. Charlie trains Atom giving the robot the punching combinations and instincts of a human boxer. Charlie and Max leverage this advantage over other fighting bots, and soon find themselves fighting in the WRB, World Robot Boxing. The reigning WRB Champion is Zeus, technological marvel designed by creator Tak Mashido (elegantly arrogant Karl Yune). Zeus is programmed with artificial intelligence that learns from his opponents and evolves. Zeus's owner is the gorgeous and canny Farra Lemkova, well played by Olga Fonda. Human instinct and courage is matched against calculated advanced technology. This is Charlie's last shot at greatness, and his chance to come to terms with his past.

In "Real Steel" Sugar Ray Leonard trained Hugh Jackman to box, and was the technical adviser for robot boxing in the ring. Jackman looks quick, strong, and lean. Too bad none of his boxer action sequences made it into the final cut. All this gives "Real Steel" a visceral authenticity. The real deal is Jackman and Goyo's heartfelt chemistry. Yes, that they become father and son is predictable. It's supposed to. Jackman is powerful and compassionate as he believably transforms into the hero. Goyo is wonderful as the innocent kid, who just wants to believe in something. In a poignant scene with both as Charlie fails to protect Max, he whispers, "I'm sorry…" "Real Steel" at times is shamelessly hokey, and I loved it. In the end it is about love, and all that you fight for. "Real Steel" gets it right.
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Great Movie. Sci-fi robot boxing with a lot of emotions!
adihtc28 November 2015
I had seen this film a couple of times in the last years and I enjoyed it every time.

The movie has various robot fighting and every robot has its own personality mixing all with a perfect blend of emotions.

For me the robot fighting was great. All late Huge Jackman's movies are good. There are also some comic scenes and the movie has an embedded message: you can always make things that sometimes you can not handle when you have other priorities; it may be hard but it can be done.

Dakota Goyo (the kid) did a good job as well.

I would watch again gladly this movie!
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The Heart Of Steel
TourettesPersonal13 October 2011
Based on what everybody said, Real Steal is like Over The Top plus Rocky with Robots. Over The Top because there's a man, his son, and a truck. Rocky because it's obvious. Put these films together and add robots and minus Stallone. Real Steel is not very innovating though but it's excitingly great and has plenty of heart. It's also the return of Hugh Jackman although we just saw him a little last June. There are lot of things to recommend in Real Steel.

The premise isn't really that intriguing. It's boxing replaced by robots. Films with Giant CGI Robots are not innovating since we have Michael Bay's Transformers. But the heart and soul lies to the relationship of Charlie and Max and their robot, Atom. It's fun to watch them. The fighting scenes are pretty exciting. That is what most underdog fighting movies do. The only problem here is the weak major antagonist. It's not really that threatening or a big deal. Ricky was more threatening than the gigantic Zeus.

The filmmaking is pretty decent. Well shot scenes. The CGI robots and the music score are good enough. Nothing to say about the production design except Charlie's truck. It looks fascinating for some reason. The performances were great. We don't see Hugh Jackman in action movies after two years and there's a small cameo of him, flipping off two characters(it's obvious but I won't tell you the title). Here in Real Steel, Jackman is energetic and somewhat perfect for the role. Dakota Goyo is a bit charming. Chemistry of him and Jackman shines through the film. It's fun to watch them together.

There aren't much new here in Real Steel but in the end, it's enjoyable and has plenty of heart. The climax isn't so much overwhelming but it intends to be more heartfelt. Again, it's like Over The Top which the father is trying to make his son proud and Rocky because it's boxing and add some robots in it. Even without thinking much about the robots, there is always human heart in this film. Hugh Jackman does it again. The underdog fighting movie genre does it again. It's really a fun film for the whole family.
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A Nutshell Review: Real Steel
DICK STEEL6 October 2011
Real Steel is a science fiction fantasy piece that imagines a world in future where all that is possible, where humans take control of giant robots to do battle on their behalf in the boxing ring. But those looking for robot fight after robot fight might be better off with watching the Transformers trilogy from start to end, since you only get a handful of robot battles, with the bulk being montaged away in the midsection and the final fight even, which leaves behind an aftertaste of being short changed on the entertainment front, since we're like the spectators on screen, ready to see some hard hitting action from the get go.

Instead this film takes on a more human dimension, which is rather formulaic if you strip away the robot and machine component. Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, an ex-boxer turned robot gladiator who travels from arena to arena with his machine to fight the odd match for money, with little luck since his limited funding means a pile of debt and little else to spruce up his robot with any upgrades. To compound the problem, he gets to hook up with his 11 year old son Max (Dakota Goyo) he never knew, and forms a testy relationship fueled by stubbornness from both parties, which you know will turn for the better with their discovery of Atom, a sparse sparring robot they found in a junkyard.

It plays on the human themes of courage and never giving up when in pursuit of something, which of course gets translated via Atom in its many fights in the ring, designed to take plenty of hits, yet always having something extra within itself to stand up and continuing doing what it's meant to do. Through the inanimate object both father and son start to bond - Max being the convenient kid tinkerer of parts fueled by his belief and idealism, and Charlie bringing experience in fighting to the table, both becoming partners as they take on whatever gigs that come their way, until an outburst by Max meant a shot at the world title against the incumbent champion Zeus, funded by what seemed to be Russian money and Japanese expertise, a plot development you'll see coming very expectedly.

Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo share a wonderful chemistry together that worked wonders for the film, and especially Dakota for his ability to come off quite naturally without being in awe of his more illustrious co-star. Jackman continues to build his filmography with appealing, alpha-male type characters that never cease to put a wrong foot in, having the honour of being trained by the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard to prepare for his role as a boxer. Evangeline Lily plays Charlie's girlfriend and the daughter of Charlie's trainer in his days of being a boxer, and Anthony Mackie was severely under-utilized as a bout organizer and punter. Subplots involving a custody battle, and gangsters to whom Charlie owed money to were quite unnecessary, if not to pause the film a little to fill in the space between the robot fights.

The designs of the robots were definitely the highlight of the film, with names mirroring the ability the robots possess, and the animatronics were top notch naturally, with motion capture employed to detail the bouts. Plenty of thought went into the mechanics of the machines, from wireless control panels to components unique to each robot thanks to cannibalizing of others. Unique to Atom is its shadowing ability, since its built as a sparring bot, heavy set to allow for plenty of punishment, and like a sparring partner can mirror one's exact movements, which presents an angle of argument that machines that have that human touch, is probably blessed with the best of both worlds. I won't be surprised if Atom will get inducted into the annals of great cinematic robots one day for its endearing exploits in Real Steel.

Artificial intelligence versus human intelligence, awareness and experience is something that recurs in each of the featured battles, and in the real world, this challenge is something that continues to intrigue researchers to one day play God and create something that can mimic our human mind and decision making close enough. From defeating world champions in chess and Jeopardy participants, no doubt the computer on board can defeat a human opponent, but as far as I'm aware this competitive advantage has not reached a more physical arena, at least not yet to the level as shown in this film, but it will be intriguing if one day we do get there.

A glaring plot point I cannot reconcile will involve the super-robot Zeus which was touted to be the best of breed with being autonomous in learning from mistakes and from its opponents in real time. Alas we don't see much of those, if at all, in the film taking effect, which makes it a severe system flaw in failure of execution, or the usual marketing talk in building up hype, which is common in the real world. Which serves to explain that while machines can perform rote functions perfectly, humans will still always have the upperhand with creativity and innovativeness almost always worked into our solutions.

But don't let that detract you from this entertaining crowd pleaser coming from director Shawn Levy who knows a thing or two about crafting broad based films that appeal, even if it does follow a repackaged formula - tell me if you don't see similarities with Sylvester Stallone's Over The Top about a father and son, and in the competitive arena of arm wrestling - exploiting the popularity of robots in film in recent years.
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Feel Good, Fun Movie !
quarterwave-271-90746920 January 2012
I wasn't expecting much when I saw this movie - and I'm not really a fan of movies where kid's are the lead - but, I was pleasantly surprised with this one.

Even though this was a "formula / underdog" type of movie, it had me cheering for Atom, Hugh Jackman was great and so were the cast of characters.

The CGI was excellent, I really connected to the characters, and it was just a fun, guilty-pleasure (c'mon, boxing robots - who DOESN'T want that !) type of movie.

Not quite "A Space Odyssey:2000" but then again, it's not supposed to be.


Recommended !
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Rocky with Robots
whitejra122 March 2020
This movie was quite entertaining. It's a bit strange because of the fact that robots fight instead of humans. With that said, the robots are perfectly anthropomorphized so you feel like they are men.

But the special effects are robot fighting are only worth about a 6/10. Hugh Jackman's struggle to be a good father is actually well-acted out, both by him and the kid. The heroine role is also acted out well by a very beautiful woman.

This is not a perfect movie, but it captures many human emotions and seems to be a good movie for family-oriented people to flock around for an emotional, Rocky-like romp.
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How can you not like this movie
jester-4479314 January 2021
Great film and the bits where the main character connects with his son were very touching against the backdrop of him rediscovering his love for fighting! Jackman plays the part well and the boy manages to not being an annoying stereotype kid!
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I am against Corny/Cheesy Actors
NelsonJoshAlden13 July 2012
I had low expectations and I am sure many people did so too, however I did rather quite enjoy the movie for various factors in which I will List: Every scene had purpose - No pointless scenes which have no impact on the audience. The Ending - Original and Motivating, showed it had a moral to the story (If you watched the movie, you would know)

HOWEVER, unfortunately the kid put me off immensely. I appreciate his confidence in acting but his screaming and his cheesy lines were just off putting. I also noticed that his technological understanding was ridiculously high, which is rather unrealistic...And that is an understatement.

That being said, I can sense a 'Real Steel 2' and would hope it turns out as good as this first one. Sequels are very hard to perfect especially for this movie, but I digress.

This movie is worth watching and if you plan on watching it, be sure to prepare your tissues.
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Impressive CGI and Poor Story
claudio_carvalho21 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
In 2020, boxing is no longer fought by humans that have been replaced by robots. The former boxer Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) drives his truck to promote fights with his robot Ambush. When he has just lost a fight, he is summoned to a hearing and forced to take care of his unknown eleven year-old son Max Kenton (Dakota Goyo) since his mother has passed away.

Charlie loses another fight with the Noisy Boy robot that his girlfriend Bailey Tallet (Evangeline Lilly) has just bought and he goes with Max to a junkyard to collect part of robots to build a new one. However, Max finds an old sparring robot named Atom and Charlie teaches him how to fight box. Atom becomes a winner and Max and Charlie becomes closer to each other. However Charlie has an agreement to deliver Max to his aunt and her wealthy husband.

"Real Steel" is a film with an impressive CGI but a poor story. The idea of using robots to box is uninteresting and silly, and the relationship of the annoying Max and Charlie is strictly a business and never a father and son love. My vote is five.

Title (Brazil): "Gigantes de Aço" ("Giants of Steel")
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Charlie is a douche, kid is annoying, robot fighting cool
SnoopyStyle30 November 2013
Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a loser in robot fighting. His robots are old out of date junkers. His showboating costs him his last robot. When his kid's mother die, he's left with the kid. Not only does he want to abandon the kid, he blackmails the kid's aunt (Hope Davis)'s rich husband (James Rebhorn) holding the kid hostage. Ladies, he's a real keeper.

My biggest complaint is that Charlie is a huge douche. Why do they have to go big douche? He could be a loser without being such a horrible douche. He's a douche. Why would I root for a douche?

Bailey Tallet (Evangeline Lilly) is hot for Charlie. She lets him stay in her gym. The kid (Dakota Goyo) is real mouthy. When he's told his father sold him to his aunt, the big thing he wants is his cut, half of the money. Neither of them are that likable.

I guess the point is they grow together. But I lose interest in these characters pretty quickly. I do like the robots thought. Robot fighting is kinda cool. Other than that, there's nothing much to watch this for.
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Great fun for me and my son
simon-2873922 January 2016
My son can't get enough of Real Steel, and I found it very entertaining throughout the whole movie. Its not the worlds best movie at anything, but I feel is a good solid effort that really has given me and my son plenty to talk about and have fun with. It reveals whats right and wrong with humans, plus gives give us great realistic action along the way.

The characters give us a great mix to love and hate and are played really well, along with some very cool robots that seem to come alive in their fights whilst you don't notice the cgi work.

Because my son loves it, I get plenty of satisfaction from this. It certainly sits a top of our DVD pile for replaying often.
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Great movie, good story. Who doesn't like fighting robots??
gremlins-haunt-my-house27 September 2011
We saw an advanced screening on Sept 22. I thought it was going to be another one of those cheesy, campy, not really believable, warm fuzzy, type of underdog/rags to riches movies. I was actually surprised. It had some great plot twists, it had a real story line. And while yes, there is some language sprinkled throughout, it did make a good family movie for older kids, 10+ (my opinion). The ending wasn't quite what I was expecting, but looking back I think I liked it better for that. Who wants an ending they can see coming the entire movie?

It had some great comedy moments. The relationships between the actors felt genuine and not overdone or forced.

The robot animatronics was good. The robots themselves were fun and imaginative and definitely made me wish we really had this sport. I would so be there!
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"You know you're talking to a robot."
classicsoncall8 January 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I'll go out on a limb here and guess that the first time the idea of boxing robots was put to film was the fourth season Twilight Zone episode titled 'Steel', which aired on October 4th, 1963. Lee Marvin starred in that one, and when his mechanical fighter broke down against an opponent by losing it's left arm, Marvin's character put on a metal suit to enter the ring. I won't give away the ending, but if you think man vs. machine, you might guess the outcome.

So this story brings the concept into the present day, and although it's kind of interesting, I couldn't help but feel the whole thing was rather surreal, what with enthusiastic crowds cheering on machines pounding the crap out of each other. Why would that really matter to anybody? The main event between Atom and World Robot Boxing Champion Zeus brings the surrealism to yet another level, with sports reporters from ESPN waxing philosophically about the stakes involved in such a highly publicized and anticipated event. If robot boxing suddenly became a real entertainment spectacle today, I have to wonder how many fans would actually get behind it. To be sure there would be some, but it seems to me it would be experienced more as an underground sort of event than on the mass scale presented here.

With echoes of 1931's "The Champ" and 1976's "Rocky", the film relates the dynamic between a father (Hugh Jackman) and his estranged son (Dakota Goyo) who come together under stressful circumstances, and begin to grow close together due to their fascination with and love of robot boxing. What's astonishing to witness in the picture is the amazing dexterity and ability of the mechanical fighters, as the special effects utilized make them all appear to be almost human in their movements. A whole lot better at least than the tin can fighters first seen on screen a half century ago when Rod Serling came up with his story. Speaking of which, the robot boxer that Lee Marvin managed was called 'Battling Maxo'. Any chance Charlie Kenton's son was named Max just coincidence?
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george_jozwiak8 October 2011
Any movie that gets the audience involved in a positive way and leaving cheering is an excellent movie. It is like Rocky on adrenaline and with a whole lot better acting. Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly and Dakota Goyo all have great performances. Dakota who plays the son really makes the movie, but all the actors performances are great. The guy who thought it boring... well, you lack passion and your soul must be dead. Real Steel is the absolutely hands down best movie I have seen in a long time. You will cheer, cry, laugh and be thoroughly entertained. I had to sit and watched the credits at the end just to catch my breath. Great movie.
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Badly Clichéd and PG
pc9511 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Real Steel" starring Hugh Jackman and directed by Shawn Levy is an awful clichéd bunch of trite. It reaches into the dozen or so boxing movies in a grab bag of hackneyed and rip-off situations from much better movies. It tries to be original by throwing in robots as the boxers, but ultimately the outcome is more like a bad video game movie. The one where the story gets washed away by unintelligent and patronizing dialog. Hugh Jackman instills some needed energy, and the sci-fi concept has some merit, but the PG script and storyline is steaming turd. An "R" rating, adult script, and tossing out the whole father/son mush would've sharpened the movie some. The music is gawd-awful and brainless with a mix or rock, rap, and cheesy dramatic interludes from a soap-opera, and the romance is perfunctory. Overall bad - not recommended
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Great Movie. Perfect Match of emotions, Robo-fight(very Importantly not over done) and some comic scenes.
avinashbhan9 October 2011
I had been waiting to see this movie for a long time, saw it today and it was worth all the wait.

The move has a perfect blend of emotions, Robo-fight(very Importantly not over done) and some comic scenes, what else do you want?

For me the robot fighting was great. Have been following Huge Jackman's movies off late and all have them have been good including this one. But apart from all of that the movie has an embedded message that there are things that sometimes you can not handle or overlook when you have other priorities but you can always make things right, it may be hard but it can be done.

The kid Dakota Goyo did a good job as well.

So I would say go out there and see the movie, worth every penny that you will spend for the ticket.
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A lot of fun
tr9126 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Set in the near future, Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a former boxer with an interest in robot boxing. He is struggling for cash and will seemingly give anything to get a robot good enough to raise some funds. Charlie discovers that he has an 11 year old son (Max played superbly by Dakota Goya) but he is not really interested in getting to know him.

He signs custody over to the boy's aunt in exchange for cash but Charlie and his son have to spend at least one summer together. They don't get on very well together until Max shows an interest in the Robots. It is a very nice father & son development story and as the film progresses I began to like the characters more and more.

The film overall is very entertaining and unique in its own way, it has awesome special effects & the robots all look superb and have cool names. The fighting techniques of the robots are excellent including voice recognition and the ability to copy human movement.

The film is very uplifting and has some great character development after a rocky start to their relationships. It is is good, imaginative family fun that boasts an excellent soundtrack to go with the craziness.

9/10 and straight in to my top 10 of 2011.
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A Spielbergian movie with a lot of heart
Happy_Evil_Dude7 October 2011
Most of the time, if a film director hits the big time, it's usually that one of his films, early on in his career, has made a huge smash and given him status and power. This is the case for people like Spielberg, Lucas, Coppola, Shyamalan, Cameron, etc... However, if there's one director that has been steadily moving up the ranks of the Hollywood over the past ten years or so, starting out small and tackling on bigger, more ambitious and more prestigious projects as he goes on, it's definitely Canadian filmmaker Shawn Levy.

The man started out directing episodes of Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows such as Animorphs or The Famous Jett Jackson in the late nineties, moved on to directing kids from those types of shows in their big screen efforts, such as Big Fat Liar and Cheaper By The Dozen and used the success of these films to bag ever more prestigious comedies, from The Pink Panther remake to Night At The Museum to Date Night. And while critics have mocked him and dismissed him, calling him an untalented hack, he has now graduated to a big, science-fiction blockbuster produced by Steven Spielberg himself, Real Steel.

Like a couple of other recent sci-fi releases, I Am Legend and The Box, Real Steel is based on a story by celebrated genre writer Richard Matheson. Well it is actually loosely based, or as the credits put it "partly based" on it. Indeed, Real Steel basically only retains the fact that robot boxers have replaced human boxers in the future from Matheson's story, which is probably a good thing as its twist ending is now so widely known.

Real Steel takes place in the very near future, barely ten years from now. Not much is different other than the fact that robot boxing is one of the most popular sports in the world and the phones, computers & co are much more advanced. Charlie Kenton, played by Hugh Jackman, is a former boxer turned small-time "robot trainer". Constantly in debt, he tours the US in his truck, looking for fairs where he can have his robot fight for cash. Things get complicated for him when the son he never cared about enters his life, finds an old robot in a scrap-heap and decides to have him fight.

Earlier this year, media outlets all over made a big fuss about the fact that Steven Spielberg had produced Super 8, which in their mind made Super 8 as much a Spielberg film as a JJ Abrams film. For some reason no such fuss has been made about the three other films Spielberg personally produced this year, be it Transformers 3, Cowboys & Aliens or Real Steel. Interestingly though, Real Steel is just as Spielbergian as Super 8, if not more. At the world premiere of the film in Paris, Hugh Jackman told us how the film was about a son and his father, and how the young Dakota Goyo is the heart of this film. I initially scoffed at this but when the film ended a couple of hours later I knew he was speaking the truth. The science-fiction robot ass-kicking element of the film is just a sheen under which the real subject shines through: the relationship between a father and his son.

Real Steel is actually a sports movie. The fact that it is about boxing robots is essentially irrelevant and simply serves to give it an identity and a cool factor. It could have been about human boxing, football, baseball, car racing, whatever, and the story wouldn't have changed, which is in my mind one of the film's big strengths. The story of Real Steel isn't particularly original, but it is instead a classic story, that speaks to our primal emotions as human beings. It is a David vs Goliath story that had the packed theater cheering, clapping and reacting like I've seldom seen a movie audience react.

The film is beautiful to look at, the fights are cool and the acting is of high caliber. Danny Elfman's music is effective but not particularly original and will remind you partly of his "emotion theme" for The Kingdom and partly of every sports movie music ever made. The rest of the music is mostly comprised of Eminem songs, apparently the most popular singer in the future. Contrarily to what another reviewer here said, I found the ending to be realistic and hugely satisfying.

The big difference between Super 8 and Real Steel is that while Super 8 is perhaps more enjoyable "in the moment" due to it being more high concept and having more stuff going on all the time, like everything JJ Abrams does it seems to lack in something and is somewhat forgettable. Real Steel, despite featuring many cold, metal robots, as a warm, beating heart at its core and for that I say: well done, Shawn Levy, well done.
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