“Real Steel” is directed by Shawn Levy, who had previously directed “Big Fat Liar”, “Cheaper By the Dozen” & the “Night at the Museum” trilogy. The film stars Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lily, Anthony Mackie, Olga Fonda & Karl Yune. The film based on the short story “Steel” by Richard Matheson who based on a 1956 edition of “The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction” which was then later adapted into a 1963 episode of “The Twilight Zone”.
In the year 2020, boxing has turned into bot fighting, replacing humans with robots. Former professional boxer, Charlie Kenton (Jackman) and his robot, Ambush, are defeated and humiliated by an old boxing rival of Kenton and chased out of town. Kenton is then summoned to a Texas court where he agrees to meet his estranged 12 year old son, Max (Goyo). After Charlie loses yet another robot, he and Max are searching through a junkyard to find anything to fix the 2 destroyed robots. Max stumbles across Atom, an older robot model that re-engineers into fighting bot with the boxing skills of Charlie. With Atom, Max & Charlie begin their journey to the top of the robot rankings gaining money and fame but also the attention of World Robot Boxing promoter, Farra Lemkova (Fonda) and the reigning WRB Champion, Zeus and his owner, Tak Mashido (Yune).
This was actually a pretty solid action film. The “Transformers” trilogy had come out and really set the standard for this type of CGI and action but this film was more of an intimate story based on the relationship between father and son. Jackman and Goyo are great together and really carry the emotions throughout the movie. The robot storyline is kind of cliche and predictable, very similar to a standard underdog story but quite entertaining. The visuals were solid and the designs of each individual robot is unique and different. From the ominous and intimidating champion, Zeus, to the smaller yet childlike appearance of Atom, the robot have there own styles of fighting and expressions. But apparently after the “Transformers” had already made their live action debut, the visuals weren’t as impressive.
Overall, this was an entertaining movie with some cliches plot points but solid visuals. Having already being a big star with films like “Van Helsing”, “Swordfish” as well as his iconic “Wolverine” character in the X-Men franchise, Hugh Jackman changed it up after this movie and went the broadway route. In 2013, he received his first Academy Award nomination for his role in the musical film, “Les Miserables”. While Dakota Goyo hadn’t been in anything else since this film and animated films, he still appeared in movies such as “Thor” & “Noah”. Evangeline Lily got here big break in 2008’s “The Hurt Locker” and after this film she appeared in the last 2 “Hobbit” before breaking in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2015 as “Hope Van Dyne” a.k.a “The Wasp” in the 2 “Ant-Man” films as well as 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame”. Following Lily, Anthony Mackie also appeared in “The Hurt Locker” and also followed “Real Steel” with his debut in the MCU in 2014 as “Sam Wilson” a.k.a “The Falcon”. Mackie’s character appeared in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” & “Captain America: Civil War” as well as “Avengers: Infinity War” & “Avengers: Endgame”.