REAL STEEL (2011) **1/2 D: Shawn Levy. Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Hope Davis, Dakota Goyo.
When I first saw the trailer for this film I immediately dubbed it "Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots-The Movie." I mean after all "Battleship" is being made into a movie.
Unlike the game, the novelty of this film doesn't wear off quickly. Unfortunately, despite the solid visual effects and decent acting the film is cliched and predictable to the core.
In the near future it is determined that boxing needed something more. Since men fighting mano-a-mano can only go so far, remote controlled robots were introduced to give the sport that added spark the humans couldn't provide. Now under the control of their users the robots fight in the ring, crushing, ripping and destroying each other until only one is left standing.
Hugh Jackman is a trainer who is deep in debt, down on his luck and always on the look out for the big score. He finds himself caring for his son and takes him on the road with him. The film doesn't miss one predictable beat as the two while at odds grow to love each other, how the boy shows the man what's most important in life, not to mention how the two rise from obscurity to the championship match.
The visual effects are excellent. However, visually the fighting sequences are cool but not very engaging nor is there a sense of danger. After all, these are just robots. During one fight, I was amused to the point of laughing how the staging of one fight resembled the first 3 rounds of the Balboa/Drago fight in Rocky IV.
When I saw the trailer for "Warrior" I thought it was just a MMA movie. It turns out there was more to that film then advertised and it turned out to be one of the best films of the year. With "Real Steel" there is more to the movie then just the fights, it's just that all the drama between the matches you've seen before.
It's passable entertainment but really amounts to nothing special in the end.