This one I recommend.

Charlie Kenton (Jackman) training Atom.

Cool; good-looking.

And there we go. After recieving positive reviews from critics and gaining praise from movie-goers everywhere, Real Steel premieres in my town two months later. Why does the local theater constantly insist on showing corny, Swedish teen dramas before making room for cool, smart and well-made Hollywood movies? Who knows?

Real Steel is about boxing; not the regular kind, but the kind that uses large robots designed specifically for combat, things that will apparently exist around 2020. The film is directed by Shawn Levy who proves to be a much better action director than a comedy one. Need I mention The Pink Panther and Night At The Museum? Didn’t think so.

Based on a short story by Richard Matheson, the film follows Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) who keeps losing in robot fights and consequently owes numerous people money, including an evil cowboy named Ricky (Kevin Durand). One day, Kenton learns of the death of is former girlfriend and that he needs to go to court to decide who shall have custody of his son Max (Dakota Goyo). It is decided that his wealthy aunt Debra and uncle Marvin (Hope Davis and James Rebhorn) shall have it, but he is still asked to watch over Max for three months whilst Marvin and Debra are on vacation.

Kenton is reluctant to watch over Max at first, but is surprised to find out how good he is with all sorts of machines. After they lose some robot battles together, they find an extraoridnary robot just lying around, one that seems to actually understand what Max is saying by watching his body movements. Max names the robot Atom and as they begin to bond, Kenton and Max train Atom to becme the best of the best. Ocassionally Kenton sits down to talk to his longtime friend Bailey (Evangeline Lilly) who runs the local boxing gym.

Kenton and Max escorting Atom to the ring.

The supporting cast includes Anthony Mackie as a man who hosts more illegal fights, Karl Yune as robot boxing master Tak Mashido and Olga Fonda as an unconvincing Russian woman. The actress is Russian, yes, but it sounds as if she’s still over-doing her accent.

I’m sure the reason many of us enter the theatre is that we desire to see the special effects work on the robots that battle each other, and yes indeed, these are some impressive special effects, but what is most engaging about the whole film really is the relationship between Kenton and his son and how they learn to like each other after helping each other during many fights. The kid playing Max, Dakota Gayo, is smart, lovably tough and surprisingly quite a good actor. I’ve never heard of him but I hope to see him in another film soon.

Many scenes include lovely shots of the country side. I grew up out on the country and I’ve always thought vast fields have a certain beauty to them, especially towards nightfall.

I also enjoyed the film’s music (both the choice of songs and at times the score by Danny Elfman), the performances, the story and the aforementioned special effects. The sound design during the battles can get somewhat loud, but I didn’t mind because at least then I was unable to hear the two stupid blondes on the row behind me who were inexplicably laughing throughout the screening.

Real Steel is cool, action-packed, funny and smart. This is clearly the kind of film Shawn Levy should be working on because, again, we all know how his comedies have turned out so far. Leave Shawn alone, Ben Stiller!

And finally, since this is a Real Steel review: *insert Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots-joke here*.

4/5 whatever.

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