Real Steel (2011) – Film Review

Read our review for REAL STEEL, the new action blockbuster starring Hugh Jackman and directed by Shawn Levy, here...

Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a washed up ex pro boxer who used to be second in the world ranking but, since sports changed the rules and the audience wanted more spectacle, he’s made redundant and fighting robots have taken human places in the ring. Living out of his truck and going from fight to fight, Charlie is brought crashing down to earth when his son, Max (Dakota Goyo), who he’s never known, is left in his care – and Max isn’t happy about the situation either. Charlie funds Max’s stay with him by taking money from his wealthy Aunt Debra. Together they form a team after discovering an old bot called Atom… is this a relationship worth saving or will Charlie try and get out as soon as the money runs out?

Real Steel is not only a story about a futuristic sports phenomenon and the fighting robots, it also focuses on the relationship between Charlie and his son. Real Steel is a family film, a tag strengthened by Robert Zemeckis’s role as producer. Its story is strong and it doesn’t drag or move too quickly. The effects themselves are something to rival more complex robot films like the recent Transformers franchise.

Hugh Jackman is a great every man star as he appeals to everybody. Women love him because he is masculine and well, hunky, men appreciate him without finding him threatening and children love him because he’s Wolverine. Real Steel unsurprisingly, therefore, appeals to everybody as it features Hugh Jackman in a film about fighting robots. In his role as Charlie he is an ordinary guy who is down on his luck but manages to survive on his cheeky charm and history. He is likeable and that’s something that’s needed in this film. His relationship with his son is frosty but this is apparent in most underdog films so it’s no surprise or shock to anyone watching.

Dakota Goyo stands out as Max and Evangeline Lilly as Charlie’s best friend / love interest Bailey offer great support, but the real stand-outs are the robots themselves. Scarily human in some of their emotions (mostly Atom), you feel for them in the ring. The effects and fighting techniques are slick and smooth. It also works well with the live action sequences going on around them and not once do they look out of place.

This is a thrill ride of fun that everyone will enjoy. It has all the elements of a summer blockbuster but due to a later release is more of a winter warmer… and its smoking!


Best performance: Hugh Jackman and Atom.
Best scene: The finale.
Best line: ‘Let’s make some money!’
Watch if this if you liked: I, Robot, Transformers, X Men.

Midas’s Mohawk is a tribute to Rocky favourite Clubber Lang.

Discussion feed

Up next in movies