95: Real Steel (I really did watch it)

Real Steel – October 7, 2011
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Dakota Goyo
Written by: Shawn Levy
Directed by: John Gatins

The plot: “Set in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport, a struggling promoter feels he’s found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father.” – IMDB (I have to say that this description is kind of shit. His kid feels like he’s found a champion and his father only agrees after he wins a few fights.)

My thoughts: So I watched Real Steel last night, much to my surprised as I remember seeing the trailer in the theater and saying “I’ll not be seeing a movie about Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” and yet there I was last night, watching Hugh Jackman virtually box for a robot.

So basically, Hugh (I’m only going to call him Hugh, not his character name) is not a good dad. The woman who gave birth to his son dies which makes him the next of kin. However, the mom’s sister really wants the kid and Hugh really needs some money (because he has to be kind of down and out and learn a lesson from the kid and all that), so much so that Hugh sells him to the kid’s uncle for 100,000 dollars. The catch is, Hugh has to keep him for the summer so the hoity toity new parents can go to Italy.

But of course, the kid is cool and after some grumbling and obvious points about how the kid and Hugh are so similar, they fix up an old sparring ‘bot and – hold on, I’m not sure you’re gonna believe this – they start winning! And on their first professional fight (in a huge ass arena) this smug little kid runs up, grabs the mic, and challenges the apparent God of robot fighting to a battle. Let me just say, he was spittin’ some whack shit.

And then Hugh Jackman gets the shit beat out of him (but not really because it’s a kid’s movie. They make sure to tell us that it’s “within an inch of his life” though, just so we understand how bad it was supposed to be.) So he makes an adult decision and brings him back to his new parents as people wish to beat him up on the reg, it seems. But then he goes back to Evangeline Lilly (who surprisingly isn’t annoying) and they smash their lips together and he realizes he made a mistake in giving the kid up a second time.

I want to mention one thing: this kid and his robot? They dance. And even though everyone in the movie is like “Oh damn! That kid and his robot got mooooves!” They don’t. I assure you. He is an 11-year-old who has no rhythm and no ability to groove in any capacity. I suffered major second-hand embarrassment every time he started dancing. I guess I shouldn’t be so critical of an 11-year-old who was hired to act, not to dance.

For being a movie about boxing robots and family stuff, it could’ve been worse. I can’t help but like Hugh Jackman as well as his muscles that have muscles. The robots were kind of cool, the backstory was believable (though the way they told us was a bit exposition-y. Kid’s movie, Kaitie. It’s a movie for kids.) and it…it had heart.

Stars: 2.5/5


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