Written by / 10/07/2011 / No comments / , , ,

REAL STEEL

title: REAL STEEL
year: 2011
cast: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, James Rebhorn
rating: **

Upon seeing the trailer, people old enough instantly thought of the classic game ROCK ‘EM SOCK ‘EM ROBOTS, but this film, inspired by a Richard Matheson penned TWILIGHT ZONE, is more like THE TRANSFORMERS meets OVER THE TOP. Hugh Jackman plays an ex boxer who, in a near-distant future, trains robots to fight. He’s a loser and a scoundrel and, after being saddled with his son for three months, they discover the remains of a sparring bot that becomes their diamond in the rough, and a possible way to make money. But only the kid sees the potential in "Atom" who, resembling THE IRON GIANT and with a human quality of fear, has a few successful bouts leading to the big event with the formidable, corporate-backed ZEUS. On paper, this sounds like an exciting flick with a lotta punch, but the action takes a back seat to overlong scenes involving Jackman and his kid traveling around misunderstanding each other. But it’s when our grizzled human hero switches the steely palooka from remote control to shadow mode… thus using his own skills as a boxer to try winning the big fight… that the audience has reason to cheer. Mirroring ROCKY's underdog overcoming the odds template, this lacks the training and passion that goes into turning a pile of scrap into a champion. For the most part, the climb to the top seems much too easy.
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