Futuristic and feel-good, but a bit cliché

Photo from Creative Commons.

“Real Steel,” directed by Shawn Levy, hit theaters nationwide on Oct. 7 and made $27 million in its opening weekend. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, this film is an action thriller that’s fun for all ages.

Set in the year 2020, this film follows Charlie Kenton, played by Hugh Jackman, a boxer who was forced into retirement after professional boxing eradicated humans and evolved into robot boxing. Robot boxing became the new favorite of boxing audiences because there was more action, and each fight can potentially be a fight to the death, something that human boxing never had.

The film begins with Charlie, who is in major debt after making too many large bets in fights too big for his robots to handle. In the film, Charlie destroys two heavy-hitting and expensive robots after betting money on fights where he is the obvious underdog. Soon, Charlie learns that his old girlfriend passed away and his son, a witty 11-year-old boy he hasn’t seen since his birth, is now under his watch, unless he signs custody over to the boy’s aunt and her wealthy husband.

Screenshot from the movie "Real Steel." Photo from Creative Commons.

After an especially difficult fight, where Kenton loses his $45,000 fighting robot, Kenton and his son Max, played by Dakota Goyo, break into an old robot junkyard looking for spare robot parts. This is where Max finds Atom, an older generation of fighting robots with a rare shadow function. Max spends the night digging Atom out of the muddy junkyard, fixing him, powering him up and cleaning him. By the next day, Max has big dreams for the little robot. Against Kenton’s advice, Max chooses to enter Atom in a fight and the robot from the junkyard starts his journey to becoming the most famous robot in the world of robot boxing.

This movie is a feel-good film all around. The relationship between Charlie and Max is a struggle throughout the entire movie because both characters are bold and stubborn, but in the end it ends up being a story of father-son redemption. They may butt heads a lot, but there are also a lot of heartwarming moments between the duo that give the audience hope for the two and their little robot that could — well, could take a punch, that is. However, this movie would be nothing without Max, the kid who never gave up. Though cliché, as many would claim this film is, his faith gives the audience faith.

Screenshot from the movie "Real Steel." Photo from Creative Commons.

The technological aspect of this movie is very impressive as well; it isn’t overly futuristic which is a nice break from the recent film fads. There are just enough details to make it feel like it’s in the future, but there’s also enough present material to make the movie relatable so no one gets lost in the technology. The script and premise may be a little corny, but the fight scenes are fantastic.

This film is like a mixture of “Transformers” and “Rocky.” Though the sports-underdog plot is somewhat cliched, overall, “Real Steel” is a pretty good movie.

Rating: 4.5/5