Real Steel

Hugh Jackman stars in an underdog boxing story with a cybernetic twist

Real Steel

(C) DreamWorks II Distribution Co. LLC All Rights Reserved.

Directors: Shawn Levy
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly
Time Out rating:

Right now, across the globe, a legion of film critics is furiously trying to figure out the best way to fuse the words ‘robot’ and ‘Rocky’: will it be ‘Rockybot’? ‘Robocky’? ‘Steelvester Steelone’? Yes, the underdog boxing story gets a cybernetic twist with Real Steel, a loud, silly, shamefully enjoyable rust-to-riches tale of the futuristic Worldwide Robot Boxing league, where 20-foot metal behemoths slug it out to the delight of baying, human crowds. When we first meet rough diamond Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), he’s down on his luck. His latest prize robot has just been flattened by a rampaging bull, there are loan sharks after his head and what’s worse, he’s been tasked with taking care of the son he never wanted: tousle-headed ten-year-old Max (Dakota Goyo). Of course, it’s not long before this mismatched pair find a discarded, outmoded Gen 2 robot in a trash pile, clean him up, train him and take him back out on the road...

As the likes of Night at the Museum proved, originality is not one of director Shawn Levy’s big strengths: if you’ve seen Rocky, Lassie, Kramer vs Kramer and Transformers, you’ve seen Real Steel. But there’s nothing wrong with an old story if it’s well told, and Real Steel is both smart and slick, spicing up its familiar storyline with likeable characters, thunderous action sequences and a nice line in breezy, country-fried shitkicker humour. Jackman is pure roughneck charm in the lead, and his young foil, Goyo, walks the fine line between slappably cocky and lovably irreverent with absolute confidence. The result is a film which, like its pugilistic protagonists, is big, noisy, unsubtle and a little rusty around the edges. But it’s also satisfyingly sturdy and no-nonsense, a multiplex monster smartly constructed from tried-and-trusted parts.

Real Steel opens nationwide on December 9

By Tom Huddleston
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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