Lara’s Real Steel Review

26 Sep

A movie based loosely off of a toy that is based off of an episode of “The Twilight Zone” that is based off of a short story. This is the time we live in. But, fret not! For all of these mediums revolve around fighting robots! How can you lose? I mean, surely a movie that is about robots kicking each other’s brasses must be ludicrously fun, right? Those are the types of adjectives that came to my mind when I got a pass to an early screening of Real Steel: “ludicrous” and “fun.” I had no idea that a movie with such a subject matter could be so sentimental… and boring.

Hugh Jackass—err—Jackman (I actually really like the guy, but in this case the nickname is totally fitting) plays Charlie Kenton: former humanoid boxer, current robot-boxer owner, and all around asshole. Charlie’s life of alcoholism and gambling and, of course, bot fighting, is disturbed when he finds out that the mother of his estranged son, Max (Dakota Goyo), has died. Being such a sleazebag, Charlie tries to pawn the kid off to his closest rich relatives, who offer to buy Max, as long as Charlie can take him for the summer while they do Rich People Things. Begrudgingly, Charlie takes his son along with his much-needed $50,000, which, in the future, is enough to purchase a massive android. Despite his insistence that Max stay with Bailey (a surprisingly not obnoxious Evangeline Lilly), Charlie’s former fling, daughter of his late boxing trainer, Max cunningly works his way into going on the road with his pop to help him battle his bot. Mind you, it never states how long it has been since father and son last saw each other—if ever. But that doesn’t matter, for the only thing the viewer really needs to know, after all, is that they obviously loathe each other.

Then some arguments and robot devastations ensue. Lil Kenton wants Big Kenton to use Atom, an old sparring bot that he found in a junkyard, but Big Kenton thinks it’s a bad idea until he realizes that Atom can mimic Lil Kenton’s dance moves. Oh and supposedly Atom is supposed to evoke sentiment, though he has less charisma than Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still. It’s all completely unsubstantiated. There are battles and robots doing Bieberesque dancing, which sounds fun, but in actuality was just embarrassing, tear-filled lines like, “I just wanted you to fight for MEEEE!”, a challenge by an uptight Russian heiress and her Japanese, robot-building prodigy, and now Big Kenton and Lil Kenton LOVE each other. Seem abrupt? That’s the movie. Hugh Jackman’s character goes from being a total nogoodnik to, well, Hugh Jackman: a tender-hearted beefcake. But maybe the future is like that, I mean—supposedly within the next 16 years we’re going to ban human sparring and let man-made machines duke it out for us, things might start changing much more rapidly and without much explanation very soon.

And that takes me to:


  • Phones are slightly different! Still the same size and with similar functions, but some of them are clear and have the image of who you’re talking to on THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR PHONE. So everyone who looks at you can know that you’re talking to your ex…
  • Giant robots can be bought for $50,000. And apparently there has been no inflation.
  • Despite the fact that customarily they change fairly often, the labels and vessels for most every company will remain the same over the next 16 years. Dr. Pepper, Budweiser, ESPN, Bing, Shiner, HP, Nokia—you name it and the logo looks exactly the same—for your comfort.
  • Sports spectators look like they’re out of a video game. They raise both arms in the air and pump their fists without discretion like bystanders from Mortal Kombat.
  • Kids being smart-asses who know too much for their own good and talk down to adults still pass as having a personality.
  • Americans are better with technology than Japanese people. Finally!
  • Unfortunately, even in the future Eminem is still popular. His shrill voice along with non-descript bass pumping can be found in almost any robot-boxing arena. And you thought we’d have wised up by then.
  • People do not fight for themselves anymore. But this brings up so many questions: Do robots fight our wars? Run for office? Are there other robot sports? Please, God, can the sequel be about robot basketball? Sadly, the movie fails to give light to these critical quandaries.

Maybe I’m being too hard on Real Steel. After all, I’d much rather people love it (and oh my, mass America will), than its counterpart Transformers. The worst thing Real Steel has going for it is the over emotional dialogue and story, Danny Elfman’s most atrocious score of his career, and the fact that it is a billboard of a movie. I know the same Optimus Prime loving crowd is going to go see this latest installment in CG metal fights, and at least they won’t be filling their minds with sexist images and blatant stereotyping (I mean besides the stupid hick, the Japanese genius, and the Russian stiff). This is the way I see it:


+     family values

+     even more product placement

–       subjection of women

–      excessive patriotism                                       

        Real Steel

Not a terrible equation. And, as always, I found myself liking Hugh Jackman. That guy. It doesn’t matter than he’s been in more crap movies than good ones; he’s just so damn charming. Real Steel finds itself somewhere in the middle of the awesomeness of the first two X-Men movies and the heinousness of X-Men: Wolverine. It was fun, but it played up the father/son relationship way too much. It most definitely didn’t have “more heart than Toy Story 3,” as some random guy was telling the movie pollers as we left the theater. Ugh. I hate that guy. I wanted to hire a robot to sock him in the mouth. Well, I only have to wait a few more years.

Surprised those robots didn’t rust from all the saccharine,



One Response to “Lara’s Real Steel Review”

  1. Jeff October 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Yeah looks pretty bad. This review may be the best thing about it all. Funny stuff

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