real-steelA cute kid, Hugh Jackman, and robots that look and act as cool as anything Transformers ever gave us.

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly and Dakota Goyo
Director: Shawn Levy
Writers: John Gratisk (screenplay), Dan Gilroy and Jeremy Leven (story)
Running time: 127 minutes
Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action and brief language.

A cute kid, Hugh Jackman, and robots that look and act as cool as anything Transformers ever gave us. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a fun, action filled, family, flick. Real Steel could have gone either way and I have to admit I was a little on guard going in. Maybe I am jaded due to the over hype and non delivery of what we get each summer. I wanted to like this movie and luckily the film makers gave me all I could ask for.

It is eight years into the future. Hugh Jackman stars as Charlie Kenton. He’s an ex-boxer trying to make a go at it as a promoter in a world where robots have replaced human beings in the ring. He is unstable, unlucky and always looking for the next big score. When he finds out he has an 11-year-old son named Max (Dakota Goyo) that will be staying with him during the summer he really has some lifestyle adjustments to deal with. Together they build a sparring robot that might be their ticket to the big leagues. And of course they discover that what they actually need is each other.

This film could have gone the hokey route of emotional manipulation and lack luster action. Instead it makes it all about the robots and how very cool they are. Oh, and along the way here is very sweet and touching father and son story. This keeps the excitement, humor, and visual stimulation high while still allowing you to gravitate and truly care for the characters. It has something for all age groups. The main force behind the robots success is an 11-year-old. This immediately draws in the tweens and young high-schoolers. You have the on screen dynamic and charisma of Hugh Jackman for the women in the audience. Then the guys get these incredible fighting machines with story lines that take you back to the early Rocky films you saw as a kid.

Real Steel is rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action and brief language. The violence is mainly focused around the robots which eliminates the blood and bruising. The action as well all takes place in the boxing arena making it more for sport than just anger outbursts. The main thing parents need to be cautioned about is the language. Though it never gives more than very mild expletives, they happen frequently. Max even lets a few four letter words slip. Again this plays more to his current upbringing and it isn’t for shock value and never feels gratuitous. Just be forewarned that it is there. I think it is safe to call this a refreshingly sweet film that will appeal to and please most everyone. I give it a strong 4.5 out of 5 combination punch. Far better than most action films I have seen the past two summers. Fall is becoming my new favorite movie season.

Matt Mungle


Review copyright 2011 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.