Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Real Steel (2011)

Real Steel
As promised in my Flight write-up last week when talking about John Gatins, here is my review of Real Steel. Writer John Gatins followed up Real Steel with Flight, and his next movie will be Need for Speed which comes out next month. Director Shawn Levy got his start in TV and now mostly makes typical Hollywood fare like Night at the Museum, Date Night, and The Internship.
Although Real Steel is billed as being an adaptation of the Richard Matheson short story "Steel," I doubt it has much in common with it. I've never read the original story but I've seen the Twilight Zone version which is also titled Steel. The only similarity between the two is that they feature robots and boxing.
I didn't expect much coming into Real Steel, but was pleasantly surprised with a solid family film. Real Steel takes place in the near future where boxers have been replaced with robots. Former boxer Charlie (played by Hugh Jackman who puts in a nice performance) now uses robots to fight for him but has had bad luck and is now in a lot of debt. Charlie discovers that he has an 11 year old son and the two bond while working together on turning a robot found in the scrap heap into a champion.
Real Steel clocks in at 127 minutes which is too long for this type of movie. Several scenes went on too long and could've easily been trimmed. I've had this complaint about a decent amount of recent movies. I don't have a problem with long Hollywood blockbusters if they deserve their running time, but most movies that have followed this trend (such as Real Steel) usually do not.
Real Steel
is basically Rocky with robots but at least this movie has heart and emotion, unlike the live action Transformers movies. Although Real Steel is predictable, it's still well executed for what it is (an action family movie for all ages) and the cinematography is better than expected. The visual effects are quite good and received an Oscar nomination before losing out to Hugo.

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