Thursday, October 6, 2011
Real Steel Not Really About Battling Robots
Humans the Best Part of “Real Steel”
Would you play good money to watch robots box?
That questioned bugged me when contemplating whether or not to go to an advance screening of “Real Steel.” Since the screening was conveniently at the Cinemark Palace in Boca Raton, I thought OK, I’ll bite.
As it turns out, I enjoyed “Real Steel” more than expected. I am no fan of boxing or the Transformers movie series about giant fighting robots, but “Real Steel” has a more human component to it, thanks largely to the performances of Hugh Jackman as a has-been boxer and fight promoter and Dakota Goyo as his 11-year-old adoring son.
The screenplay was inspired by a 1956 short story by noted science-fiction writer Richard Matheson.
Charlie Kenton (Jackman) is in desperate straits when we meet him. He has borrowed money from everyone he knows, including shady characters who vow to extract their pound of flesh. His ex-wife (Hope Davis) has married a rich, obnoxious older guy (James Rebhorn) who plans an expended honeymoon in Europe.
That leaves Max Kenton, (Goyo) in the lurch. The older man takes Charlie in confidence and says he will give him $50,000 up front and another $50,000 on their return if Charlie will take Max, the son he abandoned not long after his birth, off their hands.
In a plot that much resembles “The Champ,” father and son
build a relationship while Charlie tries to rebuild his career with an obsolete old robot called Atom.
The computer-generated robot action looks pretty convincing, but it is the father and son stuff that give this otherwise silly movie its warm appeal.