The only thing I knew about Real Steel going in was that is was an action movie starring Hugh Jackman and some boxing robots. As a fan of Hugh Jackman, I know he does action pretty well...and he's easy on the eyes, too! What I wasn't expecting, and I'm quoting Director Shawn Levy here, was a "robot movie with heart".
Jackman plays the part of Charlie Kenton, a rough and tough ex-boxer that lost his chance at a title when steel robots came into the ring. Down on his luck, he scrapes together old robot parts, heading from one underground fight to the next, just to get by.
In an unexpected change of events, Charlie's son Max comes into his life and he grudgingly works with him to build and train a robot to fight-- little does Charlie know that it would give him one last chance at a comeback. Interestingly, this is Jackman's first role as a father, which is really where Real Steel becomes less about action, and more about the relationship between a father and son.
Real Steel is unique in that even though the title would suggest an audience of primarily boys who love robots, and men who crave on-the-edge-of-your-seat fight scenes, it's actually relevant to the whole family. Younger audiences will instantly fall in love with Atom, the robot Charlie and Max train to be a championship contender. Watching Max connect with Atom really brought a spark of magic to the movie that both boys and girls can relate to. As the movie progresses, Charlie becomes more relatable, especially in scenes with his ex-love Bailey, played by Evangeline Lilly.
Of course, there is no shortage of action in Real Steel, and watching the robots come to life is incredible. The CGI effects are so fantastic that it is nearly impossible to identify which scenes are real robots and which are effects.
The robots in Real Steel are stars themselves and throughout the movie you start to forget that they are just robots being controlled to fight by humans. The whole movie really meshed and the interaction between man and robot felt authentic. The robot boxing concept is interesting- can you imagine robot boxers in our future? Sugar Ray Leonard, boxing legend and consultant for the film, says he would only be on board if he owned a few of the robots!
Real Steel is rated PG-13. There is some mild language thrown around by the young boy Max; while this didn't bother me as a parent, others may want to be aware. The language is warranted, and it gives you a better understanding of Max and where he came from. With all the robots and action it's actually hard to notice and I'm sure young children will be more enamored with the bots than the few choice words of the actors. Other than the robot-on-robot boxing scenes, there is one fight scene between Charlie Kenton and another character --along with his posse-- that he owes a debt to. The scene is intensified because Charlie's son Max is present and witnesses the fight. I'm writing a follow-up post with additional information that should help you decide if Real Steel is appropriate for your child. My daughter is seven, and I have no problem with her seeing it.
On press day, the producers of Real Steel wanted honest feedback from some of the moms that previewed the movie. While it was clear my spot will never be used for television or any other type of press, I still stand by my quote that Real Steal is a family movie-- there's action and drama for the dads, the kids will fall for Atom the robot, and us moms...well, we're all about Hugh Jackman!
Special thanks to Disney/Dreamworks for bringing me out to L.A. to preview Real Steel.