“Real Steel” — DreamWorks new action flick starring Hugh Jackman — is a wild ride where small-time, robot-fight promoter Charlie Kenton learns the key to conquering his past and the importance of fatherhood.
A former boxer, Kenton feels out of place in a world where 8-foot-steel robots have taken over his beloved sport. He spends his time trying to make ends meet fighting pieced together robots in less than desirable venues and borrowing the rest.
To add to his troubles, Kenton has an 8-year-old estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo), he is $6,000 late on his rent to the beautiful Bailey (Evangeline Lilly) and owes $90,000 to various goons.
Kenton’s a mess of a character; he always makes the wrong call and leaves behind a string of broken promises. He’s cocky on the outside but inside he’s very aware of his shortcomings. But, it’s easy to love him because he’s a mess with potential.
Just when he finally hits rock bottom after another lost fight and a completely damaged robot, his love interest Bailey tells him she can’t handle his instability and wants him out. With no money and no allies Kenton is desperate for money.
While he’s calculating his next move, his son is suddenly thrust back into his life. Max’s mom has died and her family is petitioning for custody. Outside the courtroom, Kenton agrees to watch his son for the summer before turning over his parental rights to Max’s mom’s family; all for a rather large fee.
The real fun begins when Kenton finds out that Max is just like him. Smart-mouthed and sharp as a whip, the two engage in daily battles until Kenton saves Max from danger in an old metal scrap yard. In the scrap yard, Max finds an old “bot” named Atom. Once Kenton sees the “bot” has potential the two form a tight bond and seek to make Atom a winning fighter. Atom will serve as Kenton’s comeback and the key to unraveling Kenton and Max’s complicated relationship.
No underdog tale is complete without an antagonist and “Real Steel” has plenty. But the bully with the most bite is Ricky (Kevin Durand) a former boxer with a serious country twang who claims the last time he saw Kenton he gave him the “taste of his right (jab)” across Kenton’s face.
After Kenton loses a match with a robot and fails to pay Ricky, Ricky chases Kenton to get his just due.
Aside from a few cliché lines, “Real Steel” is a solid film sure to get moviegoer’s emotions running high.
It’s a modern day Rocky meets David and Goliath that had the audience laughing out loud and rooting for Kenton and Max to conquer the world’s most menacing robot Zeus all while mending their familial broken fences.
“Real Steel” was released in theaters Oct. 7.
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