Real Steel (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Directed by: Shawn Levy (Date Night, Night at the Museum, and Cheaper by the Dozen)
Written by:John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, Jeremy Levin
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, and Dan Goyo
In the future the sport of boxing will no longer involve humans fighting. In 2020 boxing will involve humans controlling robots and the robots fighting one another, or at least according to this film. Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman)is a former boxer who is attempting to find success in the new world of boxing, but has found no success. Soon Charlie finds out that the mother of his son has past away, and he is forced to build a relationship with his son Max (Dakota Goyo).
I went into this film with incredibly low expectations, and assumed that watching robots that resembled the fun child's toy, Rock'Em Sock'Em robots, which were created in 1964. The film was filled with cliches, like the "villains" who were super campy, and controlled the robot that could not be beat, Zeus. I enjoyed that the film had depth and went into the development of the father/son bonding, and avoided the cliche of the aunt fighting for control, although her character and her husband were verging on silly (I can't believe Hope Davis said yes to that role). There was also the token love interest Bailley Tallet (Evangeline Lilly), whose father was Charlie's boxing coach.
Once you go beyond the camp and the cliches with the movie, this was actually far more entertaining than I expected. Jackman was charming, and always does well is this type of role, but the real star was Goyo. Goyo was fun to watch and gave this film more character and heart than it could have had with a lame duck child actor. The film finds an interesting pace in matching the heart of the robot, Atom that Charlie and Max end up fighting with. The robot fighting is not as cheesy and makes for a sheer fun experience.