Real Steel

Executive Producer Steven Spielberg ("Super 8") LOVES movies about children who eventually "make nice" with their parents; this one does it particularly well. In addition, Spielberg and Director Shawn Levy ("Date Night") like characters who redeem themselves, and this film does THAT nicely, too.

Our story takes place in the near future and involves a ne'er-do-well father who abandoned his wife when their child was born eleven years earlier. He was a wannabe prize fighter and despite an ability to take a licking and keep on ticking, too many defeats have reduced him to promoting a fighting robot (!?) For my taste, I don't like to see people pummel one another, so at least with robots, there is no blood...well maybe a little transmission fluid here and there, but at least no humans are harmed. Whew!

Here are a few of the actors in this appealing cast:
  • Hugh Jackman ("X Men: Wolverine") is a fast-talking charmer who just isn't very prudent. Jackman brings tons of energy, charisma and humor to this role. Yeah, he takes his shirt off... ...more than once. Plus, it's fun to watch him fall for his son.
  • Dakota Goyo ("Thor") is the much-loved boy who comes upon a discarded robot and talks his skeptical dad into helping him refurbish it. He also knows when to tell Dad to shape up and use some common sense!
  • Evangeline Lilly ("Lost") runs her deceased father's robot repair shop. She too, tries to talk common sense into our hero ...and she sure likes his headstrong little boy.
  • Anthony Mackie ("The Adjustment Bureau") is the local bookie/ deal maker. He tries to be a friend to our impetuous hero but it isn't always easy!
  • Hope Davis ("The Family Tree") is the little boy's wealthy aunt who has successfully sued for custody after her sister died.
  • James Rebhorn ("White Collar") is her wealthy husband who is willing to pay a bribe to make sure there will be no challenge in the custody issue.
Despite the metallic mayhem of robots pounding on each other, this PG-13 story is heartwarming and we were pleased to see the bad guys were only mildly bad and got some well-deserved comeuppance. We saw a few bits of profanity, no nudity, no sweaty bodies, no car chases and no blowie uppie stuff. Just robots beating the tar out of one another and families learning how to get along. WBC Super Middleweight Champ Sugar Ray Leonard was a technical consultant on this project; he gave each of the robots a particular fighting style and personality.

We were surprised at this film's refusal to villainize the usual suspects, and yes, we too, enjoy redemption, plus that nice, soggy, happy ending.

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