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Sunday, October 23, 2011

[7.75/10] Real Steel (2011)


Real Steel (2011)

Full review: Based on the 1956 short story "Steel" by Richard Matheson, "Real Steel" is a futuristic action drama set in 2020, where robot boxing is the most popular sport, and revolves around a former boxer and promoter, who tries to break into the robot fighting business, along with his recently discovered son. Plot-wise, "Real Steel" is the classic 'underdog' story - no twists and turns, no big surprises along the way, just a simple by-the-numbers story with entirely predictable outcome. Is that a bad thing? Well, not in this case... because it works. Despite its silly premise and cliche-ridden script, "Real Steel" succeeds in many areas, and it's well-made, fun to watch and totally absorbing from the first to the last minute. The dialogues are witty, smart, at times touching, but always amusing, the pacing is pitch-perfect, and the competent editing compliments director's efforts. Shawn Levy is by no means an amazing director, but he does wonders here. His direction is focused, well-balanced and at times masterful, and as a result, his dialogue-driven scenes are just as entertaining as his high-octane action scenes. Speaking of action, it is undoubtedly the highlight of the film. The robot clashes on the ring are spectacular, thrilling and brilliantly-staged and choreographed, with each next battle being bigger, better and more imposing than the previous one. The special effects are just as impressive. The robots are fantastically-designed, detailed and look like they are literally made of real steel, and their movements are fluid and well-coordinated movements, not to mention their amazing fighting skills. The acting is mostly excellent, just like most other elements of the movie. The uber-talented Hugh Jackman has been finally given a major role in a big movie, and thankfully, he doesn't disappoint. His good acting skills, bubbly personality and undeniable charm help him to deliver an incredibly sympathetic and appealing character. At first he's just a selfish and emotionless man who cares only about money and robots, but when he meets his abandoned son, Charlie finally realizes what's really important in life and shows us the lovable and caring side of him. Dakota Goyo is definitely the star of the film though. He's as sweet as he's cheeky in his role as Max, and he steals every scene he appears in. Although Max appears a bit cocky, his boldness, passion and enthusiasm make us all fall in love with his fearless character. "Lost"'s own Evangeline Lilly delivers a very solid and memorable performance as Charlie's love interest, Bailey, plus she's pure eye-candy, even without make-up on. The connection between the characters is amazing - Charlie and Max's relationship is sincere and adorable, and Jackman and Lilly's on-screen chemistry is strong and believable.

Overall summary: This autumn blockbuster may be pretty straight-forward and predictable from beginning to the end, but thanks to Shawn Levy's skillful, polished direction and the absolutely stellar cast, "Real Steel" turns into a visual and verbal roller coaster ride of thrilling action, exhilarating humor and emotions, but most importantly, it has a heart.

24 comments:

Maynard Morrissey said...

Is it really that good? When I first saw the trailer, I laughed my ass off. It all looks so silly and unintentionally hilarious to me - robot boxing, my goodness! :)

Melissa Bradley said...

Great review, sweetie, but I will avoid now for sure. I only thought about seeing this in passing because it's my childhood game Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots come to life. Red Robot rules! LOL

Honestly, the more I hear about it, the more my minimal interest wanes. I am so bored with father son stories. If they had really wanted to do a good film they should have made this a father-daughter flick.

Plus, Evangeline Lilly, a good actress, is reduced to being a love interest and eye candy. How disappointing. Nope, I'm saving my money for something that's actually good. ;)

Nebular said...

Maynard, it was great actually, and one of the most entertaining movies I've seen this year. Robot boxing is so cool!:)

Nebular said...

Thanks, Mel. Well, I think you'll regret if you don't see this. It's so well-made and so much fun!

Dakota is such a star, and I'm sure that if you watch it, you'll change your mind about the father-daughter thing.

Evangeline Lilly can be eye-candy and a god actress at the same time. What's the problem with that?

Maynard Morrissey said...

LOL to me, it looks a bit like that 80s Stallone flick "Over The Top" with a few robots thrown in :D

Nebular said...

Harry, thankfully it has nothing to do with the movie you mentioned above. And there's nothing 80s about it either. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

"... can be eye candy and a good actress at the same time." Hon, that is such a man comment. Actresses are always judged on how they look for a part as opposed to their male counterparts.

Commenting on how a woman looks doing her job is something that men do without thinking. I grew up listening to things like "Ann's a great cop. She should make detective. It sure helps she looks hot in that uniform, though, I want her to arrest me." In your review for Hugh you say "His good acting skills, bubbly personality and undeniable charm help him to deliver an incredibly sympathetic and appealing character." For Evangeline you say "Lost"'s own Evangeline Lilly delivers a very solid and memorable performance as Charlie's love interest, Bailey, plus she's pure eye-candy,even without make-up on." I know you're a guy and you love to look at beautiful women and that's okay. I know men don't comment on other men. And you mentioned her talent first, which is a plus.

But, there are times where I get frustrated and I just wish that looks did not always have to play a role in the perception of a woman doing her job i.e. an actress playing a part. That's why I try to dish some back by commenting on men's looks in my reviews sometimes.

Sweetheart, I apologize profusely if I'm coming off like a femi-Nazi bitch. I guess I was just a little more sensitive after my own post this weekend. Hugs! I hope you're not mad. :(

Nebular said...

Mel, don't be silly - you're more important to me than Lilly or any other actress in the world, so why would I be mad at you?! :)

You have a good point, but you need a reality check, hon. For better or worse, in movie business being good looking is a must, whether you are a man or a woman. And I disagree that an actress can't be beautiful and talented at the same time. There are many, many actresses that are both.
I'm not afraid to comment on other men, and I've done it many times before in my review. Here I am: Hugh Jackman is masculine and hot! :) I wish I'd look like him when I'm 40.

You're everything but femi-Nazi bitch or other type of bitch. You're just AWESOME!:)

Melissa Bradley said...

Aww... You're the awesomest! And very important to me. :) Reality checked. It's true that both sexes get commented on for looks, it just appears to me that it gets skewed more female than male. But that could be my issues talking.

You'll look better than Hugh at 40. :)

farawayeyes said...

Just stopping by from the blogfest. Yeah,I know, I'm a little slow on the up take. I like to actually read the blogs and more than one post, so I'm taking my time.

All that said. this is a fun space. I'll be back.

BTW,I really enjoyed Real Steel. Probably not great cinema, but a fun ride.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It didn't catch my interest before its release because I also thought it looked silly. (And Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots came to my mind as well.) I've now seen enough reviews from people I trust that I will check it out, although I may not catch it in the theater as it came here weeks ago. I've no problem with father-son stories and since I'm kicking around some ideas for a third book, it might inspire me in that direction. (Yes, I am all about messing up my main character's world.)
I'll have to see it on NetFlix at the least, as my wife will NOT miss a Hugh Jackman film.

Pat Hatt said...

Have to agree it was entertaining and that's all I want from a movie, not some overbloated piece of junk or something that makes you want to take a nap or stupid remakes, especially stupid remakes..haha

Isis Rushdan said...

I was on the fence about this one since it did seem so predictable. However, based on your review, I'll give it a try on Netflix. Besides, it has Hugh Jackman for me and Evangeline Lily for my hubby :).

Nebular said...

I'll look better that Hugh at 40? Yeah, maybe with a couple of plastic surgeries and daily visits to the gym. LOL.

Nebular said...

farawayeyes, better late then never, right? :) Thanks for stopping by and becoming a follower. I followed back yesterday. :)

Glad you liked my blog, and I hope to see you back again here.

Real Steel is by no means a great cinema, but it's one of the best blockbusters this year for sure.

Nebular said...

Alex, at first I wasn't very impressed by it either, but decided to give it a shot nonetheless. Well, I was pleasantly surprised - it was great!

So the screening of a movie in your local theater lasts only a week? That's weird. Do everything you can to see it on the big screen. You won't be disappointed.

Nebular said...

Pat, glad you agree with me. It was way more entertaining than I expected and definitely exceeded my expectations. I'm sick and tired of those remakes... Hollywood desperately needs an inspiration!

Nebular said...

Isis, it is predictable, but not in a bad way. It will move both you and your hubby, because it very heart-warming. :) Forget about NetFlix, go see it on the big screen! :)

Ricky said...

Great review George. Amazed that you gave it 7.75/10 and I gave it 76%, brilliant stuff.

Nebular said...

Ricky, we gave it these higher ratings, because it deserves it! :)

Thanks, for the compliment, mate. ;)

Dempsey Sanders said...

Brilliant review as ever, have not seen this yet, but love your opinion of it, will watch!

Nebular said...

Thank you so much, Demps! Give it a shot, it's exceptionally well-made and very entertaining!

Kaijinu said...

recently saw this and I got to tell you, I never got that excited and engaged to a sci-fi flick before! awesome~!

Nebular said...

Kaijin, really? Well, I'm glad to hear that, because I also thought Real Steel was marvellous!