MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
The idea of a “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” movie seemed so silly to me months ago, and even though “Real Steel” is based on a Richard Matheson story (which was actually made into an episode of “The Twilight Zone” a half-century ago), it didn’t seem any more than that. But watching the film is an absolute fun time.
Hugh Jackman plays Charlie Kenton, and ex-boxer who has thrown his career into the sport of robot boxing. He gets saddled with his estranged son for the summer, and together they take an unlikely sparring bot and make him a champion.
“Real Steel” is a relatively simple movie that builds on a basic father-and-son story. I’ve watched it with my kids, and it’s a great bonding experience. Director Shawn Levy blows hot and cold with his films, but he always brings a child-like sense of wonder to them. Such is the case with “Real Steel,” and on that level, it’s just a fun action movie. It’s not out to change the world, but it gives us a film with real heart and a lot of fun. Plus, the robot effects are quite brilliant and, at times, almost unbelievable.
There’s a nice assortment of bonus content on the Blu-ray and the enclosed DVD. Both discs include bloopers, an audio commentary with Shawn Levy and two featurettes: “Making of Metal Valley” and “Building the Bots.” Exclusive Blu-ray features include more deleted and extended scenes, the fake in-character documentary “Countdown to the Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story,” a spotlight on fighting advisor Sugar Ray Leonard and the “Real Steel Second Screen” which includes picture-in-picture bonus content.