Real Steel Review

When I was really young my parents split.  All I really knew was my mom growing up. My dad was around when the shared custody let him take me every other weekend. I didn’t understand what was really going on and at times I thought my dad just didn’t have time for me or I wasn’t a fit for his life.

I loved a movie growing up that had a great father-son element to it. That movie was Over the Top.  This movie featured Sylvester Stallone and his character was trying his best to get acquainted with this boy that he really had never even met. This boy was his son and was now going to spend some time with him since his mother had died. They travel the country and reconnect while Sly’s character competes in arm wrestling competitions. This was an epic movie for me because the movie had a super message about a man who cared very deeply for his son even though he hadn’t ever got to spend a ton of time with him and didn’t always know how to show his feelings when he was finally around him.

Now that I am a father I have been looking for that one gem of a movie that could define that “father-son” feel for the next generation and I think I may have a winner.  I recently took a trip out to L.A. to check out a screening of the new movie from DreamWorks Pictures called Real Steel and at first I just thought this movie was going to be a “Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots” ripoff.  Boy I was way off!  These robots were absolutely stunning in being the next step in the sport of fighting.

See, it is the year 2020 and the game of competitive fighting has changed quite a bit. In the years prior, human fighters could only dish out and take so much physical damage before something in either fighter’s body gave out. This was not a good problem to have when you had audiences that wanted more and more brutal fights and finishes in regular bouts.  In 2014 Human fighters were then phased out and replaced by robot fighters that were controlled remotely by human operators.  There is a huge market for these robots to fight in from small town sideshows to the big time events in the World Robot Boxing league. In the WRB, robot fighters stand over 8 ft tall, weigh in at a whopping 2,000+ pounds, and fight to the death!

You must be thinking “Ryan…I thought you said that this was a family movie?” Indeed it is. The film revolves around Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), who is a old school human fighter who lost his chance at ever being the champ. Now he spends his days and nights scrounging around and trying to find any pieces that can be assembled to make him a working bot to make a little money, Charlie drives around from one underground boxing venue to the next. When things don’t exactly play out the way Charlie really wants them to, he is abruptly confronted with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) and their story seems to start on rough waters. They find a robot by chance and begin to bond over the sport of fighting and strengthening their relationship through their wonderous journey to the top of the league.

I think that this is an awesome movie. A real action packed film whose characters strive to break records and mend relationships. Real Steel reminds me of many of my favorite movies like Over the Top, Rocky, and sprinkled with a tad bit of Transformers. This movie is rated PG-13 and is suggested to be a family film. I do think that every one of my kids would love this movie and think it is one of the best family action films of all time but there are a few concerns. The violence of fighting robots is okay but the atmosphere of emotions tied directly to the characters (human and robot) that take a beating is quite brutal. There are a few instances of language and I’m not a person who totally blows off a movie for a few curse words but when it has an eleven year old saying them to his father it makes me heed on the heir of caution. I just don’t want my kids thinking it is okay to say them because a child said them to his father in the movie. I don’t have the excuse of telling my kids that those are just “grown up words” when someone so close to their age just rattled them off. The kid says a** two times (one time calling his dad an a**), he also says sh*t once, and there are a few other mild profanities.

All-in-all this was a knockout of a movie that will leave you wanting to continue on the adventure.  I look forward to sharing this movie with my children in a couple of years with me beeping out the bad words or just skipping through those scenes.  I hope that they see it not only for a movie about a fighting robot and his rise to the top, but the fight of the heart between father and son.

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