Real Steel is the big movie in theaters this weekend and, believe it or not, it’s not a complete disaster. For a few of you, this particular sci-fi movie may even be worth seeing. You can read my full review over on Cinema Blend but for a more succinct breakdown here’s 5 reasons you might want to show up at a theater and see it.
You Wish Boxing Was More Violent
Because all the fighting in this movie is centered around robot on robot action, that presented an opportunity to go further with the violence involved than any other boxing movie has before. That means robots can literally punch each other’s heads off and you’ll never see a fight in this movie where a referee steps in to separate the fighters. Ok, it’s not exactly as harrowing as watching two people go at it. There’s not really any danger to anyone, at worst the loser leaves with a bruised ego and a lighter wallet. But it’s hard to deny the appeal of watching truly no holds barred fighting. There’s no need to worry about hurting anyone, because no one can be hurt, and so the boxers are really free to kick the shit out of each other. It’s like gladiator games, without any of the guilt.
You Like Dancing Robots and/or Kids
The truth is that people seem to like watching dancing. I don’t get it personally, but look, I’m not here to judge. It’s the reason Dancing with the Stars is such a hit and it’s the reason every other Hollywood movie these days seems to end with a post-credits dance number. Well there’s no choreographed, Bollywood sequence in Real Steel but part of the robot boxer Atom’s training does involve a few dance sequences with his kid-companion and controller. They even enter the ring to a dance number which, predictably, wins over the crowd. Like I said, a lot of people seem to love dancing. If that’s you, then you won’t want to miss this boy/robot pop and lock duo.
You Liked Jake Lloyd in The Phantom Menace
I’m sure these people exist out there somewhere, and 12-year-old Dakota Goyo, who plays Hugh Jackman’s son in the film is the first actor we’ve seen since Phantom Menace from the Jake Lloyd school of acting. His performance seems to be built, mainly, on a lot of running around and shouting. Ok, to his credit he’s actually a little better than Jake Lloyd. I like to imagine that this is what George Lucas was hoping Lloyd would be as Anakin in his Star Wars film, and what he got was a slightly dumber, less capable version instead. Still the floppy-haired, irritating kid-similarities are hard to ignore. At least here we aren’t relying on Dakota to turn into Darth Vader or anything. He’s free to grow up into some sort of coke-addicted loser with a hooker for a girlfriend.
You Don’t Care About Plot
There are great movies and then there are movies you see just because you enjoy special effects. Real Steel has some truly special effects sequences, but the script is total shit. If you’re the kind of person who can find something to enjoy under those conditions, then see this. The robot boxing’s worth it but the story’s horrible and every single piece of dialogue in the film is a total disaster. Half the characters in the film don’t have a reason to exist, and the ones which do behave so illogically it’s hard to buy into the notion that someone like this might actually exist. This is a film in which Hugh Jackman literally sells his son to the highest bidder, and no one, let alone the kid, really seems to mind it. Yet… every single scene with a robot totally works. It’s a blast. If you can handle that, see it.
You Have A Son
It’s a toss-up whether or not adults will enjoy this movie, but what’s certain is that little boys will love it. Any boy under the age of 12 is bound to be crazy for robots, and if he’s not when he goes in he will be by the time he walks out of Real Steel. It’s not the kind of movie that’ll stick with your kid forever or anything, but it’s a great opportunity for a father/son sci-fi geek bonding experience, if you decide to take yours. Just expect him to pester you for his very own robot, this Christmas, only to be disappointed when you give him a Real Steel coloring book or something, instead.