For some reason, whilst watching Real Steel I couldn't help but draw up comparisons to 80's kids films such as Flight of the Navigator and Short Circuit that are on Channel five nearly every Sunday afternoon. Now there's nothing wrong with those films, the problem is that this is 2011, I don't want to head to the cinema to watch a Channel 5 family film, if I had known I would have stayed in to watch Cocoon.
Okay, it's a lot better than I make it sound but Real Steel fails to break any new ground, choosing instead to recycle hackneyed storylines from a number of films as an absent father is forced to improve relations with his whizzkid son whilst competing for money in a vastly improved game of Robot Wars (All that's missing is Craig Charles). No prizes for guessing that Charlie's son Max has a lot to bring the table, much to his fathers surprise, as the two struggle to make a name for themselves with a robot they stumble across in the scrapyard.
There are bad guys and love interests, disheartening failures and uplifting victories, family feuds and make ups, but none of these come as a surprise which leaves us with a very predictable film. If there were no robots in Real Steel it would be very unwatchable as the acting chops on Jackman and co. just aren't enough to engage the audience. Thankfully there are plenty of robots, even some with two heads, and while they are nothing new in a world that has had three Transformers films, the fight scenes are fist-pumpingly good.
When it came time for Charlie to don his hoody and jogging bottoms to train the robot it all became too much, I was half expecting a montage scene similar to Rocky and was quite disappointed that we didn't get to watch a robot punching some hams in a giant freezer.
For a cold October evening,you could do far worse than heading to the cinema to watch robots beat the crap out of each other. It's just a shame that the story doesn't live up to the impressive visuals.
6/10 - 5 for robots, 1 for story.
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