DIR: Shawn Levy • WRI: John Gatins • PRO: Shawn Levy, Susan Montford, Don Murphy, Robert Zemeckis • ED: Dean Zimmerman • DOP: Mauro Fiore • DES: Tom Meyer • CAST: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand

Rocky With Robots? Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em The Movie? Transformers Fight Club? Yes, all of these jokes have already been made, and yes, it is very easy to come up with more of them. But after watching the movie, it becomes so much harder to make fun, as it’s been a long time since a movie has worn its heart so earnestly on its sleeve.

Hugh Jackman is the retired boxer trying to make a living in the new world of Robot Boxing. When we first meet him, his robot is wrestling a bull, the robot loses, and he makes a run for it without paying up his losses. In the next scene, he is selling his son to his brother-in-law. In short, he is not the nicest of guys. But through some barely thought out plot contrivances, Jackman is left minding his son for the summer, they find a very old boxing robot, and pretty soon they’re learning to love each other while ten-tonne machines are knocking ten shades of oil out of each other in the background.

There is a lot wrong with this movie; the stunningly overt product placement, the diabetes causing levels of saccharin, the kid (Dakota Goyo) is so annoying that you start wishing one of the robots to accidentally collapse on him… But then theres the fantastically realised robot fight scenes, the walking charisma machine that is Hugh Jackman, the stunningly beautiful Evangeline Lilly as his only friend, and a final fight that will have you cheering louder than the end of Warrior. Much like the scrapheap robot at its centre, yes this movie is stupid, but its heart is in the right place.

Rory Cashin

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details)
Real Steel is released on 14th October 2011


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