[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8475[/img]Title: Real Steel
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Written by: John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, Jeremy Leven, Richard Matheson
Runtime: 127 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: January 24, 2012
HTS Overall Score:81.5
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8476[/img]In the near future, where 'Real Steel' takes places, the sport of boxing has all but faded away; however, boxing has gone from a human sport to robots duking it out. The robots are still controlled by humans, but the ability to use robots has allowed the sport of boxing to involve more carnage and, ultimately, more destruction. A washed up, old-time boxer, Charlie Kenton (Jackman), now resorts to burying his skills and travel around to promote fights with his very own robots. The problem is, he doesn't seem to be very good and is continuously struggling to make ends meet. Debt collectors are at his neck trying to get what they are owed, but Kenton never seems to have the money he promised.
One particular day, Charlie gets a call letting him know that his ex has passed away, leaving him an estranged 11-year old son, Max (Goyo). Max's very wealthy aunt and uncle offer generously to adopt Max, however they need to go to court to have Charlie sign over full custody to them. When they arrive at court, Charlie realizes that this situation would allow him to take advantage of Max's aunt and uncle. So, Charlie bribes the uncle into paying one hundred thousand dollars to him to turn custody over. The only stipulation is: Charlie would need to take Max for the summer because the aunt and uncle had a planned vacation that they still would like to go on. So they agree to give Charlie fifty thousand up front and the other fifty when he brings Max back to them at the end of summer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8477[/img]With money now in Charlie's hand, he immediately spends it on a high class robot in order to make himself more money. Unfortunately, his plans to take this robot on the road is problematic -- He still has a son to look after. Charlie tries to pawn Max off onto his current girlfriend, Bailey (Lilly), but Max blackmails Charlie into taking him with him on the road. As the estranged father and son set off to make some money, the two of them begin to realize a lot about one another that truly surprises them. The high class robot he bought immediately gets destroyed and Charlie now must find another robot to use. One night as the two are scouring a junkyard Max stumbles across a complete robot that he convinces Charlie to let him keep. The two of them set out to utilize their new find in order to make their money. While on their road to success, the two begin to truly bond; together Max and Charlie begin to realize how good of a team they are as they take on challengers with their junkyard robot, Atom, to earn their keep.
I found myself very entertained while watching 'Real Steel'. I didn't quite know what to expect when I first saw trailers. Truthfully, I thought it was just going to be a film all about glorified "Rock-Em Sock-Em Robots" and to some extent it is, but the film is much more character driven and made this film that much more entertaining. It was exciting to see this underdog story develop through the length of the film.
Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=8478[/img]The video transfer for 'Real Steel' is quite solid, however it lacks the flair that a lot of the most recent movies have shown. Detail is quite plentiful, but doesn't really stand out on its own. There are times that the amount of detail was especially impressive, but those scenes only occurred occasionally. Edges are sharp and devoid of ringing. Color fidelity is quite strong and is especially notable when it comes to the various robots that appear. Contrast is quite good and provides the image a certain amount of punch. Blacks remain inky, particularly when the robot, Zeus, is on screen this is apparent. Zeus' nearly all-black metal frame really shows off the black level well and it never just bleeds into the rest of the dark background. Overall, the film sports a great transfer, but it's just not quite on the level of being spectacular.
What is a robot movie without a good audio mix? 'Real Steal' sports a stellar 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track; this film will even have your house shaking at times. The roar of thousands of people cheering surrounds the listener taking you right into the middle of the action. As the robots battle one another, the clashing, clanking, and pounding hit with just the right amount of heft. The sound stage is expansive overall and certainly was enjoyable to listen to. Surround activity is not limited to crowd cheers; as robots get torn apart, shards and parts scatter around the listener. Quieter scenes are also provided with proper surround ambience. Dialog remains intelligible throughout the film and even during the fight sequences.
• 'Making a Metal Valley' featurette
• 'Building the Bots' featurette
• 'Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman's Champ' featurette
• Blooper reel
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• 'Countdown to the Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story' featurette
• ''Real Steel' Second Screen: Ringside with Director Shawn Levy' interactive on screen insight during the length of the film
'Real Steel' may not be the most exciting, or even most plausible of premises, but it certainly had me forget all about that while I was watching it. The character driven story was convincing and enjoyable. Hugh Jackman is a really talented actor and I think he is quite a chameleon in his acting capabilities. He really raises any movie up a level. Although, what I was more impressed with was that they made a lifeless, non-talking robot believable. All in all, 'Real Steel' reminded me a little bit of a Rocky movie. It has that feel-good, little guy triumphing story that made Rocky so well-known. Fortunately, the film was also given a solid video transfer and a roaring audio mix. While they won't be reasons alone to watch the film, I definitely think that this film is worth a look.
Recommendation: Check It Out!
Official Blu-Ray Reviews Scoring