In “Real Steel,” Shawn Levy’s feature-length version of “Steel,” which is an episode of the Twilight Zone, a pugilist retires and makes a transition to the business side of the ring after robotic boxers replace humans. At the time when the sport of boxing was forever changed, Charlie Kenton, who is played by Hugh Jackman, was fighting for the title. Now, in place of humans fighting for the masses, enormous, powerful robots of steel exchange blows in the ring. Because of this, Charlie, a former gladiator, Charlie has now been forced to become an insignificant promoter, who pieces together fighting bots out of scrap metal as he makes his way through the secretive boxing circuit. When it seems certain that Charlie has fallen to rock bottom, Max, his estranged son, played by Dakota Goyo, provides him with the one-shot chance at a comeback by building and training a real champion. Charlie is completely equipped and ready to coach this robot to triumph so that once and for all, he can leave a permanent mark on the sport of boxing which his life was once dedicated to.
This movie has good science fiction credentials for the 1950s. As was previously mentioned, Levy’s adaptation is an adaptation of Steel done by Matheson (Richard) which is set in 1956. Shawn has reportedly expunged the characteristically the setting of Steel in which the society is in a repressive and controlled state and instead created it with a more homely feel which is much better to convey the plot which is based on a dad (Jackman) re-bonding with his estranged son. It does not work out as planned which seems to be the theme that is rampant in the movie scene nowadays. One comment however is that at least the stereotypical retired fighter cliché is avoided as Hugh Jackman’s character somewhat exudes that, but one gets the feeling that Shawn just might have some more typical typecasts in his box of tricks.
On a positive note, the movie Real Steel is at the top of its game technologically, and I’m appreciating the details that went into the creation of the robots. If twenty eleven is the year in which that a simple reconstruction of ideas hits the mark then we are all in for the treat of a lifetime.