Real Steel Review | Film | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Real Steel Review 

Thursday, Oct 6 2011

Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) is a two-bit trainer working the state fair circuit in a not-too-distant future. His line is robot fighting, a sport that has absorbed the audience for boxing, MMA, and, apparently, demolition derby. Feckless Charlie gets a taste of responsibility tending his estranged 11-year-old son, Max (Dakota Goyo). Touchy though things are between them, Max is a quick study and helps to refurbish a salvaged old sparring robot into a legitimate contender. In a story predicated on the surpassing of man by machine, Real Steel doesn't engage in the same—it's what a publicist might describe as an “effects movie with heart.” Real Steel concerns down-and-outers getting their one last title shot—but fit, spry Jackman is hard to buy as a hard-luck case, while elfin child actor Dakota Goyo could only be a cloying child actor named "Dakota." On the multiplex stage, the subservience of action to character development has become a rare enough arrangement of priorities to cause a stir whenever it occurs, but the development of simplistic characters along overfamiliar lines isn't intrinsically preferable to pure sensation or the free run of imagination—and there is little of either here.


Related Stories

  • Aussie coffee 3

    Forget beer, barbies and Bondi: It seems that Australians' homesick blues can only be taken away with a good "flat white."  The coffee, which is a double espresso with steamed milk but no foam — hence the "flat" — has been difficult to find in L.A., at least until recently...
  • 50 Things We Learned From the 2013 Year in Movies 2

    On  Thursday, this year's Oscar nominations will be announced, also known as national Gah! What Were Those Idiot Voters Thinking Day. We can't wait, so in the meantime, we give you this: 1. Marvel Films has become Taco Bell, with plenty of sour creamy, cheesy wrap-up menu items scheduled through
  • Film Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past 10

    America's sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence truly can do anything. In the course of three months, she has managed to graciously lose an Oscar (her third nomination in four years), swan above the mansplaining condescension of a male pundit who tsk-tsked her for getting drunk in public, and burst into the summer...
  • Too Bad The Wolverine Isn't as Interesting as Hugh Jackman

    As summer comic-book blockbusters go, The Wolverine is not as elephantine as it could have been. It’s more, well, wolverine—bony, loping, a little shaggy—and, blessedly, director James Mangold doesn’t get bogged down in mythology. You don’t need to diagram the convoluted relationships between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men characters...
  • Telluride Film Festival 2013: A Wrap-Up

    The metaphor that kept coming to mind at the 40th Telluride Film Festival in Colorado Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 was provided by Alfonso Cuarón's film Gravity. In this magically imagined, 3-D epic, astronauts Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are menaced by the Kessler effect, in which colliding satellites cause...
Reach the writer at

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Tue 30
  2. Wed 1
  3. Thu 2
  4. Fri 3
  5. Sat 4
  6. Sun 5
  7. Mon 6

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office Report

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Movie Trailers

View all movie trailers >>

Now Trending