The Best Movie Critic + review

"Real Steel" at Cheyenne's Popcorn Palace

Editor's note: This is part one of an ongoing series where I review movies that are currently playing at Cheyenne's Popcorn Palace, a $2 theater in the middle of a dead downtown area.

"Real Steel" is the best boxing movie this year.
That may come across as a great compliment at first glance, but I don't actually think there was another boxing movie this season. Of course the movie has robots instead of humans = further disqualification. Actually that is probably the only thing you know about "Real Steel", it has robots and they box. You may also know that a kid learns a life lesson and Hugh Jackman is hard on his luck, but mostly there are robots and they hit each other with dramatic music. Some are Japanese, some are small, others big - I mean you get it.

What you may not know, but probably guessed, was that the script is terrible. A complete ripoff of "Rocky" (almost shot for shot), it is probably the least suspenseful movie I have ever seen. It also fails to answer simple questions like:
* "Why are these giant and extremely colorful robots beating each other up in increasingly strange and exotic boxing rings with little to no organization?"* "Why are they boxing in a traditional ring still? Shouldn't there be more safety measures to prevent arms flying off from crushing people in the crowd?"* "If they have robots that box, why don't they have bots that do other things?"
* "Why are the bad guys bad again?"
* "If a robot fought a bull, who would win?"

I feel like when you see a movie about robots, at least two of those questions should be answered before the film is over and actually that last one was answered in the first 15 minutes of the film so I guess I could be overstating this.

The story line goes something like this: Jackman fights robots for a living. He sucks at it. He was a boxer before. He is reunited with his 11 year old kid who is sassy and excited about life. They bond and fight robots all summer long, drinking Dr. Pepper and listening to music on their Dr. Dre headphones. The robot they use was junky, now it is really good. It can take a punch. It's really important that you know it can take a punch. They make money. They lose money. It is made clear again that their robot can take a punch. They become famous right before a falling out with each other and on the verge of a very big fight against an enemy they can't possibly beat. They reconnect, and continue to fight robots beating this invincible enemy because their robot can take a punch. Jackman knowing how to box also helps them win. "Fin."
The actors seem to have been left to their own devices for the most part. Jackman pouts, Evangeline Lilly stares into the distance and the kid dances with the robot before each fight in what is supposed to be an adorable and endearing act but is really bad. I will say the fight scenes between the robots are smooth, and the graphics are very well done, but it sure takes you out of the moment when the kid and Jackman argue about a cheeseburger for a full minute and half and that's before we get to them ridding in a car for 15 minutes and talking about nothing for another 10 minutes.

I like fighting robots just as much as the next guy and there are a few interesting shots, but I think most people over the age of 8 should skip this one.

drama, Movie, Real Steel, and more:

Relevant to: "Real Steel" at Cheyenne's Popcorn Palace + review