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Friday, 13 April 2012

Real Steel Review (2.5/5)

File:Real Steel Poster.jpgLooks real, but it's got some blemishes under its bonnet.
Hugh Jackman's track record in the world of film has been mixed at best. For every Australia, there's been an X-Men Origins around the corner to hold this actor with tons of potential back from the roles he needs to make it to the Oscars and the BAFTAs every year. I would love to be able to say that Real Steel is the movie that can change all that, but sadly that just isn't the case, and once again for the most part it isn't Jackman's own fault at all. The part he is given to play as the unwilling father of a boy eager to be cherished and to help his dad acheive victory and wealth in a sci-fi fuelled robot wars style content is definitely suitable, allowing Hugh to show off his emotive and hardened sides in the midst of some epic and some more subtle setpieces littered throughout the storyline. Dakota Goya does a great job as the aforementioned kid, too, providing some much needed heart to a fairly convoluted Transformers rip-off narrative that borrows too many ideas from the staplemates of its genre to ever feel even minutely original. No matter how much Real Steel tries to disguise itself as Michael Bay's own adaptable robots do in their explosion slow-mo fest of a franchise, it really can not hope to distinguish itself as a new and unique feature when everything- its relationships, its sport-style battles, its modern futurism- is stolen from legends of science fiction that managed to do everything it does ten times better. Contrary to the likes of i,Robot or even to some extent Transformers, you'll find next to nothing to empathise with the supposedly human-ique robots you're presented with here, leaving you with very little reason to follow their progress or pain when you really couldn't care less about what becomes of these metallic combatants. The faster you realise this (and cleverly the writing team keep the focus enough off the robots at first that it takes a while), the faster the film's underlying moral messages and genuine feeling of heart and soul get swept under the rug as the whole experience feels like a wasted endeavour. There's some good fun to be had with Real Steel if there's nothing else on the telly, but you certainly don't want to go out of your way to catch it at any rate.

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