Hugh Jackman toplines this crowd-pleasing drama set in the near future as Charlie Kenton, a struggling boxing promoter of robots. You see in the future robots replaced human as fighters because the audiences were craving more and more. And the human body can only take so much punishment. Well Charlie struggles with trying to win as he is way over his head in debt to everyone. And the people he owe money too don't take rainchecks or IOU's. Add to the mix is Max, Charlie's young son who he hasn't seen since his birth, and is now an orphan, due to his recent passing of his mom.
So Charlie takes temporary custody of Max (wonderfully played by Dakot Goyo) for a few months until the mom's sister gets back from traveling around the world. During this time, Charlie and Max pulls an ancient robot out of the scrap yard and rebuild to start fighting. The robot is called Atom, and is a relic of the robot fighters. Compared to all the hi-tech new robots fighting now, Charlie doesn't think he will last long. But this little robot, being trained by Max and then Charlie (who was an actual boxer back in his younger days) begins winning fights and grabs the attention of the country and the media. And before you can say Rocky Balboa, the trio ends up getting a title shot match against Zeus, the most feared and undefeated robot in history.
I loved this movie. It may be predictable at times but it still feels so fresh and exciting. The fight scenes are awesome and the robots themselves are very realistic. Hugh Jackman delivers a solid performance. And Evangeline Lilly is effective as his long time girlfriend and robot whiz Bailey. But it's Dakota Goyo who steals the movie as Max. Being the one character audiences can get behind. He is just real and into his character, you just smile every time he is on screen.
One of the more surprising films of 2011 and a must see. Another surprise factor is the music score by Danny Elfman. Yep, I said Danny Elfman, the maestro of usually offbeat and dark films, does a really stirring score to this pretty cool movie. As I said in my header, Real Steel is for real.