Real Steel (Three-Disc Combo: Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy)
DVD & Digital Copy Included ed.
DVD + Blu-ray + Digital
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Enter the not-so-distant future where boxing has gone high-tech -- 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots have taken over the ring. Starring Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter turned small-time promoter, REAL STEEL is a riveting, white-knuckle action ride that will leave you cheering. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the thrill-packed arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback. Visually stunning and complete with knockout bonus material, REAL STEEL is a pulse-pounding, inspirational adventure filled with heart and soul.
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With that said, first let me say a couple things about this 3-disc set from a technical perspective:
The video presentation here is for all intents and purposes perfect. It is an absolutely gorgeous transfer and demo material in every sense of the word. Colors are rich and vibrant. Eveything is well defined with detail that shows off exactly what Blu-ray is here for; a superb picture.
The 7.1 DTS audio mix is top notch. Everything has a place and the mix never gets cluttered. Dialogue is never lost and there is plenty in the surrounds to keep you happy. Much like the visual presentation, the sound is dedinitely demo material. It is clean and powerful in every way. From well placed panning effects to subtle hints in the rear surrounds this entire mix is everything you could possibly want; clear, concise, and powerful.
Now, for the movie itself. As mentioned above, not really knowing the story I was quite surprised to see what this movie is actually about. I expected action and Real Steel delivers on full on robotic fighting. But there's so much more here that I think some people completely missed. The story isn't about boxing or robots. It's about a Father who is suddenly faced with the responsibilty of caring for a son he abandoned. Charlie (played very well by Jackman), a retired boxer, comes face to face with demons from his past, on multiple levels. Max, his son, is abandoned in just about every possible way (no father, mother dies, guardians leave him for a vacation). Without giving too much of the plot away, there's a whole lot more here than you might be willing to see, but it is thee. This story, from what I took from it, is about a Father and Son who happen to bond over fighting giant robots. It isn't about giant robots with a familial story arc thrown in for substance. That is where I found Real Steel to be a big surprise.
With that said, the action sequences (which to be honest I expected more of them) are very well done. The fact that they worked with real boxers is very evident in the fighting. And the effects, both practical and CGI, are amazing hence the Oscar nomination. The character of "Atom", the main robot fighter, is so well done that in the end you're not only cheeing for Charlie and Max but you're cheering for this otherwise emotionless hunk of scrap metal as well.
In closing I'll quote Max who at one point tells Charlie to "fight for me". This line sums up Real Steel very well in that on two different levels Charlie must find himself and become a better man, father and fighter than he ever thought he could be. This is a really, really good movie. Highly recommended!
I, frankly, didn't care for the apparent stupidity of Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) in the beginning, and honestly throughout much of this film. The acting was good, it's just Charlie was a stupid, selfish, inconsiderate, stubborn, self-absorbed ex-boxer who couldn't make it. It's no wonder to me he was such a loser in the ring - he certainly didn't know how to handle anything in real life.
What really helps Charlie though, is Max, his long abandon son. One could (should actually!) say Charlie has all the brawn and Max all the smarts. Max, at 11, is like three times smarter than his dad - must of that he had to have gotten from his mother! Okay, so I'm being a little to hard on Charlie, but I've seen plenty of dead beat parents in my life, so much so that even watching such a character is almost annoying for me. Fortunately, Charlie does smarten up. Mostly because his son is modeling very intelligent behavior for such a young one. Of course, for anyone, it doesn't really matter where our lessons come from; what is important is learning to where we actually change our behavior. Charlie finally gets it in the last third of the film!
This is one of those films where the child is more the parent because the adult is too busy making his own noise in the world. Still, the bot fights and the education that Charlie goes through at the hands of Max was very entertaining, especially where Max sticks to his convictions and never wavers on what he thinks is best for himself, his family, and Charlie.