DVD/Blu-ray Review: REAL STEEL
It might be easy to dismiss this concept as silly and not worth anyone’s time. Robots, and boxing. Boxing and robots. Yeah it’s just that silly, but you know what else? It’s got enough heart and is just as much as fun as any halfway decent sports film. Sports fans, boxing fans, guys who really, REALLY like OVER THE TOP will enjoy REEL STEEL thoroughly.
In the future when boxing becomes outlawed because of it’s violence, the innovative and the super rich invent robot boxing. But it isn’t weird, wheeled robots with various weapons attached to them, it’s robots that box. That’s right, Rock ’em, sock ’em robots! (Except not really). When former professional boxer Charlie Kenton loses his last robot to a bull fight, he must scramble and figure out a way to pay back all of his debts. Troubling as that may be, he gets a visit from two men saying an ex-girlfriend and mother of his child has passed away and he is now responsible for his son. All ready to sign away custody, he realizes the people who will be taking his son in are wealthy and he essentially sells his kid to buy a new robot. While hanging out with his kid, they discover a new robot and begin to bond over teaching their new project to become a great fighting bot.
Yeah, it’s pretty much OVER THE TOP meets TRANSFORMERS, but it’s better than any simple description could fit. The film’s not without it’s problems. It’s a little too long, and Evangeline Lilly’s character, although played well is almost a non-essential piece to whole. The kid playing Max (Dakota Goyo) is annoying at times, but the award for scene stealing has got to go to Kevin Durand, overplaying the Texan cowboy to an almost offensive but-not-really level.
As for the blu-ray, it’s special features are:
Real Steel Second Screen: Ringside with Director Shawn Levy: Disney describes this feature thusly: “interact with the movie on your iPad or computer while you watch the movie on your Blu-ray player!” Unfortunately, the app was not yet available at time of publication.
Countdown to the Fight — The Charlie Kenton Story: A brief mockumentary featuring characters from the film discussing Charlie Kenton.
Making of Metal Valley: A behind the scenes look at the scene in the film in which Atom is discovered.
Building the Bots: This is what a lot of people would have looked forward to and sadly, at around 5 mins long this is all too short.
Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman’s Champ: This is one of the more interesting features on the disk. Sugar Ray Leonard served as a consultant for the film and this highlights his contributions.
Deleted & Extended Scenes: Mostly a deleted Butterfly Storyline.
Ultimately, this may be worth a Redbox rental or an eventual Netflix queue, but it isn’t the worst sports movie out there, and ultimately one way or the other worth a look.