PEP REVIEW: Hugh Jackman’s Real Steel ain’t so tough after all

Hugh Jackman is an ex-boxing champion who forges a bond with his son (played by Dakota Goyo) in the movie Real Steel.

You know what they say, "Don’t judge a book by its cover."

If you have seen the trailer for Real Steel and thought it was quite violent, don’t let it stop you from bringing your kids to watch it.

Trust us. The robot boxing scenes are just a small, yet valuable, parcel of the whole thing.

In fact, if you are into hardcore robot action—Terminator or Transformers, perhaps—you could get a little disappointed because this movie is more about fixing a family and finding your inner strength.

THE PLOT. Set in a future where today’s Manny Pacquiaos are replaced by eight-foot-tall steel robots in the boxing ring, the ever-lovable Hugh Jackman plays an ex-champion fighter, Charlie Kenton.

When his boxing career went kaput, Charlie moved on to "train" robot boxers. He took them to fight in small town matches in order to salvage what’s left of Tallet’s Gym, his old training ground and home.

One day, Charlie is summoned by the court to settle custody arrangements for his 11-year-old son Max, whom he had never met.

He strikes a deal with the adopting couple. In exchange for $100,000, he has to give up his full custody on Max, and in addition, the boy has to stay with him for the summer.

While Charlie wasn’t planning on becoming a doting dad to his estranged son, they wind up being together and eventually, a clash of personalities ensue.

Charlie is the typical pigheaded single guy. Max is far wiser than his age. The only things common about them is their stubbornness and passion for robot boxing.


One fateful night, Max discovers an old sparring robot buried in a junk yard.

He brings it home, nurses it back to life, and trains it with what little fighting abilities he has. He names his steel protégé Atom.

Despite all odds, he convinces Charlie to book Atom in underground fights. And soon, they find their humble trio fighting their biggest battle yet.

THE REVIEW. We love how all our preconceptions about Real Steel were debunked after seeing it.

For one, the fight scenes weren’t actually as violent as they seemed in the trailer. Personally, for this writer, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) matches are far worse.

The characters were well-picked for their parts, aesthetically and acting-wise.

Both Hugh Jackman and Kevin Durand, with their big brawns and spunky attitude, looked the part of ex-boxing champs.

Evangeline Lilly, playing Bailey Tallet, was also very striking in each scene. She delivered as Charlie’s love interest, minus the girl-next-door persona, adding a bit more drama to the whole story.

The stern supreme team of Karl Yune and Olga Fonda were also very effective. You would surely hate those pricks just as Max did.

Lastly, Dakota Goyo melted hearts with his affable performance as the young genius trainer Max Kenton.

He may be smaller than everyone else in the picture but his presence in the movie was hugely felt. He’s also got some wicked dance moves.

In terms of robotics and graphics, the steel giants looked pretty realistic for a fantasy world.


Seeing robots standing beside humans didn’t feel awkward at all, especially in Atom’s training scenes.

In the eyes of a child, that would’ve looked so cool and awesome they’d want to have their own robot boxer to play with.

The story, inspired by a Richard Matheson short story-turned-Twilight Zone episode, brings to life a fantasy world that many kids can definitely relate to.

You know how when you watch superhero movies or play video games, you become so engulfed that you want it to be real? That’s exactly how you’ll feel with Real Steel.

We wouldn’t blame you if, towards the latter part, you end up throwing your fist in the air and start cheering for the Kenton team.

Go ahead and enjoy the light, warm feeling good you’re sure to have after the movie. Not to mention learn a valuable life lesson.

After all, what’s a good family movie without the allusion to moral values, right?

Real Steel is currently being screened in SM Cinemas.





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