Travel: Our Macau/Hong Kong Getaway (6D/6N)!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Movie Review: Real Steel (2011)

It's been awhile since we've done a movie review. Partly because we ourselves haven't been watching many movies since getting back from Macau & Hong Kong, and partly because we have so many food and  travel posts to put up that we don't have time to write about movies!


Truth be told, we weren't planning on writing about Real Steel. But after watching it on Saturday night, I knew this is one that I can't miss out on!


Charlie's first bot in the movie - Ambush!
SYNOPSIS
The show is set some time in the near future, where human boxing has slowly become obsolete and has been replaced by robot boxing instead. The robots take the place of humans in the ring, but are still controlled by humans on the sidelines. The story revolves around one such human called Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), a former professional boxer who has now made the shift to robot boxing as well.




Charlie lives a wandering lifestyle making money off any robot boxing match he can find. Life ain't so rosy for him because his robots keep on getting defeated one by one, leaving him broke and heavily in debt.

Things take a twist one day when he is told his ex-girlfriend has died, leaving him to care for their 11 year old son, Max Kenton (Dakota Goyo). Charlie had never bothered about his son before, but having been forced to take care of him, Max follows Charlie and quickly adapts to his lifestyle.




One night while looking for scrap parts to make a new robot, Max discovers an old robot that he decides to keep for himself and use to fight. Although Charlie thinks its a waste of time, he gives in to Max's persuasion and is shocked when the old robot called Atom keeps winning fight after fight. 


The two begin to develop a father-son bond just as they find themselves climbing to the top in the sport that is robot boxing, culminating in the final showdown between Atom and reigning World Robot Boxing champion, Zeus!


REVIEW
There's a few reasons why I feel compelled to blog about this show. One obvious reason is because of Hugh Jackman! I've always been a big fan of his ever since his first X-Men movie as Wolverine, and I've thoroughly enjoyed every other action movie he has starred in. 


With his ruddy good looks and perfectly sculpted body, Jackman is the perfect casting for the role of Charlie. He exudes confidence and swagger and does a convincing impression of an impatient man, someone in his 30s but who still hasn't matured to be responsible for his age. Watching him through the show was really entertaining, and I can't wait till we see him again in The Wolverine, slated for a 2012/2013 release!


Evangeline Lilly plays the lead female role of Bailey Tallet, who is Charlie's friend and somewhat romantic interest since childhood. Although she doesn't appear in many scenes outside the gym which she stays in (come to think of it, I don't really remember her in any other place, except in the boxing stadium at the end!), her screen time is vital to the plot.



As if being Charlie's moral compass and pacifier between Charlie and Max isn't enough, Bailey is also the one who knows all about the technical parts of robots and routinely helps Charlie maintain his robots. Evangeline plays the role well; it's hard to fault her for any bad acting. Oh and did I mention she's really pretty? =P


The two share some really good chemistry displaying the romantic tension and angst as well.


But the biggest star of the show isn't Hugh or Evangeline, but has to be Dakota Goyo, the little boy who plays Max Kenton! His raw and passionate acting practically explodes out of the screen, and really makes you want to stand up and cheer for the little kid.




Max's role is probably the single-most pivotal part of the movie! He's the one who keeps faith in Atom as a fighting robot, and he's the one who made all the upgrades to Atom to make him a world-beater. Honestly there were more than a few moments when it felt like Max was the main character instead of Charlie. =D



Oh and did I mention the kid can bust some moves? Atom the robot has a shadow boxing feature that makes it mimic the movements of a person. This leads to a few entertaining scenes of Max busting out some dance moves and Atom following along. I dare say there was more than once when we felt he resembled a younger Justin Bieber. =D


What's even more impressive is the chemistry between Dakota and Hugh Jackman.


Dakota more than held his own against the formidable Hugh Jackman and this made for a lot of funny and heart-warming scenes throughout the transition of estranged to the father-son bond that prevailed. Kid's got good comedic timing too!








The cinematography is also rather impressive; we were constantly treated to impressive shots of packed arenas lighting up the night sky. Charlie and Max also spend a lot of time driving interstate to get to one robot boxing competition to another, and this makes for some great shots of Michigan (where the movie was shot) scenery.



Nothing much is to be said about the so-called villains - massive stereotyping going on: a Texan with a twang in his speech, a Japanese technology mastermind and a rich, and sly Russian woman (played by Kevin Durand, Karl Yune & Olga Fonda respectively). But who really cares, because besides Charlie & Max Kenton (Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo), the true focus is really on these massive robots!

Arguably the coolest part of the show - when Charlie uses shadowing boxing to control Atom. =D
Charlie teaching Atom how to move like Jagger a boxer
Charlie giving a pep talk to Atom 
Before I watched the movie I was a bit skeptical about the whole "robot boxing" thing, but the show made it all so believable and entertaining (Wendy thought it was an Iron Man rip-off from the moment we saw the trailer, but I kept faith in Hugh Jackman. Lol.).

From the very first fight it was clear this was not going to be some cliche fight movie. =)

Atom giving an upper-cut to the main nemesis, Zeus!
The robots are so interesting partly because of the variety of designs. Atom is a "2nd generation sparring bot", which is why it retains human features. But the new ones come in different shapes and sizes, which give a lot of opportunity for creativity.

Twin Cities - a robot with 2 heads and controlled by 2 people!
The undefeatable Zeus

In a nutshell, anyone who loves an underdog story is going to love Real Steel! I guarantee you by the end of the movie you'll be clapping and crying for Atom, the little robot that could. Oh and not forgetting his best friend Max! Together they remind me the most of a Calvin and Hobbes relationship brought to life onscreen. ;)

(Come to think of it, the resemblance between the comic and the show are more than uncanny. What do you think?)

Futuristic Calvin and Hobbes ;)
I think Max and Atom agree.


Okay, I think I've raved enough for once. If you haven't watched this yet, go see it now! This movie is suitable for any outing, whether with the family or with the girlfriend, so don't worry about finding the right partner - everyone can enjoy Real Steel. =)

Couldn't end this post without a pic of Noisy Boy! The last robot before Charlie got Atom.
LOVE the Chinese "tattoos" across the front. =D
...but he didn't live happily ever after. =(
Real Steel (2011)
Official Website: www.steelgetsreal.com
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