Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

October 7, 2011

Heavy metal

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:30 pm

October 07, 2011

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie, Evangeline Lilly

Director: Shawn Levy

Set in a not-so-distant future where human fisticuffs are now passé and the new craze is all robot-boxing, Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up ex-pugilist who struggles to make a living from getting his low-end robots into underground fights. Brash and shortsighted, Charlie pits his mechanical fighters against rivals that are impossible to defeat; no wonder he’s buried in debt, and each of his robots badly destroyed. Just when things can’t possibly get any worse, he’s burdened with the responsibility of his estranged 11-year-old son Max (Dakota Goyo), a stubborn kid who insists that Charlie rebuild an outdated scrap-yard robot named Atom, and train him for the fight circuit.

Directed by Night at the Museum’s Shawn Levy and produced by Steven Spielberg, Real Steel is equal parts noisy action movie, and father-son bonding drama. The boxing scenes are thrillingly filmed, including a classic David vs Goliath climax; it’s the film’s emotional journey that feels like pure cheese. Borrowing its blueprint from classic sports film The Champ, father and son resolve their differences, the kid becomes a partner, his dad grows up, and everyone turns into a better person.

A less charismatic actor might have collapsed under the weight of such formulaic writing, but Hugh Jackman holds on to his dignity till the very end, where he feeds every move to Atom by shadow boxing. Dakota Goyo has some endearing moments as the precocious Max, especially those bits where he teaches Atom some nifty dance steps. But if Real Steel works, it’s purely and singularly on the strength of its hulking metal warriors that pack a solid, determined punch.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Real Steel. The thunderous action alone makes up for the strictly standard storytelling.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. yar what are happening to your reviews

    I do not wanted to write this but i have waited long after your review of
    1. underrated review of pyar ka panchnama
    2. underrated review of Zindgi na milegi dobara
    3. Extremely over rated delhi belly
    4. list is too much long now

    and now this REAL STEEL
    this movie deserves way better than 2.5 stars
    I used to watch your reviews first and follow them before watching any movie
    and i donot think i can follow it completely now on

    Comment by ayush — October 8, 2011 @ 12:52 am

  2. boreeeeeeeeeeee

    Comment by salbushzub — October 8, 2011 @ 2:32 am

  3. Sir,
    I am a huge fan of your reviews..they are spot on and crisp…your reviews sync with my understanding of the movie…there are exceptions though ,the new one on the list to be “Real STEEL”.
    I agree with the storyline part…however I feel its a feel good movie and it keeps u engaged throughout…
    There are inferences taken from ROCKY 3,4 AND ROCKY BALBOA so it was even better to watch those fite sequences embedded on machines.
    It is def my opinion and i felt i should share it wid u….
    thanks and continue d gud wrk….

    Comment by vinod — October 8, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

  4. m Completely agree With ayush !!
    Rajeev Doesnt like bollywood…

    Comment by Lalit — October 8, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  5. dude seriously. i know ur a critic. but being so harsh is so not the old u man!
    come on.. u gota start being a bit less careful about reviewing. seriously, you’ve disappointed us.

    Comment by disappointedude — October 8, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  6. it deserve at list 3 star……………………………..

    Comment by jiggi — October 9, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

  7. Dear Mr. Masand,
    While I consider your website as one of the best candid & frank (critic) reviews site, however there seems to be a dip in your review quality with some of your films. Case in point – Real Steel. I am not sure if you have seen the movie completely or hurried through it. Forget the action & the fight scenes, there are scenes when the director focuses on the people than the action – and in these scenes the actors (Jackman and the rest of the cast) shine through.

    The story might be a lift-off from Rocky & similar boxing movies – but this certainly deserves 3stars if not more.

    Comment by Niranjan Prabhakar — October 9, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  8. Bollywood is the worst .

    Comment by Anuvind — October 9, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  9. well said……looks like Rajeev has really lost touch with himself…..i mean here’s a great movie which deserves 3.5 to 4 stars………..it seems like u have become more of an art movie critic and have failed to anticipate the pulse of the common man……FYI……u r review is no longer given any value these days !

    Comment by venkatesh tilak — October 9, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  10. Oh Come on..seriusly ?? 2.5 ?? the movie deserves a minimum 3.5….disappointing review….

    Comment by Rahul Ravi — October 10, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

  11. I definitely agree with the above opinions here..i was a hue huge huge Rajeev Masand movie review fan.!!! Your reviews are the most dependable and honest among what we have, but the review about the movie REAL STEEL was definitely disappointing. It is one of the best movies that have come out in the last couple of months. The movie is so captivating from the work go..and the robotic fighting sequences are awesome. Truly am a little disappointed with your review about this movie for crying out loud!

    Comment by Namrata — October 10, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

  12. its a power and action movie .. i liked it .. deserve at least 3.5 star .. some scene are funny , emotional too ..

    Comment by Ankur — October 10, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

  13. Stop complaining on Rajeev Masand’s review. It is PERFECT and does justice to the movie. I felt cheated when I went to see the movie. The movie was made in a haste with no real thought put into it . It was just a high budgeted movie with stories lifted off from a number of movies.

    1. The movie is set after a decade or so, but the music in the movie is of 2011. He has a hi-tech phone but his truck runs on petrol. A number of small things created huge problems for me to get drawn into the world of “real steel”.
    2. No real history of the robots is given which made the David vs Goliath fight not so entertaining except for the slow motion scenes of Hugh Jackman (which were funny)
    3. The direction, editing were also average and not that good as to be lauded with great reviews

    Comment by Rohit Mishra — October 11, 2011 @ 12:55 am

  14. No way its less than 4 stars. It was simply awesome! Dont remember myself glued to the screen till the last frame and actually cheering!! The movie was brilliant. This review deserves like one and half stars!!

    Comment by Sandy — October 15, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

  15. C’mon Rajeev… i was not expecting such a poor review from u… u must be sleeping while watching the movie. This movie desrves atleast 3 and half stars. But respect.. 😉

    Comment by Akshay — October 16, 2011 @ 12:34 am

  16. Real steel is a well made movie targetting the action movie fans as well as family audience. A well sketched plot where a 11 yr old boy teaches his father some serious passion and self belief.. Robot boxing and some robotic dance moves are awesome.. Background score is very convincing. Dakota goyo steals the show with his amazing screen presence..All in all a very nice feel good movie and definitely deserves 3.5/5(unbiased rating)..

    Comment by Rashmi — October 24, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

  17. Rajeev,
    I go movies after watching your reviews….but ……………………..
    I guess…being a critic ..you have lost the eyes of a viewer….I can watch this movie..many times….its really cool…nothing less than a 3.5……it touches you on some instances & makes you smile!!!!

    Comment by Prateek Dwivedi — December 22, 2012 @ 12:16 am

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