Real Steel: Humanity’s Nature Stripped Like Parts

Article written by:
Jurmane Lallana
Author: Jurmane Lallana
Jurmane is a comic book geek, movie aficionado, feature writer and bathroom singer. He is often mistaken for a giant teddy bear roaming around the metro.


Set in the near future, Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a former world-class boxer in a world where humans have been replaced by robots as participants in the boxing sport. Supported by Bailey Tallet (Evangeline Lily), the daughter of his former trainer, he spends his time using these robots to earn a living and to possibly relive his glory days as a fighter, but his efforts go nowhere. His situation gets interesting when his son, eleven year-old Max (Dakota Goyo), reappears in his life and gives him the strength he needs to regain what he had lost.

Real Steel reminds viewers of all the boxing films that they have watched. Only this time, there is a twist. The fighters are like skinless Terminators ready to claw anyone that gets in their way. Action scenes are decent enough and camera movement is not shaky and distracting. The clinking of metal is like the cracking of one’s jaw. The pain! A funny part of the film is when the robot dances. Yes, it actually does THE robot dance.

Cast assembled for Real Steel is pretty impressive. Hugh Jackman really knows how to play the good-looking asshole with the golden heart. He pulls off another Wolverine, except this time, he’s a dad. Hollywood has been missing him lately and it is very good news that he is back with a bang.  With her dirty work clothes, Evangeline Lily still manages to remain beautiful and elegant. Her character is easy to love, and after watching her in this film, I have decided to get my hands on all 6 seasons of Lost and watch them until my eyes pop out. Dakota is just an adorable kid and I am sure that he will grow up, smile, and break a lot of hearts.

In films, we learn a lot about ourselves. What better way of education than to watch something with... robots in it? Yes, you read that right. The presence of these machines actually help flesh out certain things about mankind.

1) As Charlie said in the junkyard while he was explaining the evolution of boxing, “people wanted more carnage, more show.” It was Roman gladiators back then, it is cockfighting now, and it will be robot battle-to-the-death in the future. Somehow, people enjoy watching violence so much that creative ways are made to sustain this “hobby.” Barbarism is unfortunately, still alive and well.

2) Man’s love for entertainment. Instead of using these robots for something more useful (like planting, or construction), they are used for sports purposes. Now, it can be said that this is a film limitation given that everything about that supposedly future time still seems to be set in the present,  but one can also argue that man just does not know how to use his ideas properly.

3) There will always be value in human ingenuity and skill. Even though the robots are doing the fighting, it is the people behind them that matter, and that is highlighted especially towards the end of the film.

4) Nothing bonds boys better than toys. Essentially, Real Steel is a about a reconnection of a father and son with the robots in the backdrop. We witness through these machines how Charlie and Max put aside their differences and accepted who they are to each other.

The only thing that I found confusing about Real Steel is why Atom was so good. Is it only shadow movement, or does he actually understand? He comes close to the IRobot concept a few years back, but the film never really tackles the depth of this robot and explains why he is the way he is.

I’m not a fan of boxing, I’m definitely not a fan of robots, and I only had 30 minutes of sleep when I watched this. Still, I loved every second of it. I know I recommend a lot of things but if ever you plan to start listening, you better do it now. Whether you watch movies every week or have not watched anything for a year now, Real Steel is the 2011 film you should not miss.

Bim's note: ROCK 'EM SOCK 'EM ROBOTS THE MOVIE! You cannot go wrong.


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