Box art for Real Steel

Real Steel

  • Rated PG13
  • HD and SD formats available

action & adventure, drama, sci-fi & fantasy


Starring Hugh Jackman, Real Steel is a riveting, white-knuckle action ride that will leave you cheering. Real Steel is a pulse-pounding, inspirational adventure filled with heart and soul.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    60%
  • Audience Score
    73%

common sense

ON for kids age 12
Consumerism
4 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Language
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
Sex
1 out of 5
Violence
3 out of 5

Predictable but fun fight movie has lots of robot action.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this futuristic action drama with a heart is equal parts Rocky and RoboCop. There are tons of brutal (if gripping) scenes of robot combat, some of which gets pretty intense. And it's not just the robots who get into brawls; a beating leaves a key character bloodied. One of the main characters (played by Hugh Jackman) is pretty abhorrent when the movie begins; he's introduced as an irresponsible mess who can't be bothered to care for his own son. He drinks and swears in front of the boy (words include "s--t" and "damn") and even goes so far as to "sell" him (or at least his parental rights) -- though he does change over the course of the movie, which ultimately has a message about redemption and forgiveness.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Charlie and Max's relationship. How do they compare to other fathers and sons you've seen in the media? Are they relatable characters? Role models?
  • How do you feel about boxing, especially when it's all-out like the fights choreographed here? Does the violence have less impact since the robots are the ones primarily involved?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    60%
    reviews counted: 20
    see all Real Steel reviews
  • Audience

    73%

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Its remote-controlled emotional responses leave little room for genuine uplift.

- Bruce Diones, New Yorker, Monday, October 17, 2011

Rotten: Though the premise of fighting robots does seem a plausible and intriguing extension of the contemporary WWE world, Real Steel is hampered by leaden, clichd moments in which a stubborn boy teaches his childish father a valuable lesson.

- Claudia Puig, USA Today, Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fresh: It's 10 percent lovable underdog hokum, 23 percent sentimental family drama and 67 percent rivet-popping punch-ups.

- Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Friday, October 7, 2011

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Although it employs (read wallows) in just about every film clich EVER, this film, set in the near future has enough cool CGI and an underdog mentality to make it passing entertainment; but oh those clichs! From sappy strings in the Danny Elfman score, swelling whenever something heartfelt is perceived; to the entire Dad gets forced to interact with abandoned son, and how they go through rough patches to eventually bond - this one has it all. There's the faithful female role - you know, where there's a hint that there once was a relationship in the sack, but god forbid you let the kiddies in on that secret! So now she's just the faithful sidekick, supporting her man for no good reason and sweetly sighing at his latest failed attempt at being a man (or whatever). There's the obligatory bit of action/drama that takes place in the rain, providing proof that the wethead is NOT dead. There's the slimy woman villain, who of course has a thick Russian accent (nevermind that if it wasn't for her and her money the whole boxing enterprise that everyone is so enamored with wouldn't exist - just sayin'), plus a serious bit of stereotyping in which all the cool tech stuff and those who use em are Japanese. And yet.... The film is somehow worth watching - kind of like Rocky IV - you know what's coming and yet want to root for the knuckleheads just the same. Of course there's the acting, especially that of lead knucklehead Hugh Jackman. He's competent in a stumbling, bumbling kind of way, but I couldn't help feeling that the script covered for him - letting him slide away from any serious acting, the same as in all those 80's Arnold films. Stealing the film is the cherub cheeked Dakota Goyo who plays Jackman's son - a smart ass 11 year old who feels equally comfy spouting lines too wise for his age or giving those big doe eyed looks when he feels vulnerable. The film also has some horrendously obvious bits of product placement by HP, but heck, ya gotta pay the bills somehow, otherwise how are you going to pay the cinematographer? And speaking of which, the film starts out with a nice bit of cinema, seeing the lights of a county fair through the windshield of Jackman's truck - but then, in the most distasteful bit of filming, the script introduces the whole fight bot concept by having Jackman's worn bot take on a fer real bull - not funny and almost made me want to turn the film off... in spite of the fact that the bot's movements were fun to watch. And really, this film is really about the action - just like Rocky IV - forget the lame sub plot and, even though the story is a bit predictable, the CGI generated fighting bots are uber cool. For this aspect alone I give the film a marginal passing grade - it ain't Shakespeare, heck, it isn't even original other than the idea of robots prize fighting, but for those cool fighting scenes and some pretty snazzy looking bots, you could do worse.

- paulsandberg, Monday, November 5, 2012

3 stars

Although it employs (read wallows) in just about every film clich EVER, this film, set in the near future has enough cool CGI and an underdog mentality to make it passing entertainment; but oh those clichs! From sappy strings in the Danny Elfman score, swelling whenever something heartfelt is perceived; to the entire Dad gets forced to interact with abandoned son, and how they go through rough patches to eventually bond - this one has it all. There's the faithful female role - you know, where there's a hint that there once was a relationship in the sack, but god forbid you let the kiddies in on that secret! So now she's just the faithful sidekick, supporting her man for no good reason and sweetly sighing at his latest failed attempt at being a man (or whatever). There's the obligatory bit of action/drama that takes place in the rain, providing proof that the wethead is NOT dead. There's the slimy woman villain, who of course has a thick Russian accent (nevermind that if it wasn't for her and her money the whole boxing enterprise that everyone is so enamored with wouldn't exist - just sayin'), plus a serious bit of stereotyping in which all the cool tech stuff and those who use em are Japanese. And yet.... The film is somehow worth watching - kind of like Rocky IV - you know what's coming and yet want to root for the knuckleheads just the same. Of course there's the acting, especially that of lead knucklehead Hugh Jackman. He's competent in a stumbling, bumbling kind of way, but I couldn't help feeling that the script covered for him - letting him slide away from any serious acting, the same as in all those 80's Arnold films. Stealing the film is the cherub cheeked Dakota Goyo who plays Jackman's son - a smart ass 11 year old who feels equally comfy spouting lines too wise for his age or giving those big doe eyed looks when he feels vulnerable. The film also has some horrendously obvious bits of product placement by HP, but heck, ya gotta pay the bills somehow, otherwise how are you going to pay the cinematographer? And speaking of which, the film starts out with a nice bit of cinema, seeing the lights of a county fair through the windshield of Jackman's truck - but then, in the most distasteful bit of filming, the script introduces the whole fight bot concept by having Jackman's worn bot take on a fer real bull - not funny and almost made me want to turn the film off... in spite of the fact that the bot's movements were fun to watch. And really, this film is really about the action - just like Rocky IV - forget the lame sub plot and, even though the story is a bit predictable, the CGI generated fighting bots are uber cool. For this aspect alone I give the film a marginal passing grade - it ain't Shakespeare, heck, it isn't even original other than the idea of robots prize fighting, but for those cool fighting scenes and some pretty snazzy looking bots, you could do worse.

- paulsandberg, Monday, November 5, 2012

3 stars

In a near future where human boxing has been replaced by bouts fought by giant mechanical robots, an ex-fighter and deadbeat dad bonds with his estranged son while taking a scrapyard reject to the championship. Rocky gets robotic in this borderline sci fi that takes the familiar sporting underdog formula and adds some excellent merchandising opportunities. It's no doubt a very cynical exercise with some blatant product placement to be seen and plenty of colourful robots to line the shelves in Toys R Us but the fact is that the film is extremely accomplished in its execution. Making the fighters robotic rather than human means that the excitement of the bouts is not coloured with the ugly violence of watching two men beat each other to bloody unconsciousness making for a family friendly sports movie much in the vein of The Karate Kid. The kid in question actually shares some decent chemistry with Jackman's likeable jerk and the flashy action scenes are perfectly pitched to get the kids cheering for the heroic "no-hoper". It's corny, contrived and very manipulative (the junkyard rescue scene in particular comes very close to crossing the line into puke inducing) but it works. Extremely predictable but successfully crowd pleasing nonsense that parents should get some enjoyment from too.

- garyX, Wednesday, October 10, 2012