Real Steel [Blu-Ray] Shawn Levy

Real Steel [Blu-Ray] Shawn Levy
Director Shawn Levy has built a career on not-terrible, light comedies like Date Night and the Night at the Museum franchise. Coupled with his latest film's premise – boxing robots controlled by humans – expectations were certainly low for Real Steel. The film follows Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) as a down on his luck former boxer hawking his wares, which revolve around the low returns that come with a string of low-quality robot fighters, at state fairs. With an eye to paying off his various debts, Kenton agrees to a deal that finds him looking after his long abandoned son, Max, while his aunt and uncle gallivant across Europe in exchange, for a large chunk of change. Unsurprisingly, Max weasels his way onto his dad's robot fighting circuit and the two soon uncover an abandoned sparring bot while hijacking parts in a scrap yard. Like its new owners, this new bot, dubbed Atom, has more heart than skills and the trio set out to prove the world wrong about them. This kind of man and his robot relationship seems better suited to a director like Spielberg, but Levy proves surprisingly adept at balancing the film's heartfelt moments with its action sequences. Those scenes – mostly two CGI robots fighting in a ring – are similarly exhilarating, thanks to some spectacular special effects work that make the bots so believable. Jackman, whose skills as an actor always seem to be overshadowed by Wolverine's mutton chops, delivers a flawless performance in this highly enjoyable flick. The Blu-Ray includes deleted scenes, a blooper reel, a number of making-of and behind-the-scenes features and a fictional ESPN bio of Charlie Kenton and Atom that provides some much needed background as to how bots came to replace humans in the ring. Real Steel wasn't last year's best popcorn flick, but its "us against the world" structure and bold decision to not take itself too seriously make it highly re-watchable. Don't be surprised if you find yourself spending many a lazy Sunday catching this on cable in the coming months. (Buena Vista)