Mojave Flick Review: Real Steel

Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!

Miguel Gonzalez


By Nolan Patrick Smith

High Desert Daily

(Victor Valley) Fighting robots: the concept alone has me sold. Think Rocky mixed with Transformers, and throw in Wolverine. Ok, so not that crazy, almost. Still, fighting robots sounds like it could be a fun flick, and that is what Real Steel is planning on. So, how did the mechanics of the film turn out?

Directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum), the not too distant future film takes us in the life of washed up boxer Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), who now uses robots to fight instead of his own body. Down on his luck, he soon finds himself face to face with his 11-year-old son Max (Dakota Goyo) and everything changes. The film follows the duo to different fights, different arenas and some incredible looking robots. The premise follows along the underdog boxer storyline; the little guy fights his way up and goes toe to toe with the champ, in this case the champ being a massive, unbeaten robot named Zeus.

Jackman once again shows the world he can carry an action flick, as he delivers another great performance. However, Goyo’s portrayal of the son can be annoying and overbearing at times, like Jake Lloyd Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars Episode 1 annoying. Charlie’s love interest Bailey (Evangeline Lilly) does a good job as the devoted but independent other half. The human antagonists are cheap and forgettable, but no one will consider them the threat of the film. No, that role belongs to the golden ticket of this movie, the robots.

Now, I mentioned fighting robots, and they are present in all their glory. From the makeshift robot Metro, who is noticeably made of Metro bus parts, to the Far East legend Noisy Boy, the designs on these mechanical monoliths are truly things of beauty. The matches between the bots are nicely done, packing plenty of impact with every blow. As the film progresses, the robots get stronger and more polished in appearance. The lead bot in the film, Atom, has the look of a humanoid boxer, as to where Zeus looks like he belongs in a Mega Man video game. I see it as a very nice touch, showing a pure machine against one that is more like a human.

All in all, I came out impressed with this flick. The visuals were spot on, the acting was great for the most part, and the story progressed at an appropriate speed. Is the film believable? Absolutely not, but this is one of those films where you need to check your instincts and expectations at the door. This is a fun action flick, a popcorn film, that I think can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

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