It’s late at night and starting to rain. A man and young boy are seen breaking into a junkyard to scavenge parts to build a new fighting robot. Suddenly, the man firmly warns the boy not to move. When the man shines his flashlight where the boy is standing we see he’s standing at the edge of a cliff. The boy smiles thankfully to have avoided what would have probably been a tragic fall.
Without warning, the edge gives way and the boy begins sliding down the cliff only to get caught by a protrusion which leaves him dangling over the blackness below. When the man finally reaches the boy, the man calms him down and orchestrates a careful maneuver where they both end up embraced on the ground. The man reassures the boy with the words, “I got you!” The projection turns out to be arm of vintage sparring robot Adam who the young boy afterwards resurrects from the mud.
The scene described is just one of several heartfelt scenes in the movie Real Steel. The story is set sometime in the near future. Robots have replaced humans as boxers with matches taking place at both sanctioned World Robot Boxing (WRB) league and underground (a la Fight Club) events. The man and young boy were recently united for the first time as father and son.
The man, Charlie Kenton, is played by hunk, Hugh Jackman and the boy, Max Kenton, played by the cheek pinching cutie, Dakota Goyo. Charlie had abandoned his pregnant girlfriend before she gave birth to Max. Eleven years later, Charlie is reluctantly forced to enter his son’s life after his ex-girlfriend’s death.
At the custody hearing, we learn Max’s Aunt Debra and her well-financed husband Uncle Marvin want full custody. Charlie is more than happy to oblige but not before working a backroom deal with Uncle Marvin. For $100,000, with a $50,000 advance, Charlie signs his custody rights over to Debra. As a condition to receive the advance, Charlie agrees to take care of Max over the summer while Marvin and his wife are spending a long Italian Tuscan vacation.
A former boxer, Charlie, now fights robots at underground events. The $50, 000, will be used to catch up on the rent owed to his current girlfriend, Bailey Tallet, who runs the boxing gym of her deceased father, Charlie’s old coach. Charlie uses the remainder of the money to buy a used, once-famous WRB league robot, Noisy Boy and arranges for it to fight the underground circuit’s champion, Midas. Charlie ends up losing control of Noisy Boy during the fight and Midas demolishes Noisy Boy. This brings us to scene first described in the junkyard.
Max recovers Atom from the mud and reconditions him at Bailey’s gym. Charlie and Max then enters Atom in a string of unsanctioned fights where he puts a series of victories together. Atom’s success attracts the attention of WRB promoter who offers Atom a professional fight. The story culminates with Atom fighting the WRB champion, Zeus.
While the movie centers on the boxing robots, the real story is about a father and son who are able to reconnect through their shared love of boxing. Through Atom, the Charlie and Max are able to learn to trust and eventually love each other. This is a terrific movie to take your son and make it a memorable stepfather and son event. Nathaniel and I saw the movie and we both enjoyed it and I know you will too.