Real Steel

Apparently chiefly inspired by the loads of money generated by robots smashing into one another in the Transformers films, executive producer Steven Spielberg helps orchestrate more metallic mayhem in Real Steel, in which a tremendous technical polish is brought to bear upon what is frequently a rather awkward grafting of family drama and overblown, futuristic boxing tale. The nature of its conceit all but obliges Real Steel end with estranged father holding son aloft in his arms, but it's of course how viewers are taken to that point that matters. And while its stabs at emotionalism are sincere, director Shawn Levy's movie never once shakes free of the feeling that it owes its entire existence to external market forces. Still, if one can shrug off the story flaws, the film's undeniable gloss and special effects proficiency are what help keep it bobbing and weaving, allowing it to intermittently connect. The interplay between humans and robots is extraordinarily believable; scale is consistent, and never betrayed. For the full, original review, from Screen International, click here. (Disney, PG-13, 127 minutes)


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