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Real Steel (Blu-ray)
Blu-ray/DVD Reviews

Real Steel (Blu-ray)

An odd pairing of the spectacle of Transformers with the heart of Rocky that works, creating a fun movie the whole family can enjoy.

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With robot hits like Transformers dominating the movie scene these days, it was only a matter of time before a film featuring giant robots fighting one-on-one would finally come our way. A decent box-office success during its theatrical run last fall, Real Steel manages to mix the fun and spectacle of gigantic robots with the heart of boxing films like Rocky, making for an action-packed drama that will have the whole family cheering. And now that it’s available on Blu-ray, fans everywhere can pick up a ringside seat to enjoy the show again and again.

While the premise may sound like a strange mix of Transformers, Rocky, and the classic Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots toys, the end result that is Real Steel actually works. It’s one of those movies that the whole family can watch together and have a good time doing so. My fellow reviewer Chris Pandolfi wasn’t too impressed with what he saw in theaters back in October, which you can read a snippet below or his whole review right HERE:

“Loosely adapted from Richard Matheson’s short story “Steel,” the film takes place in the not-too-distant future, at which point specially designed robots have replaced humans as boxing champions. People have grown weary of ordinary mortal matches, in which the risk of injury far exceeded the risk of death; they now want to see fighters tearing each other apart limb from limb, apparently because the tolerance for violence and destruction has grown disturbingly high. Hence the robots, which by definition have no legal rights and are unburdened by morality. Destroy as many as you want – another one can always be built. The message is obvious, but fascinating just the same: While an individual is free to like whatever he or she likes, the masses hold sway over what is and isn’t entertaining. I’m suddenly reminded of the Transformers trilogy, which, despite its status as brain-killing garbage, has earned billions at the box-office. Maybe we shouldn’t always give the people what they want.”

While Chris didn’t care for the film much, I thought it made for a well done popcorn flick that works a lot better at home on Blu-ray. Sure there’s plenty of  clichéd parts (father abandons son, tries to make amends years later to get his life back on track but fails until he succeeds, etc), but what fun movies don’t have those parts? I also enjoyed the fight scenes with the robots, as they’re pretty intense and are amazing to see in action. Then again, I’m a sucker for giant robots pummeling each other into bits.

And seeing them in action on Blu-ray is where it’s at, as the film transfer is spot on, which is paramount for a movie featuring CG animated battling bots. Every color and detail shows up just like it should, so you’ll see every bolt and wire on the bots, and even Hugh Jackman’s famous stubble with no trouble at all. The audio is just as detailed, with a nice 7.1 DTS-HD track that’ll take you down for the count with its amazing bass effects from the robots fighting, to the crystal clear dialogue.

There’s a couple of knockout special features here, such as “Countdown to the Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story” in which we’re shown a 14-minute fake documentary of how Hugh Jackman’s character went from regular boxer to robot boxing. “Making of Metal Valley” shows how the one of the film’s fighting areas was created, while “Building the Bots” goes into detail on how some of the metallic brawlers were made. “Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman’s Champ” gives viewers an inside look at how the world famous boxer served as the technical advisor for the movie and all the boxing techniques that were used in the film. There’s also about 20 minutes worth of some deleted and extended scenes, and some pretty funny outtakes and bloopers showing off the cast improvising or flubbing their lines with hilarious results.

While it may have a ridiculous premise that draws inspiration from every source it can, Real Steel still manages to be a fun movie that features a great mix of action, drama, and spectacle that  fans of the Transformers and Rocky films are sure to love. And it’s even better on Blu-ray, as the disc is loaded with enough special features to keep things interesting after the bell sounds. Yes, it’s essentially Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots: The Movie, but you just can’t go wrong with a touching drama mixed in with some intense robot fighting action that will have you cheering long after the film ends. Do yourself a favor and step into the ring with this Blu-ray, as this is one movie you’ll be glad you sparred with.

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Touchstone / Disney


About the Author: Chris Mitchell