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"Real Steel" - {Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Touchstone / Disney
Genre:
Action
Release Date:
January 24, 2012
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

Director Shawn Levy ("Night At the Museum")manages to combine Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots with Rocky (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging) and elements of Richard Matheson's story "Steel" (which was previously adapted for The Twilight Zone: Season 4 [Blu-ray]) to create an entertaining science fiction adventure and crowd pleaser with heart.***

SPOILERS:***

Former boxer Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) coulda been a contender but now he carts his boxing robot to and from events like carnivals for a quick buck while avoiding his gambling debts and trying to help his girlfriend Bailey (Evangeline Lily)keep her gym afloat. Charlie's world changed when boxing became about robots NOT people.***

Charlie becomes a reluctant father when a former girlfriend dies and his son Max (Dakota Goyo)needs a guardian. Rather than fight the boy's aunt (Hope Davis) for the boy, Charlie "sells" his son to her wealthy husband but agrees to keep the boy during the summer so that they can travel to Europe wihtout the boy. Charlie plans on using the money to buy a new robot that will allow him to continue to make a living but when the boy discovers a junked sparring robot named ATOM with unique programming, Charlie and Max discover a bond they didn't realize they had AND manage to make it to the show--a boxing match with Zeus.***

END OF SPOILERS:***

Levy does a good job of balancing sentiment with action and while the hand of Steven Spielberg is evident in the script structure of the film, Levin makes the film his own. The script by John Gatins (based on Matheson's story as well an earlier screenplay by Dan Gilory and Jeremey Leven that the bulk of this film is drawn from)creates memorable characters and gives Jackman and his co-stars good material to work with.***

Image & Sound:

The Blu-ray looks marvelous with a richly detailed presentation. The gritty look of the film is maintained and blacks are deep and rich throughout. The film is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1.***

The lossless 24 bit 7.1 soundtrack sounds terrific whether listening on a 5.1 (which is what I have) or even in stereo.***

Special Features:

(Blu-ray exclusive)"Real Steel Second Screen" which allows you to watch the film with director Levy but you have to download an iPad app for this and either watch it on your iPad or use via BD Live (I watched it with the iPad app)so you're essentially watching two screens at once for comparison acting as sort of a commentary track.***

(Blu-ray exclusive)"Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman's Champ" takes us behind-the-scenes showing Leonard working with Jackman and those who did the CGI and practical effects robots to make the boxing look convincing.***

(Blu-rary exclusive)"Countdown to the Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story" is a 15 minute piece that gives us the rise and fall of Kenton as a boxer in character the entire time presented like an ESPN real special.***

"The Making of Metal Valley" focuses on one sequence in the film rather than giving us a typical "making of" featurette on the whole film allowing a bit more depth on the making of the sequence where Max and Charlie discover ATOM.***

"Building the Bots", a blooper reel and deleted scenes round out the extras.***

There are two Blu-ray editions I know of--a three disc set with a digital copy and a two disc set with Blu-ray and DVD set. I have the latter. There's also the DVD set as well.

Final Words:

"Real Steel" is an entertaining and great looking Blu-ray with some great special features.** Recommended.***

 

 
 
 
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