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Rocky with Robots

A recent trend in movies is to take a successful toy range and turn it into a movie. Battleships is coming out soon, and we’ve already had films based on popular Eighties toys like G.I. Joe and Transformers1. Real Steel seems to follow in this tradition by being based on Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots2. For those of you not familiar with the toy, it features a two robots in a boxing ring, and you pound buttons until one of the robots gets hit in the jaw and pops.

The movie follows pretty much in the same vein. It’s a boxing movie with giant robots in it. It’s set in world where people have grown bored of watching two adults pound the hell out of each with their limbs and instead pay to watch two robots being guided by adults pound the hell out of each other instead.

Man I used to pound the hell out of those things

The plot of the movie is pretty straight forward. Hugh Jackman plays down-on-his luck ex-boxer who lacks the patience and outlook to do well at the new hi-tech sport, making his way with the scraps he can find. Along comes his estranged, 11-year-old son, played by Dakota Goyo3, and together, after more than a little heartache, a lot of Father/Son bonding/arguments and buckets they team up to bring us buckets of robot on robot action.

Is it cheesy? Hell yes. Is it schmaltzy? Again, yes. Is it fun? You betcha. The baddies are nicely bad, the heroes are flawed yet sympathetic and you really find yourself rooting for the heroes at the end. They’ve blended every ‘kid does good’ and ‘Boxer on the come back tour’ movie together, and added giant robots, and it works. The robots look great, the acting does the job it’s supposed to and again, and it made my inner-eleven-year-old make little happy sound.

Now where’s my Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots…

1: I do wonder if they’ll do Visionaries. It’d probably be in 3D, but hey, Visionaries…
2: A toy, that wikipedia tells me, came out in the 60’s. It must have been still around in the 80’s, because I had a ‘made in Hong Kong’ version and it was one of favourite toys when I growing up. (And I know it’s not actually based on the toy, but it’s funnier this way.)
3: last seen as young Thor, in Thor. And surprisingly not saccharine for mop-topped blonde kid.

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  1. October 24, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I wonder if they could do Visionaries all in 2D except for the holograms.

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