Blu-Ray Review: REAL STEEL Offers Action With A Human Element

Real Steel arrived today on Blu-Ray Hi-Def and DVD from DreamWorks Studios! Visit the not-so-distant future where robots have replaced boxers in the ring. Join a father and son as they take a heartwarming journey to find success and to build the relationship they never had. Directed by Shawn Levy (Night At the Museum franchise, Date Night) and based on a screenplay by John Gatins (Coach Carter, Summer Catch) the action film stars Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand, and Anthony Mackie

I saw this film in theaters and was pleasantly surprised. I was not sure how well Levy could do with a film that is more action than comedy, but he pulled it off. The film's pacing was a bit slow at times, but the fight scenes were well-worth the price of admission. The film was shot digitally, and it looked wonderful on the big screen and Blu-ray. While watching the Bonus Features, I was reminded of how important shooting in digital can be for filmmakers. Having a digital pipeline allows you to check the day's shots to make sure you have everything you need to edit the film and if not, make immediate changes without losing much time. Definitely check out the "Making of Metal Valley" to see more about that process.

The movie was not made with only visual effects, Levy had his effects team build life-size robots at the recommendation of producer Steven Spielberg. What was cool about the robots, is that they each had unique personalities. These personalities could be seen through their design. The "Building the Bots" bonus feature was awesome to see real robots come to life. It was cool to see the real robots being manned by real people. This small aspect of the film made a huge difference to me. The lead robot character of Adam came to life on screen as a result.

Having grown up watching boxing, it was awesome to see Sugar Ray Leonard, who served as a boxing consultant. This added legitimacy to the fight sequences. The moves that you see on the screen are heavily inspired by Leonard. If you love Rocky, Warrior, or The Fighter, then you will love this movie. For those of you who can not stomach the blood of boxing, Real Steel is perfect. The fight scenes are just as powerful, but seeing the robotic parts being smashed apart is different than if you saw blood.

The cast is great, but the best elements for me are Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo. The two have a great chemistry on screen, and are believable as father and son. Goyo has a long career ahead of him, and I hope to see him in more roles. He has a lot of charisma and personality, and when he appears on screen he does a great job of holding his own with seasoned actors. I had hoped to see more of Anthony Mackie in the film, but his part was not as extensive. Kevin Durand did a good job with his southern accent, and is believable as a bad guy as usual.  I have mentioned some of the bonus features of the film already, and they are solid in comparison to others on many discs. What I loved the most about the features, was how involved Levy was throughout. He did not just give his time for a commentary, but was involved in giving descriptions of the deleted scenes. His energy and passion for filmmaking can easily be seen, which is cool to me as a film lover.

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