|$||70.1M||Star Trek Into Darkness|
|$||35.7M||Iron Man 3|
|$||23.9M||The Great Gatsby (2013)|
|$||3.2M||Pain & Gain|
|As of May 22, 2013|
As the cameras begin rolling Charlie Kenton's (Jackman) life is in profound disarray. He has lost his last junket robot in a steal versus cattle grudge match, which in sooth was a real piece of s-crap metal to begin with. One of Kenton's nemeses challenges him to a winner take all match. After losing in a humiliating fashion, he is forced to retreat rather than go bankrupt paying off his gambling debt. During this time of defeat and financial squalor, Kenton is approached by deliverymen from the courthouse. It turns out he has an eleven year old son whom he abandoned near birth. The mother recently died and his presence has been requested at the custody hearing.
At the hearing Kenton makes a deal with his son's elderly and filthy rich uncle (played by James Rebhorn). He accepts a $50,000 bribe to maintain custody through the end of the summer until Max's (Dakota Goyo) aunt (portrayed by Hope Davis) and Uncle return from their Italian escape (rich jargon for paradisiacal vacation getaway). Naturally, Max is thrilled at the idea of being sold like piece of chattel by his absentee parent, but they quickly discover a similar hobby that will unite them. Without fail when Kenton is in jeopardy he retreats to his best friend Bailey Tallet's (Evangeline Lilly) gymnasium. Bailey is the strong, silent and supportive type. She remembers Kenton from years past when he was a championship boxing slugger and when she loved him dearly despite his faults.
At this precise moment, while kindling a mutual appreciation of robot boxing with his newfound son, Kenton blows most of his 50K by purchasing a special Japanese robot (Noisy Boy) fresh off a world tour. He intends to enter the robot against a local champion, the indomitable Midas (with the Midas touch to be sure). Rather than heeding his son's advice by learning how to properly control and maneuver Noisy Boy before risking all in combat, Kenton winds up with a broken beyond repair piece of junk for his troubles.
Returning to Tallet's gym empty handed causes Bailey to go into a rage. She is finally tired of Kenton's mishandling of his life and is ready to quit on him. Kenton is forced to take his son to a salvage junkyard on a pitch black and rainy evening. Max's sure footing turns into an avalanche and he is saved from certain death only by his father's rescue and by a discarded robot buried in the collapsed heap. In the debris lies the bridge between father and son and the difference maker in the world of robot fighters. Only Max saw its potential at the time, but things quickly escalate. The robot's name is Atom and he has a shadow capacity. He is smaller than most fighters and was designed to be a sparring partner rather than a prize fighter, but that does not mean he is any less durable or capable. Before all is said and done, Atom turns out to be a world class fighter that defies all odds. He is trained by Kenton to be a brawler, and a Sugar Ray Leonard style tactician.
Truly, Hugh Jackman makes mountains out of molehills. The movie seemed to be going nowhere during its first minutes. Only through Jackman's innate talent at drawing viewers into his vortex of awesomeness is the movie not only saved but thoroughly enhanced. Dakota Goyo has a bright future in acting. He reminds me of Freddy Highmore but he is far more versatile at expressing emotions. Evangeline Lilly is more than capable and does not act melodramatically at the wrong times as many current actresses are guilty of. The fighting scenes remind me of HBO's Championship Boxing at its finest. The robots are not technologically all that advanced but unlike an Arthur Clarke science fiction novel, Real Steel is only 7 years in the future. Its special effects are not inconceivable, and they appear ever-read on stunning Blu-ray. Real Steel has been nominated for the 2012 Academy Awards for its grand Visual Effects. Jackman handles the script's flaws with considerable aplomb, and his steadfast performance clicks on all cylinders and circuits. Two enthusiastic and twirling metal fists up for the whole family.
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