It’s a time when the public’s thirst for violence and carnage is greater than what mere mortal athletes can give––or take. It’s a world in which boxing has evolved to the point where men no longer compete against each other––robots have replaced pugilists. Welcome to the world of “Real Steel”!
In DreamWorks Pictures’ gritty, white‐knuckle action ride, Hugh Jackman stars as Charlie Kenton, a washed‐up boxer in the near‐future who, because his sport has been taken over by 8‐foot steel robots, now lives in a world where he doesn’t fit in. With no fights and no prospects, Charlie is forced to hustle as a small‐time robot fight promoter. He earns just enough money to survive by piecing together low‐end “bots” and traveling from one seamy underground boxing venue to the next for whatever prizefight he can wrangle for his automatons. Just when things can’t become any more desperate and complicated, his estranged 10‐year‐old son Max (Dakota Goyo) suddenly and unwillingly comes back into his life.
The alienated father/son duo reluctantly team up to rebuild and train a scrap‐heap robot and turn it into a boxing contender. As stakes in the brutal, no‐holds‐barred fighting arenas are raised, against all odds Charlie gets one last shot at a comeback, and Max discovers that, win or lose, life holds more for him than he ever expected.
Exploring the deeper depths of the story, director Shawn Levy experienced it as a tale of redemption for three lost and forgotten souls. “The main characters––a father, his son and a machine––are each abandoned beings,” Levy says. “All three of them have been cast aside and forgotten. The substance of the story is about how this trinity has a chance of returning to grace.”
The idea of boxing robots was a provocative one for Levy who is widely regarded for his box-office hit comedies “Night at the Museum” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” When DreamWorks first presented him with the idea for “Real Steel” he says he was attracted to the project because of the pitch from Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider. “They called me up and talked about what at first sounded like a crazy idea for a movie,” Levy recalls of his initial response to the story. “Of course I was super‐flattered, but I was on the fence about the premise. Then I read the script. What I found was an opportunity to make an emotional father/son/sports movie. That was galvanizing for me.”
Levy grew up not only as a fan of boxing but also as an ardent admirer of boxing movies such as “Raging Bull” and the “Rocky” series of films. “Even the not-so-great ones are awesome because there’s usually an underdog hero and you want him to have a comeback and to give his all and ultimately triumph,” the director says. “‘Real Steel’ is absolutely an homage to those boxing movies that I watched with my brothers fifty times.”
Although “Real Steel” is an action movie complete with visually remarkable American landscapes and big‐action spectacles, director Levy did not want to rely simply on either the wide‐open vistas or fantastic robot machinery in order to explore the relationships in the story. “For me, this movie couldn’t be just big and loud and cool,” Levy says. “That would have been unoriginal. The screenplay had a unique human heart at its core, so the movie had to be an interesting hybrid of badass action and scale, with a really sincere and warm‐hearted story that is ultimately about salvation.”
Opening soon across the Philippines in IMAX and regular theaters, “Real Steel” is a DreamWorks Picture to be distributed locally by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.