Real Steel (2011) 
Blu-ray Action-Adventure
Written by Noah Fleming   
Monday, 23 January 2012

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It is becoming more and more rare that I end up agreeing with the mass public about the status of a recent film.  Perhaps I am becoming obsolete in terms of what is deemed a good movie nowadays. Or maybe I am just too jaded.  Either way, I will continue on here with my thoughts on “Real Steel.”

Somehow this film is rated by many critics and the general population as one of the best movies of 2011.  I’m sorry.  I just don’t see it.  Not even remotely.  It is beyond contrived with acting the teeters on acting.  It is just that simple.  Anyone who can’t see at least a dozen previously released films rolled up in this one obviously hasn’t seen very many films.

“Real Steel” is more than just predictable, contrived, derivative.  This film is the first film that was predictable from the moment the first image the screen.  I’m not kidding.  Any watcher should be able to immediately predict the uneven pacing, emotional beats, “plot” elements and eventual outcome.  I for one am tired of films where the characters can’t learn a simple lesson just so the film can be dragged on and on, prolonging the inevitable.  How many times have you seen the stubborn lead character who repeats the same hot-headed, act without thinking actions over and over again just to come to a conclusion at the end that he should slow down and think about others and the consequences?  Personally, I have lost count.

Sure there are some cool moments in the film.  I am referring to the robot boxing sequences.  Everything else in between is just filler.  There is no hook to the story.  It is just the same story about a father who gets a chance to get to know his son whom he has long forgotten, but told with boxing robots.

On top of all this, the end comes with the all too expected outcome.  Hollywood is going through this trend where they are trying not to make films with Hollywood endings.  In doing so, they have redefined what a Hollywood ending is…an ending that tries not to be a Hollywood ending. Confusing?  Sorry.  I tried.  I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that it is neither pro nor con, neither up nor down, neither champion nor loser.  Yawn.

If there is something that this film has going for it, it is the Blu-ray release.  Another spectacular Blu-ray with an underwhelming film.

The video quality is tremendous.  The level of detail is extraordinary.  Every part of the robot can be easily distinguished.  Facial textures and costumes are impeccably rendered.  The colors are subdued but still warm.  The fleshtones are warm without being overbearing.  The contrast levels are nicely balanced with the brightness levels making shadow delineation vast.  The transfer is clean of any artifacting, noise reduction or edge enhancement.  Just stellar.

The audio quality is a breath of fresh air for those with proper surround setups.  The DTS-HD MA 7.1 native audio track is full and enveloping.  You will experience quite the immersion factor when playing back this disc.  The surround back channels go beyond the normal bleed of music score, and contain discrete sound effects.  Panning and directionality is top notch.  The dialogue is nicely weighted and balanced in the center.  The LFE channel packs quite the punch when it comes to the rock ‘em, sock ‘em robot battles.  The bass spreads nicely throughout the room.  Dynamics are vast and effective.

“Real Steel” comes in two packages.  One has a Blu-ray and DVD Copy.  The other has a Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy.  The special features remain the same between the two packages.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray are some deleted/extended scenes with introductions by the director, the second screen function, and “Countdown To The Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story.”  The latter is a mockumentary.  The remaining bonus materials are available on both the Blu-ray and DVD.  “Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman’s Champ” looks at the legendary boxer’s contributions to the film.  “Making Of Metal Valley” takes a look at the making of a scene.  “Building The Bots” is self-explanatory.  There are also bloopers and a director audio commentary.

“Real Steel” is a yawn-fest when it comes to the story. The battling robots are cool and the audio and video qualities are astounding.  It is just too bad that Hollywood insists on making these pictures without a solid story and script.  Avoid this for anything but the quality of the disc.
Studio Touchstone Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyd, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand
Director Shawn Levy
Film Release Year 2011
Release Year 2012
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080p (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Running Time 2 hrs. 7 mins.
Sound Formats English DTS-HD Master 7.1 • English DVS 2.0 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 • French DTS-HD Hi-Res 7.1
Subtitles English SDH • French • Spanish
Special Features Deleted Scenes; Director Audio Commentary; Bloopers; “Countdown To The Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story”; “Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman’s Champ”; “Making Of Metal Valley”; “Building The Bots”; DVD Copy; Second Screen
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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