October 17, 2011 12:00 PM

Real Steel

Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo PG-13 |

ACTION

Robots beat each other up. If you’re looking for something more emotionally stimulating than, say, your microwave kicking the crumbs out of your toaster, you’re in the wrong theater. In Real Steel’s not-too-distant future, robot boxing is our chief entertainment, and hustlers like Charlie Kenton (Jackman) pit their rust buckets against others for cash. Of course a jerk like Charlie would have a son he barely knows: Max (Goyo), smarter and more mature than his old man. Goyo has sly fun with the role, as Max finds an old sparring ‘bot in a scrap yard and trains it to be a contender. In fact he’s the best human part of a movie that’s all about the machines. Yes, the fights are fun (and fine for kids). Real Steel turns Atom into Rocky Balboa, an underdog moviegoers will cheer as much as the crowd onscreen, especially as he takes on champ Zeus. We end up feeling more for the robot than we do for Charlie. But then so does Max.

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