REAL STEEL - Blu-ray Combo Pack
by David S. Lane

When I first saw this movie preview in the theater, I knew the futuristic robot boxing story sounded familiar. I fondly remember watching the Twilight Zone episode titled "Steel", which was based on the Richard Matheson short story (first published in May 1956). A very interesting tale of the future (circa 1974)... where boxing between human fighters had been criminalized and the sport only survived by using humanoid-looking fighting robots. When the main character's robot is damaged, he has to decide whether to forfeit the match and not get paid or take the robots place in the boxing ring.

Although the story was an inspiration, "Real Steel" is a great modernization that takes events to a whole new level with CGI robot boxing action. The year is now 2020, human boxers have been replaced by robot boxers and high-stakes are waged through the World Robot Boxing (WRB) league. The main character Charlie Kenton (played by Hugh Jackman) is a washed-up former boxer who owns an out-of-date model robot. To make a living, he must use every cent to keep his robot in fighting condition to compete in unsanctioned matches and underground exhibitions (such as his robot fighting against a bull).

Following a string of bad luck and mounting debts from every underground promoter, Charlie is informed his ex-girlfriend has died, and that he must attend a hearing to decide who will take custody of his son Max. He cuts a deal with Max's wealthy uncle to give up custody in exchange for $100,000. However, he must take care of Max for three months while the couple goes away for the summer on a second honeymoon.

Charlie plans to drop Max off at his friends boxing gym, since her deceased father was his old boxing coach. He then buys a once-famous WRB robot called Noisy Boy, and arranges for it to fight the illegal circuit's champion. However, he discovers his son Max follows the sport and winds up helping him get the robot ready for action in the ring.

The duo continues to bond as the search a robot junkyard for more parts to keep his robot fighting. Max falls over a ledge, where he is snagged on the arm of an old buried robot. Max feels that he owes the robot and digs him up and gives him the name Atom. Charlie reluctantly brings the robot back to their gym, where they all discover it is an obsolete Generation-2 sparring robot built in 2014. Atom has been designed to sustain massive damage, but is unable to deal much damage itself. Charlie needing money, decides to train the robot personally and enter him into the underground matches.

I'll leave the story at that point to say the overall events are a great mix of feel-good Rocky-style storyline as well as very impressive CGI robot action. It is both a father-son drama and Transformers-style robot boxing movie combined in a neat package for all to enjoy.

I would recommend getting this movie for your home viewing as DreamWorks packs a lot of punch when it comes to their movies. Plus, you get lots of features on the Blu-ray including deleted and extended scenes as well as behind-the-scenes documentaries.

The REAL STEEL Blu-ray Combo Pack includes...

* Blu-ray & DVD versions


* Countdown to the FightóThe Charlie Kenton Story

* Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornermanís Champ

* Deleted and Extended Scenes with introductions by Shawn Levy

* Making of Metal Valley

* Building the Bots

* Bloopers & more!