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For months now we've been referring somewhat derisively to Real Steel as "Hugh Jackman's robot boxing movie," which, OK, was probably a little unfair. Yes, the movie is being directed by Shawn Levy, who is responsible for both Night at the Museum movies and not exactly a master of subtlety, but who knows, maybe boxing robots can have depth?
Believe it or not, that's actually what Levy was going for. Out promoting his new movie Date Night, Levy told Coming Soon that the movie's tone is like Rocky, and "the look is gritty naturalistic. The robots are motion-captured, but the look of the movie is Training Day."
While we've known all along that the movie is a father-son story-- Canadian child actor Dakota Goyo stars alongside Jackman-- it seems much darker than I ever would have expected. In this future world of robot boxing, actual boxers like Jackman's character are set adrift. "Hugh is a boxer. He can't do the only thing he was ever good at anymore. So he travels the United States buying and selling these robots looking for fights. Into his life comes the son he walked out on at birth. It's about a return to grace." And while the movie will be another chance to gawk at Jackman's pecs, it won't exactly be Wolverine 2: "In the movie, he'll still be awesome looking and big, but not quite his Wolverine six pack and not quite in the shape he could be because this is a guy who lives out of his truck traveling the American landscape eking out a living."
I still expect this movie to be at least a little bit goofy-- most sci-fi usually is-- but I will admit, I'm a little more intrigued that I was before. Yes, Shawn Levy, you've gotten me to take you seriously. Don't waste this!