Hugh Jackman's latest movie 'Real Steel', set in a world in which boxing is illegal and fans pay to watch violent robots battle it out, has taken a beating by critics ahead of its release on Friday (8th October 2011). The majority of criticism focuses on the movie's dependence on themes already explored in the Rocky and Transformers franchises.
The Hollywood Reporter's Todd MCCarthy suggested "Rocky the Robot would have been the most accurate title for this bot", adding the movie felt like a "mash up of spare parts" from The Champ and Star Wars. Writing in the New York Times, Stephen Holden noted, "One thing missing is a genuine love story", while Rolling Stone's Peter Travers slammed the movie, saying, "The tear-jerking in Real Steel is as shameless as its product placement. We're being hustled". One element of the film that impressed critics was the standout performance of 11-year-old actor Dakota Goyo, who plays Jackman's on screen son. Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times, noted, "In the role of 11-year-old, newly motherless Max, he is the saving grace of Real Steel, helping not only to bring out the humanity in Atom (the underdog robot).but sparking a flicker of life in Jackman".
'Real Steel', directed on a reported budget of $80 million by Shawn Levy, hits cinemas in the U.S. from Friday. Jackman will soon begin work on Tom Hooper's big screen adaptation of Les Miserables.