Real Steel 2011

Critics score:
60 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: A toy tie-in, an overlong movie that takes on some of the grimy veneer and colorful characters of a "boxing picture," sanitizing it for children. Read more

David Germain, Associated Press: It's hard to buy into the notion that fans could ever be as rabid to watch a couple of machines tear each other apart as they are to see two men sweating and straining and bleeding on the canvas. Without human consequence, where's the drama? Read more

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly: Demonstrates the way CGI-
driven bot cinema can fruitfully coexist with father-and-son bonding cinema to create charming entertainment - part warm hugs and part cold clang. Read more

Soren Anderson, Seattle Times: Imagine what you'd get if you squished "Rocky" and "WALL-E" together in a giant industrial press: a gooey, drippy mess, leaking lubricant and metal shards all over the factory floor. Read more

James Rocchi, MSN Movies: Real Steel is a well-made, well-managed family fighting fantasy that combines high tech and low aspirations to go the distance in fairly lightweight fashion. Read more

Stephen Holden, New York Times: All things considered, it is a well-wrought piece of entertainment, confidently paced, although its necessary subplots are little more than dutiful filler sandwiched between fight sequences. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: The element that lingers longest is a subtle strand ... of recessionary anxiety. Read more

Scott Tobias, AV Club: Real Steel falls somewhere near the intersection of elation and shame, essentially reworking the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling non-classic Over The Top for the equally ridiculous sport of android fisticuffs, and mostly getting away with it. Read more

Randy Cordova, Arizona Republic: The movie really comes to life during the marvelous boxing sequences, which are often drop-dead exciting. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: The movie uses every trick it can to pull this off, which means using us. But to paraphrase Bill Withers, I want to spread the news that if it feels this good getting used, then keep on using me until you use me up. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: I suspect a lot of what I found synthetic and sort of galling in "Real Steel" will work just fine with the target audience. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: They should call this overloud, underwhelming movie Real Steal. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Aas the plot proceeds from boy-meets-dad verbal sparring to an uneasy peace to the underdog-vs.- champion title bout, it becomes increasingly easy to forgive its many nicks. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Real Steel is a blast, an unabashed crowd-pleaser that mixes Rocky, Transformers, video games and father-son bonding to great, if corny, effect. Read more

Eric D. Snider, Surely a story as elementary and essentially derivative as this one could be told in less than 127 minutes. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: This punishingly predictable tale will test whether sci-fi action fanboys can stomach having their cherished genre infiltrated by sentimental hokum about a down-on-his-luck dad and his spunky long-lost son. Read more

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: Neither as bad as it sounds nor quite as good as it could be, although the 9-year-old bruiser next to me pummeled the armrest, spilled his soda and screamed "awesome" through every one of the fight scenes. Read more

Bruce Diones, New Yorker: Its remote-controlled emotional responses leave little room for genuine uplift. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: While the sappy boy-and-his-robot drama pales next to the terrific "The Iron Giant," the actual 'bot battles are vicarious fun. Read more

Linda Holmes, NPR: Real Steel is ridiculous, but it is not dispiriting. If you're going to make this movie, it should be made just this way, with commitment, verve and a complete disregard for physics, robotics and environmentalism. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Feels as if it were made inside the mind of a kid obsessed with robots. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: It's so virtual, so distant from the thrill, that you wonder what the point is. Do you really want to pay to watch an actor playing a kid who in turn plays what amounts to a video game? Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: This is real movie making that packs a solid entertainment punch, proving it doesn't matter what the genre is if genuinely talented and dedicated people are pulling the strings instead of hacks. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: Yes, it's unapologetically sentimental (and sometimes unapologetically cheesy), but Shawn Levy's film has an irresistible force. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: By the time the two hour running length has expired, it's safe to say that Real Steel comes across as a legitimate crowd-pleaser. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Thanks to an admittedly corny script, some amazing fight scenes, and a terrific cast, "Real Steel's" actually a winner by split decision. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: "Real Steel" is a real movie. It has characters, it matters who they are, it makes sense of its action, it has a compelling plot. This is the sort of movie, I suspect, young viewers went to the "Transformers" movies looking for. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: The tear-jerking in Real Steel is as shameless as its product placement. We're being hustled. Read more

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: You've probably seen toy commercials that present a more thoughtful dystopian future. And yet, in the moment, this film will make you want to do nothing except stuff your face with more. Read more

Forrest Wickman, Slate: Real Steel, a heartwarming sci-fi sports movie about a father and son who reunite through robot boxing, testifies to the formidable power of ridiculousness. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: It's 10 percent lovable underdog hokum, 23 percent sentimental family drama and 67 percent rivet-popping punch-ups. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: What it lacks is the human element. Charlie is more of a rat than a rascal, and instead of working hard to build and operate his robots, he's literally going through the motions. Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: [Real Steel] borrows so much from other films that it might better be titled Reel Steal: not only from The Champ, but from Rocky, the Transformers movies and even some Star Wars. Read more

Leah Rozen, TheWrap: There's nothing real about Real Steel except its shameless desire to please by going where better and more successful movies have gone before. Read more

Mary F. Pols, TIME Magazine: The story remains sadly mired in botdom, which leads to some boredom. Read more

Tom Huddleston, Time Out: Satisfyingly sturdy and no-nonsense, a multiplex monster smartly constructed from tried-and-trusted parts. Read more

Bruce Demara, Toronto Star: Lovers of blood sport action ... are going to enjoy the well-staged fighting sequences ... while tender hearts seeking emotional depth will find the father-son conflict reasonably engaging. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: Though the premise of fighting robots does seem a plausible and intriguing extension of the contemporary WWE world, Real Steel is hampered by leaden, cliched moments in which a stubborn boy teaches his childish father a valuable lesson. Read more

Peter Debruge, Variety: Though set in a future where boxing has gotten so intense only high-tech robots have what it takes to compete, Real Steel still trusts a good, old-fashioned father-son drama to deliver the thrills. Read more

Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice: Atom is complimented by a ringside announcer for displaying a fighting style that's "almost human." This is about the highest praise the mechanistic, spare-parts melodrama of Real Steel deserves. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: A slightly soggy tale of father-son bonding, crossed with an action-adventure flick about high-tech battle-bots. Read more