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Real Steel (2011)
Courage is stronger than steel.
Filmmaker(s): Shawn Levy

Charlie Kenton is a washed-up fighter who retired from the ring when robots took over the sport. After his robot is trashed, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son to rebuild and train an unlikely contender.

Real Steel (2011)


It seems that a successful Hollywood script is one that seems to do something new by recycling trusted parts of bankable film ideas. This one — to judge from the tickets sold — picked good enough bits. Father stuff; coming of age stuff; techno; Karate Kid; Iron Giant.

But a viewer demographic must be a vexing thing to these factory filmmakers, because some viewers will see the cobbled together being and see parts that were missing, parts that would have made the being stronger. Such was the case with me because I saw this foremost as a boxing movie and I looked for the cinematic thrills that could have been there.

After all, the boxing movie is one of the primary paths where we evolve our notion of the camera. Scorsese of course, but many others brought us novel ways to think about who we are in the choreography of how a closed bit of the world dances.

And that wasn’t here even though our combatants are computer generated and our greatest advances in camera choreography have been in cameras whose placement and movement are not restricted by physical bounds.

Nope. None of that here. We may as well have just been watching muscle cars in a demolition derby.

Boxing, some might say, is the only true sport. One man against another and the first one that cannot continue loses. Sport — at least this notion — is about losing; the dream is about winning. It is a strange thing, the notion of contest. It is between two men, but if it were truly pure, they would go off and conduct the contest in private, as many do with say the contest of chess.

But this seems to have been designed more for spectators. Rules having to do with space. With gloves and rests designed to make it last long enough to be worth traveling to gather in large numbers. Commentary and statistics that one can carry from contest to contest. A personality industry so we believe we have some choice in who we prefer.

These are exploited here, well enough I must admit. But there is no dance.

Posted in 2012

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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