09 October 2011
If you're a blissfully ignorant (read: dumb) child you'll love it, but adults are another story. I can't be the only cynical adult who watches movies like this and thinks about how they're made. I mean, somewhere on a soundstage, Hugh Jackman was doing air punches and yelling and there was nothing around him but a crowd of extras. No pumping music in the background, no quick editing and slow-motion. Just a man, his tight tee shirt, and his air punches.
You want a movie with every cliche possible? You got it. Deadbeat dad reunited with his son: check. Precocious, over-caffeinated, wise-beyond-his-years kid: check. (In the kid's defense, the actor was perfect for this part and made the role a nice mix of goofy and sentimental. The kid's a riot and he has good chemistry with Hugh Jackman.) I bet you'd never guess that they come together in the end, that the dad learns from the kid. As an added bonus, you get boxing movie cliches too -- training montages, fight montages, counting-the-money-you're-winning montages (the movie is one big montage), slow-motion fights, screaming crowds, underdogs fighting against all odds, and proud trainers. And lots of air punches.
I could see how under the right (drunk) circumstances, one could enjoy this film. If you're on your own couch, you could air punch and shout right along. A guilty pleasure might involve watching this on HBO by yourself one day, drinking and air punching. Maybe. But if you're a conscious human being, you'll likely sit there and cringe at the whole thing. Real Steel: it's cringe-tastic!