Have you ever played Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots? Apparently some big movie executive in Hollywood did, and since Hollywood doesn't seem to be making original movies anymore, it turned the children's game into a movie.

The surprising thing is that it's actually very good. The year is 2027 and instead of making huge advancements in medicine, curing cancer or solving the issue of world hunger, the world is exactly the same except for the fact that there are now 18-foot robots fighting each other for our amusement instead of boring boxing or the Ultimate Fighting Championship (because let's be honest, what's more entertaining then 18-foot robots fighting each other?).

This is a very basic set-up for "Date Night" director Shawn Levy's "Real Steel." The movie is about ex-boxer and down-on-his-luck promoter Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), who is doing any two-bit fighting gig to pay off his massive debts from previous arrangements. After Charlie loses his robot in a bullfight and loses another bet, he finds out that his ex-girlfriend has died, leaving their 11-year-old son Max (Dakota Goyo), whom Charlie had abandoned.

Charlie, being the smug, greedy, arrogant person that he is, shows up to court wanting to sign over custody of Max to his ex-girlfriend's sister Debra (Hope Davis) and her husband, Marvin, (James Rebhorn). Charlie agrees to keep Max for the summer. Debra and Marvin give Charlie $50,000, which he uses to buy a new robot, named Noisy Boy.

Charlie brings the robot to Bailey (Evangeline Lilly) to check out the new robot.

She's the daughter of the coach who taught Charlie how to box. Noisy Boy gets destroyed in an underground fight ring, and Charlie and Max stumble upon a new robot.

"Real Steel" is a heartwarming father-son tale. I know that might be hard to believe with the brutal robot-on-robot violence, but it's true.

The movie also presents a bit of social commentary about violence being entertaining and how it will get more extreme over time.

All in all, "Real Steel" succeeds on all levels. I hope you give this bot a shot. You won't be disappointed.

Max Fisher is a junior at Leonardo DaVinci High School.


"Real Steel"

Rated PG-13

Review: 4 stars (Out of 4)