Some movies have the ability to start out with great pedigree then succumb to the nature of being cannibalized by Hollywood. For instance, say a film features two quality producers in the likes of both Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis. Next, add in the fact that the film being adapted is based on a dystopian short story by none other than Richard Matheson. And finally, say the adaptations story is credited to Dan Gilroy (The Bourne Legacy) and Jeremy Leven (Don Juan DeMarco, The Legend of Bagger Vance). This is only some of the behind-the-scenes talent involved with Real Steel, but don’t get your hopes up just yet.
An official adaptation of a Rock’em Sock’em Robots film somehow just feels inevitable with Peter Berg bringing us an alien-infused Battleship and Ridley Scott is trying to get a Monopoly film on the way. But in the meantime we’re left with Wolverine himself, Hugh Jackman, amidst the directing duties of Shawn Levy. Bear in mind this is the same man who’s burdened filmgoers with such calamities as Big Fat Liar, Just Married, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Pink Panther, and two Nights at the Museum.
While the first Museum was arguably passable entertainment it doesn’t hold up to repeat viewings at all. And the only film on his resume worth any attention is the Steve Carrel/Tina Fey venture Date Night. But I’m sure that film had everything to do with the cast involved and nothing to do with the screenplay or direction. Speaking of screenplays, while Gilroy and Leven are credited with the screen story, it’s John Gatins who receives credit for the screenplay. Here’s a man responsible for bringing us such classics as Summer Catch, Hardball, and Coach Carter. What? You don’t remember any of those flicks? Well, unfortunately I do and knowing this bit of information makes me less surprised about some of the machinations, let alone terrified to see what he will wring out for Zemeckis’ first live-action film (Flight) in eleven years.
In the year 2027, I will be 47 years old, but apparently the only thing that will have changed is literally only cell phones. At least as far as the world according to Levy is concerned. Humans in sports have also become a thing of the past and has been replaced by the World Robot Boxing League (WBR) where now we get giant robots; who are probably pretty cheap effects after three Transformers films. In the film however, these robots are far from cheap. They run upwards of $50,000. At least when they’re names consist of Ambush or Noisy Boy. The man behind these robots is Charlie Kenton (Jackman) who is a former boxer who luckily has not let his body go to waste.