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Real Steel | 2011

Real Steel filming location: GM Renaissance Center, Detroit Riverwalk, Detroit
Real Steel filming location: ‘New York’s Bing Arena’, where Atom faces the mighty Zeus: GM Renaissance Center, Detroit Riverwalk, Detroit
Real Steel poster

A change of genre for director Shawn Levy (Cheaper By The Dozen, The Pink Panther remake) with a Steven Spielberg-produced story of robot boxing.

Set mainly in a futuristic ‘Texas’, the movie was made entirely in Michigan, around the Motor City, Detroit. Even the ‘San Leandro’ fairground, where Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) pits his ’bot Ambush against a live bull, was built from scratch on local farmland.

About 70 miles west of Detroit, in the town of Mason, stands Ingham County Courthouse, 341 South Jefferson Street, which became ‘Ingham County Texas’, the courthouse, where reckless Charlie unwillingly gets custody of his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo).

Real Steel filming location: Detroit Fire Department, West Larned Street, Detroit
Real Steel filming location: ‘Tallet’s Gym’, where Charlie works on his new robot, Noisy Boy: Detroit Fire Department, West Larned Street, Detroit

Full marks to you if you noticed the extraordinary number of doors into ‘Tallet’s Gym’, owned by Bailey Tallet (Evangeline Lilly), where Charlie works on his new robot, Noisy Boy. That’s because it’s a fire-station – the Detroit Fire Department HQ, 250 West Larned Street at Washington Boulevard in the heart of downtown (you can see Bruce Wayne whizz by the same building as he avoids the fireball in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice).

Unfortunately, Noisy Boy goes on to lose an arm – and his head – to Midas at ‘Crash Palace’. This vast space is the old Ford Model T factory at 91 Manchester Avenue in Highland Park. There are no CGI extensions – this is the real plant dating from 1910, where Henry Ford revolutionised the automobile industry with the introduction of the assembly line.

Real Steel filming location: Silverdome, Featherstone Road, Pontiac
Real Steel filming location: the ‘Starblaze Arena’, where Charlie first sees the awesome Zeus: Silverdome, Featherstone Road, Pontiac

It’s northwest of Detroit, to the city of Pontiac, to find the ‘Starblaze Arena’. When Charlie goes looking for a partner to help buy a new robot and first sees the awesome Zeus, it’s at the famous 80,000-seat Silverdome, 1200 Featherstone Road. Built in the mid-Seventies as home of football team the Detroit Lions, it’s struggled a bit since they relocated to Detroit’s Ford Field in 2002.

Pontiac, which gave its name to the classic car made in the city, is used again in the 2012 remake of Red Dawn.

Real Steel filming location: Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Belle Isle, Detroit
Real Steel filming location: Atom gets his first fight against Metro at ‘Shaefer Zoo’: Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Belle Isle, Detroit

Back in the city proper, Atom gets his first fight, against Metro, and wins $2000 for young Max, at the ramshackle ‘Shaefer Zoo’. The ‘jungle village’ site is the old (and currently closed) Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Central Avenue on Belle isle, a city park in the Detroit River just east of downtown. For a breath of fresh air, you can reach this welcome green space via the MacArthur Bridge.

Real Steel filming location: Parkway Motel, Dixie Highway, Davisburg
Real Steel filming location: Max teaches Atom to dance: Parkway Motel, Dixie Highway, Davisburg

Supposedly on the way home, but actually a further 20 miles northwest of Pontiac, on the on I-75, Charlie and Max stop off at the Parkway Motel, 16200 Dixie Highway, in Davisburg. While staying here, Max not only installs Noisy Boy’s voice recognition software into Atom, but teaches the clunky old model to dance.

The new training allows Max to make his signature dancing entry with Atom at their next appearance, in Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, on the shore of Lake St Clair, just north of Detroit.

Real Steel filming location: Cobo Center, Civic Center Drive, Detroit
Real Steel filming location: The WRB  ‘Motor City Spectrum’ venue, where the owner of Zeus tries to buy Atom: Cobo Center, Civic Center Drive, Detroit

As Atom moves from underground fights to mainstream success, two famous Detroit landmarks are blended together to make up the glitzy WRB  ‘Motor City Spectrum’ venue.

The ‘Spectrum’s’ arena, in which Atom destroys the two-headed Twin Cities, is the Cobo Arena adjacent to the Cobo Center, 301 Civic Center Drive on the Detroit International Riverfront. It's undergone a major renovation.

The ‘Spectrum’s’ lobby, though, is that of the Cobo’s near neighbour, the GM Renaissance Center.

Built in the late Seventies-early Eighties, the vast multi-skyscraper complex, which has previously featured on-screen in Collision Course, Steven Soderbergh’s Out Of Sight and The Upside Of Anger, appears as three separate locations in Real Steel.

Real Steel filming location: GM Renaissance Center, Jefferson Avenue, Detroit
Real Steel filming location: Max is handed over to his foster parents at the ‘Tarryton Towers’: GM Renaissance Center, Jefferson Avenue, Detroit

When Max is handed over to his foster parents, the Jefferson Avenue entrance to the Center, with its sleek, elevated, Jetsons-style People Mover, becomes ‘Tarryton Towers’.

And when Charlie calls on the foster parents to take Max out to one last fight, it’s back to the Center once again. ‘New York’s Bing Arena’, where Atom finally faces the mighty Zeus, is the Center’s imposing riverside entrance on the Detroit Riverwalk.





The People's Champion

The Junkyard Boy


Charlie and Max Kenton


Nickname: "The People's Champion", "The Junkyard Bot"

Generation: 2

Bot Type: Sparring Bot


After Noisy Boy was destroyed, Charlie Kenton needed a new robot, so he and Max Kenton went to a junkyard to salvage parts to create a new robot. After Max fell off a hill and got snagged on a robot arm, he discovered that it was an entire robot. Max used a hook connected to their cart to hoist up Atom out of the ditch. Later, Max cleaned off Atom to discover his name written on his chest. After lots of begging from Max, Charlie agreed to take Atom to The Zoo to fight. Max got Atom a fight with Metro, and after taking a pounding in the first round, Atom dodged his previous downfall, and with a quick double uppercut, Atom gave Metro a system malfunction, and won $2,000.

A bystander invited the two to a fight, and Atom went on a winning streak. After defeating robots such as Black Top, Six Shooter and more, they finally got invited to an official WRB fight with Twin Cities. Despite the fact that the opponent's technology was much more advanced, Atom won yet again, and Max challenged Zeus to a fight.

At the fight, despite suffering an initial disavantage, Atom mananged, round after round, to effectively fight back and even almost knocking him out. However, at the end of Round 4, Zeus damaged Atom's vocal control, and Max convinces his father to use his Shadow Mode, allowing Atom to use the moves of whoever controls him. At the start of the final Round, Charlie puts himself on the defensive and lets himself be beaten by Zeus, but once the latter runs out of energy, he easily turns on the tables and even managed to knock down the King of the Robots. Yet, the ring bells and Zeus still stands, and the judges vote for a close victory for the latter, yet Atom is the moral winner of the match, and he's nominated the People's Champion.

Fighting Style

Charlie Kenton trained Atom to use his small size to his advantage by punching up and using inertia to create more force. His main form of attacks are right hooks and an uppercut finisher. However, his fighting set is pre-programed moves, which can be easily intercepted due to the fact that they can't change; however, his shadow boxing feature and the ability to create new combos via basic commands can compensate for said weaknesses. He fights his opponents by finding and attacking weaknesses and openings until they close, and then (if needed) he starts again.

Height: 7'6"
Weight: 700 lbs
Trainer: Charlie Kenton
Handler: Max Kenton
Special Moves: Jumping Straight, Rolling Uppercut, Double Uppercut, Charlie Special, Dancing Body Blow Combo, Showboat (not really a combo, but can be used as a move)
Special Feature: Shadow Mode (allows the robot to imitate the owner's movements)
Improvements: G2 remote controller salvaged from Ambush, then voice recognition system salvaged from Noisy Boy (damaged in the battle against Zeus and substituted with Shadow Mode)

Real Steel World Robot Boxing

Atom is an Underworld 1 fighting bot that can be unlocked for 110 Real Gold (although sometimes he will cost 10% less depending on the day). He is more expensive than some other premium bosses (possibly due to his popularity).

Health: 1500
Damage: 104
Ability: Showstopper
Special Moves:

  1. Uppercut
  2. Super Uppercut (Touchdown)
  3. Ultra Uppercut (Camelot)

Announcer's Quote: "Hailing from parts unknown, it's the People's Champion! Here's... Atom!"

Gold Version

A Gold Version of Atom. Gold bots have much higher stats than the original versions. However, there are no visible changes shown in stages 3 and 7.

Atom G.png


  • In the official picture, Atom's headband and gloves are brown, but they are bronze in the movie, although it could be just the lighting.
  • Atom is the only known robot in the movie to have some level of sentience. This was proven when Max asked Atom if he could understand him, to which he gently nodded in reply.
  • If you look closely at his face, you can see a tear in the mesh which makes him as if smiling.
  • His name "ATOM" maybe be a reference to his small size compared to most other robots.
  • According to Hugh Jackman (Charlie), Atom was also once Gamma's sparring bot.
  • Due to Atom's design as a sparring robot, he is argrubly the most durable bot in the series.
  • When moving, he appears to make a medium pitch hum.
  • Atom is shown to move faster in shadow mode than using the voice recognition.
  • He is the only bot in the Real Steel movie to not have a faceplate.
  • Despite having a strong enough build to withstand Zeus' attacks in the movie, Atom is extremely weaker than Zeus in the game Real Steel WRB; thus, extreme precaution must be taken to ensure victory over Zeus. However, players can spend some gold to buff Atom to be as strong as the opponent.
  • Interestingly, he and Zeus (as well as their Gold versions and Scorpio) are the only robots in Real Steel WRB whose head and limbs can not be torn off when you do a Finishing Move on them.
  • Atom's stats were buffed in the iOS game, in comparison to earlier games.


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Real Steel

2011 film by Shawn Levy

This article is about the film. For the Japanese horse, see Real Steel (horse).

Real Steel is a 2011 American science fictionsportsdrama film starring Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo and co-produced and directed by Shawn Levy for DreamWorks Pictures. The film is based on the short story "Steel", written by Richard Matheson, which was originally published in the May 1956 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and later adapted into a 1963 Twilight Zone episode. Real Steel was in development for several years before production began on June 24, 2010. Filming took place primarily in the U.S. state of Michigan. Animatronic robots were built for the film, and motion capture technology was used to depict the rodeo brawling of computer-generated robots and animatronics, respectively.

Real Steel was released by Touchstone Pictures in Australia on October 6, 2011, and in the United States and Canada on October 7, 2011,[7] grossing nearly $300 million at the box office. It received mixed reviews, with criticism for the formulaic nature of the plot and the fact that elements remained unresolved or were predictable, but also praise for the visual effects, action sequences and acting performances. The film was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 84th Academy Awards.


In 2020, human boxers are replaced by robots. Charlie Kenton, a former boxer, owns Ambush, but loses it in a fight against a bull belonging to promoter and carnival owner Ricky. Having bet with Ricky that Ambush would win, Charlie absconds before Ricky can collect.

After the fight, Charlie learns that his ex-girlfriend died and he must now attend a hearing deciding the future of their son, Max, a robot-boxing fan with whom Charlie has virtually no contact since Max was born. Max's maternal aunt, Debra, and her wealthy husband, Marvin, want full custody, which Charlie bargains for $100,000, half in advance, and Marvin negotiates that Charlie retains Max for three months while Marvin and Debra go on vacation. Settling into a gym owned by Bailey Tallet, the daughter of Charlie's former boxing coach, Charlie acquires the once-famous Noisy Boy, but it is destroyed in an underground match against another robot boxer, Midas. As Charlie and Max attempt to scavenge parts from a junkyard to make a new robot, Max discovers Atom, an obsolete but intact sparring robot designed to withstand severe damage, and can mirror opponent and handler movements and store them in its memory due to its rare "shadow function".

At Max's behest, Charlie pits Atom against Metro, whom Atom overcomes. Max programs Noisy Boy's vocal-respond controls in Atom, and convinces Charlie to help him with Atom's fighting-move memory. This results in a series of victories, culminating in Charlie being offered a fight in World Robot Boxing, pitting Atom against national champion Twin Cities. The fight starts with Atom on the attack, but Twin Cities easily takes the offensive. Charlie notices a hitch whenever Twin Cities throws a right punch, and using this, Charlie controls Atom to a win by knockout. Elated by their success, Max challenges undefeated global champion Zeus, with the audience squarely on their side. After the fight, Ricky and his two henchmen attack Charlie for bailing earlier and rob him and Max of their winnings, prompting a defeated and dejected Charlie to return Max to Debra.

This upsets Max, and when Charlie tries to convince him that living without him is better for Max, Max says he always wanted Charlie to fight for him and be there as a father. After Max leaves, Charlie returns to Tallet's Gym. While talking with Bailey about the events, the two kiss, revealing their attraction to each other. Persuaded by Bailey, Charlie arranges the Zeus challenge Max wanted and convinces Debra to allow Max to witness the fight.

Zeus dominates early, knocking Atom down with its first punch; Atom continues to get back up despite Zeus' punishment. Atom survives the first round, stunning the audience. Ricky, who had made a $100,000 bet with Finn, a friend of Charlie's, that Atom would not last the first round, tries to slip away, but is cornered by the fight's bookmakers. Meanwhile, in the ring, Atom lands multiple punches but continues to be knocked down repeatedly. Late in the fourth round, Atom's vocal-respond controls are damaged, forcing Charlie to use its shadow function to make Atom mimic his boxing skills. With Zeus' programmers unable to compensate, the designer, Tak Mashido, personally takes control like Charlie has. Zeus is given a sound beating, once even hitting the ground and barely avoiding losing by knockout, but wins the match by number of hits since Atom could not beat it within the limit of five rounds. Zeus remains undefeated, but with Mashido's group left humiliated by the near-loss and Zeus damaged to the point where he's irreparable. As Mashido and his team leave in embarrassment despite the win, Atom is triumphantly labeled the people's champion as Max and Charlie celebrate regardless of the match result.



Director Levy on set with Jackman in July 2010

Based on Richard Matheson's 1956 short story "Steel",[8] the original screenplay was written by Dan Gilroy and was purchased by DreamWorks for $850,000 in 2003 or 2005 (sources differ).[8][9] The project was one of 17 that DreamWorks took from Paramount Pictures when they split in 2008.[8] Director Peter Berg expressed interest in the project in mid-2009 but went no further.[9] Levy was attached to the project in September 2009,[10] and Jackman was cast in the starring role in November for a $9 million fee.[11] In the same month, Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider at DreamWorks greenlit the project.[8] Les Bohem and Jeremy Leven had worked on Gilroy's screenplay, but in 2009 John Gatins was working on a new draft.[9] When Levy joined the project, he worked with Gatins to revise the screenplay,[12] spending a total of six weeks fine-tuning the script. Advertising company FIVE33 did a two-hundred page "bible" about robot boxing. Levy said he was invited by Spielberg and Snider while finishing Date Night, and while the director initially considered Real Steel to have "a crazy premise," he accepted after reading the script and feeling it could be "a really humanistic sports drama."[13]

Real Steel had a production budget of $110 million.[5] Levy chose to set the film in state fairs and other "old-fashioned" Americana settings that would exude nostalgia and create a warm tone for the film's father-son story.[14] There was also an attempt for the scenery to blend in new and old technology.[13] Filming began in June 2010,[15] and ended by October 15, 2010.[16] Locations include areas around Detroit, Michigan, and across the state,[17] including at the Renaissance Center, the Cobo Arena, the Detroit Fire Department headquarters, the Russell Industrial Center, the Ingham County Courthouse in Mason, Michigan, the Leslie Michigan Railroad Depot, the former Belle Isle Zoo, and the Highland Park Ford Plant.[18]

Jason Matthews of Legacy Effects, successor to Stan Winston Studios, was hired to turn production designer Tom Meyer's robot designs into practical animatronic props. He said, "We have 26-and-a-half total live-action robots that were made for this film. They all have hydraulic neck controls. Atom has RC [radio-controlled] hands as well."[19] According to Jackman, executive producer Spielberg "actually said to Shawn, 'You should really have real elements where you can.' ... Basically if they're not walking or fighting, that's a real robot."[20] Levy added that Spielberg gave the example of Jurassic Park, where Winston's animatronic dinosaurs "got a better performance from the actors, as they were seeing something real, and gave the visual effects team an idea of what it would look like." As Real Steel was not based on a toy, Meyer said that "there was no guideline" for the robots, and each was designed from scratch, with an attempt to put "different personality and aesthetics," according to Levy. In Atom's case, it tried to have a more humanizing design to be an "everyman" who could attract the audience's sympathy and serve as a proxy to the viewer, with a fencing mask that Meyer explained served to show "his identity was a bit hidden, so you have to work harder to get to see him."[21] Executive producer Robert Zemeckis added that the mask "became a screen so we can project what we want on Atom's face." Damage was added to the robots' decoration to show how they were machines worn out by intense battles.[13]

For scenes when computer-generated robots brawl, "simulcam" motion capture technology, developed for the film Avatar, was used. As Levy described the process, "[Y]ou're not only capturing the fighting of live human fighters, but you're able to take that and see it converted to [CGI] robots on a screen instantaneously. Simulcam puts the robots in the ring in real time, so you are operating your shots to the fight, whereas even three, four years ago, you used to operate to empty frames, just guessing at what stuff was going to look like."[22] Boxing hall-of-famer Sugar Ray Leonard was an adviser for these scenes[14] and gave Jackman boxing lessons so his moves would be more natural.[23]


Real Steel had its world premiere on September 6, 2011, in Paris at the Le Grand Rex.[24] The film had its United States premiere on October 2, 2011, in Los Angeles at the Gibson Amphitheatre.[25] It was commercially released in Australia on October 6, 2011,[26] followed by the United States and Canada on October 7, 2011. Its U.S. release, by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures,[27] was originally scheduled for November 18, 2011,[15] but it was moved earlier to avoid competition with the first part of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.[28] The film was released in 3,440 theaters in the United States and Canada,[29] including 270 IMAX screenings. There were also over 100 IMAX screenings in territories outside the United States and Canada, with 62 screenings on October 7.[30]


DreamWorks released the first trailer for Real Steel in December 2010 and it was attached to Tron: Legacy.[31] In May 2011, DreamWorks released a second trailer. While the film features boxing robots, Levy said he wanted to show in the trailer "the father-son drama, the emotion Americana of it". He said, "We are very much the robo-boxing movie, but that's one piece of a broader spectrum."[32] In addition to marketing trailers and posters, DreamWorks enlisted the British advertising company Five33 to build large physical displays representing the film as it had done for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.[33] The studio also collaborated with Virgin America to name one of their Airbus A320s after the film, and one of the film's robots is pictured on its fuselage.[34] On September 19, Jackman appeared on the weekly sports entertainment program WWE Raw to promote the film.[35] In addition to Jackman making an appearance on the show, WWE named Crystal Method's "Make Some Noise" from the film's soundtrack as the official theme song for their returning PPV, Vengeance.

Jakks Pacific released a toy line with action figures based on Atom, Zeus, Noisy Boy, Midas and Twin Cities.[citation needed] The company has also released a one-on-one, playset fighting game with robots in a ring.[36] ThreeA released a line of high-end sixth-scale figures, as adapted by Australian artist Ashley Wood, based on Ambush, Atom, Midas, and Noisy Boy.

Video game[edit]

Jump Games released a fighting video game based on the film for Android and iOS devices,[37] and Yuke's made a game for the PS3 and Xbox 360.[38] An arcade game was also released by ICE (Innovative Concepts in Entertainment).

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and both high-definition and standard-definition digital download on January 24, 2012, from Touchstone Home Entertainment. Additional material includes Disney Second Screen; deleted and extended scenes with introductions by director Levy; and a profile of film consultant Sugar Ray Leonard.[39][40]


Box office[edit]

Real Steel earned $85,468,508 in North America, and $213,800,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $299,268,508.[6] It had a worldwide opening of $49.4 million.[41] In North America, it topped the box office with $8.5 million on its opening day and $27.3 million in total on its opening weekend, claiming the number one spot, ahead of the other new nationwide release (The Ides of March) and all holdovers.[42] It managed first-place debuts in 11 countries including Hugh Jackman's native Australia ($4.2 million).[43]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 60% based on reviews from 233 critics, with an average rating of 5.91/10. The website's consensus is, "Silly premise notwithstanding, this is a well-made Hollywood movie: Thrilling and exciting action with just enough characterization."[44] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score score of 56 out of 100, based on reviews from 34 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[45] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore during the opening weekend gave the film a grade A, on a scale from A+ to F.[46]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times rated the film 3 stars out of 4, saying, "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. Sometimes you go into a movie with low expectations and are pleasantly surprised."[47]Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A-, saying director Levy "makes good use of his specialized skill in blending people and computer-made imaginary things into one lively, emotionally satisfying story".[48]

Claudia Puig of USA Today said, "Though the premise of fighting robots does seem a plausible and intriguing extension of the contemporary WWE world, Real Steel is hampered by leaden, clichéd moments in which a stubborn boy teaches his childish father a valuable lesson."[49] James White of the UK magazine Empire gave the film 3 of 5 stars, saying, "Rocky with robots? It's not quite in Balboa's weight class, but Real Steel at least has some heft. There's barely a story beat among the beat-downs that you won't expect, and sometimes the saccharine gets in the way of the spectacle, but on the whole this is enjoyable family entertainment."[50]




Real Steel's soundtrack consists of 13 tracks featuring artists including Foo Fighters, Tom Morello, Eminem, Royce da 5'9" (Bad Meets Evil), Yelawolf, 50 Cent, and Limp Bizkit. Levy, a fan of The Crystal Method, invited that duo to contribute to the soundtrack; they recorded two new songs for it after viewing a rough cut of the film.[13]


The score album, "Real Steel: Original Motion Picture Score", consists of 19 tracks composed by Danny Elfman, and was released on November 1, 2011, in the US. Levy considered Elfman one of the few composers who could do a score similar to that of the Rocky franchise, alternating guitar-based ambient music and songs with a full orchestra.[13]

All music is composed by Danny Elfman.

1."Charlie Trains Atom"1:59
2."On The Move"2:39
3."Into The Zoo"1:02
4."Why We're Here (feat. vocal by Poe)"0:55
5."Meet Atom"3:17
6."It's Your Choice"1:28
7."Safe With Me"2:57
8."Atom Versus Twin Cities"3:12
9."...For A Kiss"0:56
10."Get in the Truck"1:12
12."Twin Cities' Intro"1:20
13."Parkway Motel (feat. vocal by Poe)"1:47
14."This Is A Brawl"1:48
15."You Deserve Better"4:02
16."Into The Ring"1:12
17."Taking A Beating"1:33
18."Final Round"6:53
19."People's Champion"2:06
Total length:0:42:19

Possible sequel[edit]

On August 8, 2021, Levy said that he wants to reunite Jackman and also Ryan Reynolds for a sequel to Real Steel. According to Levy, a Real Steel sequel is something he has always discussed with Jackman, and that it would be interesting if he could get Reynolds to star in it as well. [54]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ abEller, Claudia (February 10, 2009). "DreamWorks gets Disney cash in distribution deal". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ ab"Real Steel (2011)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  3. ^"'Real Steel' pulls for Disney, DreamWorks". October 15, 2011.
  4. ^"Real Steel". British Board of Film Classification. August 4, 2011. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
  5. ^ abKaufman, Amy (October 6, 2011). "Movie Projector: 'Real Steel' to crush 'Ides of March'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 7, 2011.
  6. ^ ab"Real Steel". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 18, 2020.
  7. ^DiOrio, Carl (December 9, 2009). "Touchstone sets 'Real Steel' release for 2011". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  8. ^ abcdSiegel, Tatiana; Graser, Marc (November 23, 2009). "Hugh Jackman to star in 'Real Steel'". Variety. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  9. ^ abcFernandez, Jay A.; Kit, Borys (September 15, 2009). "Shawn Levy is new man of 'Steel'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  10. ^Fleming, Michael (September 15, 2009). "Levy in for 'bots of 'Steel'". Variety. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  11. ^"Hollywood's Top 40". Vanity Fair. March 2011. Archived from the original on July 5, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  12. ^Fleming, Michael (September 30, 2009). "Hugh Jackman boxed in for Levy". Variety. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  13. ^ abcdeShawn Levy audio commentary, Real Steel Blu-Ray
  14. ^ abBreznican, Anthony (June 15, 2010). "In Hugh Jackman's 'Real Steel,' the robot titans go pugilistic". USA Today. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  15. ^ abMcClintock, Pamela (March 15, 2010). "Goyo added to Levy's 'Steel'". Variety. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  16. ^Hinds, Julie (October 15, 2010). "Michigan movie clips". Detroit Free Press: C1. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.. Abstract only: "Filming has concluded here on 'Real Steel,' 'Transformers 3,' 'Scream 4' and many other productions that made metro Detroit and nearby regions seem like Hollywood Midwest for the past few months".
  17. ^"Hugh Jackman to Film Real Steel in Michigan". January 22, 2010. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011. Cited to unavailable Detroit Free Press article, ""Hugh Jackman Coming to Michigan to Star in Big-Budget Sci-Fi Movie", January 22, 2010.
  18. ^Hinds, Julie (October 1, 2011). "Michigan locations in 'Real Steel'". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  19. ^Worley, Rob M. (September 13, 2011). "Bringing Real Steel's Robots To Life". Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  20. ^Lovece, Frank (September 29, 2011). "'Real Steel': Rock 'em, sock 'em robots". Newsday. p. C8 of print edition. Retrieved October 4, 2011. (Website requires subscription)
  21. ^"Building The Bots", Real Steel Blu-Ray
  22. ^Lovece, Frank (September 29, 2011). "Robots in the ring: Shawn Levy and Anthony Mackie bet on 'Real Steel'". Film Journal International. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  23. ^"Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman’s Champ", Real Steel Blu-Ray
  24. ^Staff (September 6, 2011). "'Real Steel' Paris Premiere at Le Grand Rex". Life.
  25. ^Ford, Rebecca (October 2, 2011). "Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly Attend 'Real Steel' Premiere". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  26. ^Staff (September 21, 2011). "Jackman a big hit at wrestling show". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  27. ^Debruge, Peter (September 28, 2011). "Review: 'Real Steel'". Variety.
  28. ^McClintock, Pamela (October 13, 2010). "DreamWorks' holiday 'War Horse'". Variety. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  29. ^"Release Schedule". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  30. ^Vlessing, Etan (October 3, 2011). "Imax To Show 'Real Steel' on 270 Domestic Screens". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 4, 2011.
  31. ^"Film trailer: 'Real Steel' starring Hugh Jackman". The Independent. December 10, 2010. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  32. ^Breznican, Anthony (May 10, 2011). "'Real Steel' trailer: Hugh Jackman and director Shawn Levy discuss the human element in their robo-boxing movie". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 14, 2011. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  33. ^Graser, Marc (May 26, 2011). "Pic promos get physical". Variety. Archived from the original on September 15, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  34. ^Fernandez, Sofia M. (September 23, 2011). "Hugh Jackman Unveils 'Real Steel' Airplane". The Hollywood Reporter.
  35. ^Miller, Julie (September 20, 2011). "VIDEO: Hugh Jackman, WWE Stars Spend 6+ Uncomfortable Minutes in the Ring". Movieline. Archived from the original on September 26, 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  36. ^"Real Steel Movie Playsets and Role Playing Games". November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 27, 2011.
  37. ^Staff (September 23, 2011). "Jump Games releases Real Steel fighting game for Android and iOS". Nine Dot Nine Mediaworx Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  38. ^"Real Steel Video Game official website". Retrieved January 27, 2014.
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  40. ^"Real Steel Hitting DVD and Blu-ray in January". Filmonic. December 2, 2011. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  41. ^McClintock, Pamela (October 9, 2011). "Box Office Report: Hugh Jackman Starrer 'Real Steel' Wins Weekend with $27.3 Mil". Retrieved October 11, 2011.
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  45. ^"Real Steel: Reviews (2011)". Metacritic. CBS. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  46. ^Kaufman, Amy (October 9, 2011). "Box Office: 'Real Steel' KOs competition, including George Clooney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  47. ^Ebert, Roger (October 5, 2011). "Real Steel Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
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  49. ^Puig, Claudia (October 7, 2011). "'Real Steel' robots do battle with movie cliches". USA Today. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  50. ^White, James (n.d.). "Real Steel". Empire.
  51. ^"33rd Annual Young Artist Awards". Retrieved May 6, 2012.
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  54. ^"Real Steel Director Determined To Reunite Ryan Reynolds & Hugh Jackman For Sequel". August 8, 2021.

External links[edit]

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Film / Real Steel
"Times have changed. Fighting has changed — but the crowd, they never change. They just get bigger."

Charlie Kenton

A 2011 Science FictionActionDrama film (loosely) based on a Richard Matheson story first adapted for The Twilight Zone (1959), Starring Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo, Anthony Mackie and Kevin Durand.

Real Steel takes place 20 Minutes into the Future, where human boxers have been supplanted by robotic warriors who can dish out and take far more damage. Former boxer Charlie Kenton (Jackman) now works on the outside of the ring as a robot handler with his girlfriend Bailey (Lilly), exhibiting in town fairs and underground robot fights to make ends meet, when he suddenly gets his estranged son Max (Goyo) dropped in his lap after the boy's mother dies.

Needless to say, neither Charlie nor Max take well to this at first, but they slowly manage to bond over Atom - an obsolete robot they find in the junkyard after Charlie's previous 'bot gets trashed, with the ability to mimic the moves of others and the resilience to survive just about any punishment. Together they rebuild Atom and train him to fight, aiming for the championships through the underground scene for Charlie's last shot at a comeback.

Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, although not directed by either (step forward Shawn Levy).

This film provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range / Everything's Better with Spinning: Twin Cities can turn both his heads 360 degrees.
  • Abusive Parents: Charlie, for most of the film.
  • Acting Your Intellectual Age: 11-year old he may be, but Max is almost scary adult-like in how he mechanically enhances Atom and plots circles around half the adults in the film.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: One of Twin Cities' operators laughs when Atom makes his way to the ring, getting as much of a kick out of Max's dance routine as the crowd does.
  • Adaptation Title Change: Real Steel, is based on the short story simply called "Steel".
  • Advertised Extra: Noisy Boy, Midas, and Ambush appear on many posters. They disappear after the first act.
  • All There in the Manual.
    • This website gives some detail on the movie's universe, particularly the history of robot boxing.
    • A video about Atom also explains his origins: He was a Sparring Robot for former Robot champion Gamma.
    • The Blu-Ray has Charlie's background in a fake ESPN documentary.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Atom packs its own inherent durability, components from Ambush note Atom as a sparring 'bot basically had "kid gloves" to avoid damaging the actual boxing 'bot, the voice command processor from Noisy Boy, courtesy of Max, and Charlie's boxing moves programed in via his shadow function.
  • Aluminium Christmas Trees: Yes, we already have remote control robot fighting, albeiton a muchsmaller scale.
  • And Show It to You: One of Zeus' victories looks like this, with Zeus punching through the middle of Danger Zone's chestplate and yanking out some wires.
  • Asian and Nerdy:
    • Tak Mashido, Zeus' creator. Back Story on the film's website reveals that he was the original creator of Noisy Boy, Charlie's second robot, and was also one of the revolutionary inventors of robot boxing.
    • Going even further, the film's Back Story is that robot boxing started as a hobby among robot enthusiasts in Japan, meaning that the entire sport was the result of this trope.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Downplayed. In the final fight, Zeus was saved by the bell and won against Atom on the judges' decision, though the commentator described the fight as an "Absolutely Humiliating Near-Loss" for Zeus, and Zeus' controller Tak stormed out of the ring in frustration, leaving no comment.
  • Berserk Button: Do not call Finn "homeboy".
  • Bittersweet Ending: All the way through. Zeus retains his title as undefeated champion, but only barely and he's no longer the popular favourite; meanwhile, Charlie and Max have won the hearts of everyone in the world, earning them and Atom the title of the People's Champion. Much like Rocky, it was ultimately about going the distance and making the invincible sweat. Charlie controlling Atom in shadow mode against Zeus in the final round is an act of desperation that almost certainly won't become standard practice and in the end he didn't win, even if it was a glorious moment, but at least he still got to "fight" one more time and basically pull off a last hurrah for human boxers made obsolete by the robots. Finally, Max is probably going to live with his adoptive parents rather than Charlie, but they did get their glorious WRB fight and Charlie's sister-in-law has clearly been won over by the sport, meaning that Max might not have to leave it behind in his new life and it's implied he may be able to see Charlie again.
  • Blood Sport: There are no more restrictions on where the fighters can hit, and fights in less legitimate venues are often to the "death". An early scene also has Charlie explaining that human boxing was slowly turning into this in its waning years, right around the time the WRB took over.
  • Boxing Lesson: Charlie gives these to Atom, who can then mimic his movements.
  • Big Bad: Farra Lemkova, a powerful businesswoman who aids Zeus' creator, Tak Mashido.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The Xbox Arcade game seems good value at first, but the high-quality parts cost the equivalent of an Indie game - for each one. You can even buy complete and overpowered robots for the same amount of points you paid to buy the game in the first place. Also, you have to shell out even more to play 2-player, use Zeus or even decorate your robot.
  • A Boy and His X: Charlie initially has no interest in Atom; it is his son who does most of the initial work and fights all of the fights, until Charlie takes over for the WRB matches. Ironically, it reflects on his and Max's relationship.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Charlie's first impression of Max. Given that Max just blackmailed him into giving a few dollars...
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: A variation: Charlie gives Max back to Debra and Marvin after Ricky beats both of them up, causing him to realize how unfit he is to have custody of Max.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Atom is a 2nd generation fighting robot, meaning he's horribly obsolete and outclassed by modern robots. However, Charlie and Max are initially forced to use Atom since its the only robot available to them.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Ambush has an "A" on his chest.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Voice-controlled robots necessitate this, though human operators are typically far enough apart that it doesn't matter.
  • Children Raise You: Charlie initially has no interest in Max other than using him to blackmail his sister-in-law's husband out of some quick (though badly-needed) cash. Over the course of the movie he discovers that he actually likes the kid. And when his own screwups come back to haunt both of them, he sends Max back to Debra and Marvin and rejects the second payment out of disgust at his own actions. But after some snuggle time with his girlfriend and a pep talk, he confesses everything to Max and asks him to stand with him in the bout with Zeus. In the end, spending just three months taking care of his son has improved every aspect of him, not only as a fighter but as a human being.
  • Combat Breakdown: In the final round, All the fancy indirect commands for both Atom and Zeus are dropped through damage or desperation, with Charlie using Atom's shadow mode and Tak controlling Zeus manually.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Midas' handler, Artie Bakker, has no problem playing dirty in the ring.
  • Cool Car: Charlie's International Harvester Sightliner.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover of the DVD release showcases Atom and Ambush as if Ambush is a significant character. Ambush is in the movie for all of five minutes and is completely trashed. Zeus would have been a better choice.
    • Or it can be seen as a subversion for the fact that both Ambush and Atom are bookends to Charlie's life seen in the film. Though he may have been in only the start of the movie, Ambush was introduced with Charlie. And Atom is probably the last ever robot that Charlie will continue to have a career with (along with Max's help).
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Most of the robots seem to have these; justified as the robots are built to simulate human boxing.
  • Creator Cameo: Screenwriter John Gatins plays Kingpin, the mohawked promoter who heads The Zoo. That might explain his enthusiasm.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Zeus knocks down Atom with his first blow. Atom then gets back up.
    • Heck, nearly every battle Zeus has ever been in had this result, so the fact that Atom even makes it through the first round is shocking to the spectators.
  • David Versus Goliath: Atom is significantly smaller than most of the opponents he faces. The fight promos between Atom and Zeus specifically refer to the match as such.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Max, much to Charlie's annoyance.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Subverted. Atom does indeed knock Zeus down near the end of the fight, but Zeus is able to get back up. However, by this point in the fight Zeus is low on energy, and had he not been saved by the bell, Atom probably would have been able to knock him out.
  • Delinquent Hair: Midas' head is modeled after a Greco-Roman helmet, but it also makes him look like he has a mohawk. With the underground fighting setting and his violent fighting style, it employs this trope.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Charlie goes to one of these to look for spare parts. He finds Atom.
  • The Determinator: Atom takes a huge amount of punishment and just keeps getting back up.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Atom standing up against Zeus. So much that Zeus starts malfunctioning - see Suicidal Overconfidence.
  • Disappeared Dad: Charlie, who has been out of Max's life for nearly all of his eleven years of living. Needless to say, his late girlfriend's sister and husband hate him for it.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: How Charlie loses the Ambush fight.
  • Drop the Hammer: Metro's Weapon of Choice. According to the WRB rules, using a weapon is illegal; however, as Metro is mostly an underground fighter, there isn't a really big deal made of it.
    • Zeus has pistons for fists, making him an example of this as well, though a fairly original one.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In a variation, Ricky fails to understand that the only reason why Finn called him "partner" was because of his hat.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Charlie has a run-in with one, Ricky. He and his goons drive Charlie to the Despair Event Horizon, but during Atom's fight with Zeus, is Hoist by His Own Petard by trying to renege on a deal with one of Charlie's old buddies.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Midas' handler. He's portrayed by the movie's stunt coordinator, and apparently the guy is missing an eye in real life.
  • Fanservice:
  • Fictional Sport: Robot boxing, obviously. It's stated that a perfect storm of boxing's decline (in part due to general uninterest and the various scares about boxers developing brain damage) and technological wizardry (and marketing) by Tak Moshido got people far more into robot boxing than real boxing itself.
  • Finishing Move: Deconstructed. With Midas on the ropes, Charlie has Noisy Boy wind up for the big one- giving his opponent enough time for a counter-punch to the gut, leading to Noisy Boy's destruction.
  • Fight Clubbing: When we see Charlie, his mech fights have been reduced to this - taking place at unofficial tournaments and outright underground fighting rings - and Atom's first real win takes place at an illegal ring in a former zoo.
  • Funny Background Event: When Bailey sits down in the bar to watch Atom's fight with Twin Cities, the guy next to her clearly tries to get ready to hit on her, but cannot even get a word out before she turns her attention to the fight.
  • Foreshadowing: Bailey tells a story about Charlie's fight against a major championship contender and tells about how Charlie fought him relentlessly, pushed him to the limit, and tired him out — and ultimately lost in the final round.
  • Gadgeteer Genius:
    • Max manages to greatly enhance Atom overnight.
    • Tak, Zeus' creator, is hailed as one, and apparently is one of the revolutionary figures in the robot boxing world.
  • Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: Literally, but more feasibly than usual.
  • Gonk: Metro, compared to the other 'bots. There's a reason why the filmmakers referred to him as "Frankenbot."
  • Good Old Robot: By necessity, at first, but Atom quickly proves his worth.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Appears on Max's shirt at one point. Max also knows a few Japanese phrases, as shown when he test controls Noisy Boy (at least enough to say 'left', 'right' and 'uppercut'). handwaved by the fact that Max plays Japanese bootlegs of video games.
  • Groin Attack: Midas does this to Noisy Boy in their fight. They might be robots, but it still made all the men in the room wince. And just like in real life fighting sports, it is heavily implied to be an illegal move.
  • Half The Robot It Used To Be: One of Zeus' opponents, Axelrod, gets bisected at the waist. Only Axelrod's upper half gets carted out, twitching and punching the air.

    Max: Did you see that?! That's what's left of Axelrod!

  • Heroic BSoD: Charlie ends up keeping his promise and giving Max back to his legal parents when they returned out of guilt for having Max getting involved in being beat up with him by Ricky and his men.
  • Heroic Second Wind: After the Vo-Com unit gets damaged in the fight against Zeus, Charlie controls Atom via the Shadow Mode directly, at Max's suggestion. After a rope-a-dope, Atom goes on the offensive.
  • Hourglass Plot: At first, Charlie is the reckless one, and Max is the cautious methodical one. As the movie progresses, Max becomes more reckless and aggressive, and Charlie starts thinking things out more.
  • Humans Are Special: Partly the reason why Atom has an advantage over other boxers: His Shadow Mode allows him to fight with the grace of a human boxer, as opposed to his opponents, who tend to be operated from outside the ring.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Right before the WRB debut, Charlie tries to reassure Max that they need to remain calm and have fun, while practically in the middle of a nervous breakdown about finally getting into the WRB.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Max learns the fight game quickly partially in thanks to his video game experience.
  • Jerkass: Ricky. He ignores Charlie's calls to quit the match when his robot is badly damaged, and then beats Charlie and his son up and steals their winnings.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Charlie, after Character Development.
  • Jump Scare: As Charlie and Max take a look inside Crash Palace, there is a brief shot of a bot named Albino sitting up and throwing a punch, giving Max the creeps.
  • Kick the Dog: Ricky and his men had already done quite a number on Charlie, but then when he learns from Max that he's beating on his father, he decides to belittle and beat him some even more, even though he had already taken all their money.
  • Kid With The Remote Control: Max is the one who initially controls Atom in all his bouts, but he relinquishes control to Charlie once he installs the voice recognition (and even more after said voice control gets broken and Atom is forced to copy Charlie's moves).
  • Killer Robot: Averted. People in the film often stand within punching distance of the boxers, however the machines seem to be mostly inert outside of their programmed fighting modes.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: When Charlie puts up money he doesn't have in a bet with Ricky and loses, Ricky tracks him down and beats him. Ricky then proceeds to make a bet with Finn, with money he doesn't have. He tries to run out on Finn when the latter shows up, without thinking that a promoter and bookie acting on the major league would be smart enough to have backup to catch an idiot that wants to backpedal on the failed bet. At the end, he's "escorted" (read: shoved) off the arena, and one can presume his offscreen fate.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: In the final round when Atom starts coming out on top, Tak Moshido takes manual control of Zeus to match Charlie.
  • Licensed Game: Two, actually; one for Xbox Live / Play Station Network, and one for Android / iOS. No motion or voice controls, sadly.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Atom. As shown many times in the film, the real reason the robot is so dangerous in the ring is because it was designed to react and move instantly while in shadow boxing mode, and is able to keep up with human movements, as well as being designed to take epic levels of punishment as a training robot. Adding in the arm components to throw punches, and given his size means he doesn't need weight behind his punches since he's almost always punching upwards, gives him the Bruiser side of the trope.
  • Like Father, Like Son

    Charlie: Stubborn kid.

    Bailey:Surprise surprise.

  • Like That Show, But with Mecha: Crackedpointed out that this movie is basically Paper Moon with robots fighting each other.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Everyone in the stadium when Atom lands a punch on Zeus' head.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Hints of Atom being sentient are dropped, but it is never explicitly stated one way or the other.
    • According to the DVD Commentary, Atom's fight with Metro was originally written to confirm that Atom was indeed sentient, with him fighting without Max operating him. The filmmakers eventually realized that it would be better if this trope was in effect, so the scene was scripted to its final form.
  • May–December Romance: Debra and Marvin.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • "You do realize you're talking to a machine."
    • Atom's and Charlie's history. Charlie first came to prominence by being a no-name meat with no previous real experience in a warm-up match, giving a supposed world-class boxer quite a scare by being relentless and implacable. Atom is a sparring bot who came to prominence by winning an exhibition match against a supposed world-class boxing 'bot for exactly the same reasons.
    • In Atom's first fight, as they lead Atom into the Zoo, Charlie tells Max that he'll be bringing Atom home in pieces. Max's response: "We'll see." In the final fight in the film, as they lead Atom into the ring for their fight against Zeus, Max asks Charlie if they're not going to win. Charlie's response: "We'll see."
  • Meaningful Name:
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Zeus May have won the match, but the crowd most definitely doesn't care as they still cheer for Atom despite the loss. Tak, despite prevailing, was still humiliated that his masterpiece would have been beaten by an ancient scrapheap not even designed for actual fighting if the fight had continued, and the crowd booing his supposedly-perfect creation.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Cracked has also written twoarticles pointing out that there were several better uses for the robots in this setting besides fighting each other.
  • Morality Pet: Ricky's mistress. When debt collectors come looking for Ricky, he performs his first (and possibly last) selfless action by separating himself from his mistress before getting caught.
  • Motion Capture Mecha: Oddly enough, averted for the most part. Most modern (for the film) robots aren't motion-controlled, and Atom's unusual in that he's one of the surviving robots from that era. Atom's only designed to 'capture' movements and reuse them in fights as pre-programmed movements that are voice-activated (called the shadowcopy), and Max thinks that real-time motion control is only useful for his and Atom's gimmick (dancing pre-fight). Charlie reactivates the shadowcopy to beat the stuffing out of Zeus in their fight.)
  • Multiple Head Case: Twin Cities has two heads that can rotate 360 degrees, letting it track its opponent at all times.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Max drinks a lot of Dr. Pepper when working on Atom.
  • My Defense Need Not Protect Me Forever: Charlie/Atom runs a textbook Rope-a-Dope on Zeus in the final round of the title fight.
  • Mythology Gag: A few references are made to the original Matheson story:
    • The robots in the original story looked like regular human boxers. In the film, Charlie tells Max that the first fighting robots resembled humans more closely than the current fighters we see in the film. Atom, being a Generation Two fighter, is still somewhat human-looking, at least more than his opponents.
    • The original story has its main robot breakdown before its fight, leading to its handler to fight in its place. Naturally, this doesn't go very well. In the film, Atom's voice recognition is damaged in the middle of his fight with Zeus. Charlie then has to control Atom through his Shadow Mode, meaning that Charlie is technically the one fighting against Zeus.
    • The original story stated that human boxing was abolished because it was too violent. The film puts a different spin on this: human boxing did die out, but not because it was considered too violent, but because spectators didn't think it was violent enough.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailer has a scene where Lilly's character describes to Max how Charlie was a boxer, making it sound like a case of I Coulda Been a Contender!. In the film itself, the description she uses is actually directed towards another boxer.
    • The trailers make it look like Charlie uses Atom's "shadow function" to control the robot for all of his fights. This is only used to "train" Atom, enabling the robot to execute Charlie's graceful boxing moves as opposed to purely mechanical attacks. Charlie only controls Atom by motion capture as a last resort in the final round of the fight against Zeus when Atom's other control functions are knocked offline, and is laughed at by the announcers as a desperation tactic.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: during their fight, one of Zeus' blows destroys Atom's vocal controls. Max decides to switch Atom to Shadow Mode, which, with Charlie's boxing skills, almost cost Zeus the win.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Atom got his ass kicked when he went up against Metro. The tides quickly turn to his favor in Round 2.
    • Midas takes Noisy Boy apart.
  • No New Fashions in the Future: Clothing styles still look the way they are in 2011. Granted, the film is only in 2020, but you'd expect some things to change.
  • No One Could Survive That!: No robot has ever lasted more than a round with Zeus, most being torn to shreds by him and when Atom gets knocked down several times (once as soon as the fight starts) in the first round, the announcers commentary evokes the trope each and every time he gets up.
  • No-Sell: Atom seems to shrug off most hits, which they credit to his purpose as a Sparring Robot.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Happens more than once, including one incident where the head flies straight up — reinforcing the connection to Rock'em Sock'em Robots.
    • Zeus executes Gridlock by squashing his head flat between his fists.
  • One Hit Knockout: Atom falls instantly at the first punch Zeus throws at him. He gets up soon after.
    • Happens in the first fight against Metro. Atom only does one real offensive move the entire fight and it takes Metro down. Said move (known in some circles as Hanuman) has roots in Muay Thai, sacrificing any semblance of defense for pure offensive power.
  • One Head Taller: Charlie and Bailey
  • Papa Wolf: Charlie fights even more ferociously when Ricky and his men are going to proceed with beating up Max, his son as well.
  • Parental Abandonment: Max. His father Charlie left his then-girlfriend, not knowing how to deal with the responsibility of having a child; and his mother dies prior to the events of the film.
  • Perpetual Smiler: The mesh screen on Atom's face has seams that resemble a nose ridge and a smiling mouth. It adds to the child-like appeal of Atom's shape.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Atom is a fair deal smaller than most of the robots he fights. Max as well.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Ricky, who just has to Kick the Dog further by mockingly calling Finn "home boy!" toward the end of the film.
    • To be fair, Finn also refered to Ricky as "Pardner".
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Averted. Charlie gets Noisy Boy, a former world champion robot controlled by voice recognition, but he never bothered to learn all the specific command sequences. In his first match, Noisy Boy is defeated because Charlie can not give him anything besides basic instructions, unhelpful combos, and the worst timing in the history of Earth.
  • Practical Effects: There were a large number of animatronic robots built for this film but the CGI is good enough that most viewers would need Word of God to tell the difference.
  • Product Placement: Sponsorships within the movie appear all over the equipment and arenas used by the WRB (considering that it's a professional sport, it would be kind of jarring if they weren't there), including Sprint, Bing, and the Xbox 720. Dr. Pepper appears as a standard product placement when Max drinks it throughout the movie. Royal Purple (synthetic oils and lubricants) appears on the control consoles of Team Twin Cities and Team Zeus. Hewlett-Packard's "HP" logo can clearly be seen through the back of Noisy Boy's control console and the round cards in Zeus' fight.
    • Word of God admits that Dr. Pepper gave them permission to use their soda on-camera, but the film received no revenue from the appearance. They simply used Dr. Pepper because that was the soda they had on-hand, and needed something with caffeine content to justify Max's hyperactive-ness in one scene.
  • Promotion to Parent: Sure, Charlie is Max's biological parent, but he had never had any involvement in Max's life before the events of the movie, and the only reason he started to was because Max's aunt had a wealthy husband who paid him off to take Max for a few months. Over the course of the film, while he never tries to reclaim legal custody of Max, he does become much more of a father to him.
  • Puppy Eyes: Max pulls this on Charlie.

    Charlie: "Oh, come on. Are you kidding me with those eyes? Dammit..."

  • Pyrrhic Victory: Zeus wins the final fight, but just barely by scoring higher previously. The match ended with Atom raining blows upon the hobbled Zeus, and it's clear that Atom would've won by knockout had the fight gone on for even one more round. More importantly, Zeus loses credibility and the respect of the crowd (as his "never needed more than one round" reputation is broken), while Atom is crowned "The People's Champion."
  • Red Baron: Most of the robots. Twin Cities is "The Two-Headed Tyrant", Midas is "The Gold-Blooded Killer", Zeus is "The King of the Ring", Noisy Boy is either "The Steel Samurai" or "The Manga Mangler" and Atom eventually becomes "The People's Champion".
    • The games give the minor bots their own nicknames. Blacktop is "The Bot out of Hell", Six Shooter is "The Sheriff of Robotown", Gridlock is "The Bronzed Bodybuilder Bot", Axelrod is "The Wheel-Spinning Fistfighter", and so on.
  • Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: Zeus ("King of the Robots") and Midas ("The Gold-Blooded Killer"). Additional material also gives us Ida-Ten, Sun Wukong, and Armageddon. And of course, there's Atom, which sounds suspiciously similar to "Adam".
  • Repeat Cut: In the battle with Twin Cities, the final blow and fall is shown from three different angles. Two of them from behind each robot, then once looking straight down, complete with triumphant music swelling in the background.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Played with. The robots are mostly tools, and generally have no free will. Zeus is autonomous, but his programming seems only limited to fighting. There's also a brief scene of Metro looking confused when Atom dodges an attack. And of course, it's left to the viewer to decide whether or not Atom is sentient.
  • Robot Athlete: The premise of the movie revolves around them.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Atom is actually a sparring robot, meaning that he's designed to take lots of damage. This proves useful when his durability outlasts Zeus' energy.
  • Secret Art: Atom's Shadow Mode, which allows him to mimic a person's moves exactly. When said person happens to be a retired professional boxer who acts as his trainer, this is a serious advantage.
  • Sensual Slavs: Farra Lemkova, heiress of a Russian oligarchy.
  • Serkis Folk: The robots. Max turns it into a gimmick by using Atom to dance pre-round.
  • Share the Male Pain: During the Midas vs Noisy Boy fight, Midas punches Noisy Boy in "that spot". Being a robot, Noisy Boy doesn't feel anything, but despite that, the entire crowd flinches and reaches reflexively downward.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Atom and Max are shown to dance before every fight. They don't do this when Atom goes up against Zeus, likely to highlight the seriousness of the match.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Atom's name is a twofer. It belongs to both the robot hero Astro Boy and the Golden Age hero The Atom, a diminutive scrapper who was taught to box, and proceeded to outfight thugs much bigger than him.
    • Charlie's first robot Ambush has some similarities to the blue robot in Rock'Em Sock'Em Robots.
    • The statue standing outside the WRB area closely resembles a Gundam.
    • The final fight ending with a judges decision in favour of the antagonist is likely a nod to the first Rocky movie.
  • Sleep Cute: Near the end Charlie climbs into Bailey’s bed to hold her while she sleeps. The smile that spreads across her face tells you how long she’s been waiting for that to happen.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: A Type 1. Takes only the concept from Matheson's short story. Otherwise, the film has its own separate characters, themes, and world.
  • Soft Glass: Tak Moshido, Zeus' creator, punches through one of the computer screens for Zeus' controls in frustration, with little damage done to his hand.
  • Stealth Pun: One of the underground robots Atom fights during his montage is a cowboy-themed boxer named Six Shooter. If one looks closely at Six Shooter's arms, one can see how his biceps are designed to resemble a pistol's revolver. As in his guns.
    • Not to mention the fact that he "fires" his arms, producing a gunshot sound effect. A similar gag is made for Blacktop, whose punches make a motorcyle's revving sound effect.
  • The Stoic: Team Zeus, until they start freaking out when Atom puts up a good fight. Gets worse when Atom starts winning.
  • Stone Wall: Atom in his initial function as a sparring robot. He needed to survive even the champions' best hits (that are shown to be easily capable of shattering the parts of actual fighters) but he lacked offensive power, presumably to minimize the repairs needed by said champions after a session. Max's upgrades and Charlie's training turn him into a Lightning Bruiser.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence:
    • Charlie loses not one, but two of his robots through his own hubris and errors. He loses his first robot, Ambush, when he actually turns his back to the arena during the fight in order to flirt with a woman, and he loses his second robot, Noisy Boy, when he puts him into a main event bout without even bothering to learn all of the commands first.
    • Zeus' owners were so confident that Atom would lose early in the match, perhaps in the first round, that they did not even bother to make sure Zeus had enough power to last the full five rounds. Towards the end of the match he actually begins to run out of power, allowing Atom to attack with near impunity. Though given he's never had to go further than one round, it's unlikely they ever bothered.
      • Charlie suckers them in using up all battery power. It is likely Zeus could have gone the distance defending. It is part of the rope-a-dope technique. Get a fighter that is way fitter to burn through his stamina.
    • Ricky is so confident that Atom won't last past round one vs Zeus that he tells Finn his exact seat in the stadium so that the can personally bring his money to him. This backfires horribly on him when Finn uses that information to track him when Atom manages to survive to round two.
  • Super Toughness: Atom's biggest advantage; as a sparring robot, he's designed tougher than even top-of-the-line combat models.
  • Taste the Rainbow: Each robot incorporates a different theme into its design. Noisy Boy, for example, takes influence from Samurai armor, while Midas has a fitting Greek armor motif to his design.
  • Technician vs. Performer: The key to Atom's success. Seemingly every other robot in the world is just a bipedal competitor in Robot Wars. Atom's shadow function enables ex-boxer Charlie to effectively "train" him to "perform" elegant punches, and utilize his years of experience to perceive telegraphed moves. And in the final fight, it enables Charlie to effectively fight Zeus himself - and beat him to a pulp like any pro boxer could any undisciplined juiced street fighter.
  • Technology Porn: The robots may be beat up or shiny, but they're almost all beautiful in their own way.
  • The Tell: In the Twin Cities fight, Charlie sees that a bit of Twin Cities' shoulder armor shifts when it winds up for a punch. Charlie uses this opening to have Atom counter and gain momentum.
  • Tempting Fate: "If you fall down here, you'll definitely—" Cue abrupt fall.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Tak went into retirement after Noisy Boy lost to the Lemkovas' first robot, Rubicon. Shortly after, he came out of retirement after striking a deal with them that culminated in Zeus' creation.
  • That Poor Car: Atom smashes Blacktop into a car during the montage. Cue the car alarm.
  • Title Drop: Several times. For example, the eponymous "real steel" is the Real Steel boxing tournament.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Oh hey, I'm on a cliff? Yeah, I'm just going to stand here RIGHT ON THE VERY EDGE DURING THE RAIN and act coo-WHOOOOAAA!
    • I think I'll pay attention to flirting with this girl instead of the fight, even though my last robot is fighting a creature with no concept of breaks between rounds.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The first half of Noisy Boy vs. Midas was released without editing as one of the later trailers, including the Gold Blooded Killer's comeback.
    • They show Atom mirroring Charlie's moves during Zeus' fight so you knew that the mirror system would be used during the fight.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Aside from the fact that robots have taken over boxing, everything looks pretty much like present day. The film is set in 2020.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Averted. Zeus wins in points at the end of the fifth round, but the fact that Atom put up such a strong fight and probably would've won had the match had another round got him the support of the crowd. Atom is even dubbed "The People's Champion", no relation to that other one.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: Zeus didn't get penalized for throwing Atom across the ring. In a regular boxing match, he would have gotten a few points docked off.
  • Used Future: Invoked in some of the robots, who look like they've seen better days. Mostly applies to underground fighters like Midas and Metro; WRB League robots like Twin Cities and Zeus are well taken care of.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Not exactly a villain, but Tak loses it when he sees his precious robot taking a fierce beating from Atom. First he drags the technician controlling Zeus from his chair and sits down to control Zeus himself. When Zeus takes a really harsh beating, Tak actually punches through the screen. Later, when the paparazzi tries to interview him, Tak can only breathe into the microphone before storming away.
  • Villainy-Free Villain / Opposing Sports Team: Team Zeus, all the way.
  • The Watson: Max is this in his early scenes; it's to him that Charlie explains the history of the WRB, and Noisy Boy's voice control.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • In every fight, Atom clearly is at a disadvantage in both size and weight. But when your fighting style is provided by a retired pro-boxer compared to the Unskilled, but Strong standard for most bots, you have a recipe for success.
    • Similarly, Midas is thin and wiry compared to the other non-Atom bots in the movie, and makes up for his weight disadvantage with speed, flexibility, and dirty grappling-heavy boxing.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Max's reaction to finding out that he was "sold" to his aunt and her wealthy husband.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Max, who not only displays extraordinary technical skills for an 11 year-old, but is also shown to be quite a bit more savvy than his father.
  • Wrench Wench: Bailey
  • You Have No Chance to Survive: Most have this attitude towards Atom at first, to the point of betting large sums of money that he won't even survive the first round. They were proved wrong every time. Those betting venture out into Too Dumb to Live territory considering if nothing else, Atom was designed as a training bot and thus was DESIGNED to take obscene amounts of damage and keep going so champion bots could have a consistent and stable sparring partner. They are literally betting on Atom not being able to do the exact function he was designed for.


Steel atom logo real

When he entered his bedroom, Ksyusha closed. The curtains. She was wearing one long red T-shirt. Are you clean now. Yeah - answered her nephew.

Real Steel\

Get down on your knees, come to my room - and she sank onto the maples. She pushed the door with her head, the room was quiet and already dark. The hostess is asleep. Quiet, don't make a noise.

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However, the time has come to switch roles. While kissing, we changed the position again so that she completely lay on the bed. I gently held her head with my right hand, kissed her neck. She breathed quickly, and her body was slightly bent, which even more excited me, gradually restored my confidence and determination.

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