Real Steel

It's Rocky for kids, only with great big robots. What's not to love?

There’s just something about the spectacle of watching big robots punching each other that makes most grown men regress back to their 12-year old selves. The unbelievable success of the Transformers films with those of us old enough to know better is a case in point.

Real Steel plays to pretty much the same demographic with its tale of washed-up former boxer Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) scraping a living in the world of robot boxing. However, he’s given a shot at redemption through an estranged son (Dakota Goyo), and acquires a new outlook on the sport and his life. Eat your heart out Rocky Balboa.

Picture: This Blu-ray’s AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode delivers an almighty wallop courtesy of its mix of excellent colour reproduction and fine detailing – just check out those gorgeous robot designs. It’s also a film that isn’t afraid to play around in the dark when necessary, and even here the disc delivers rock solid blacks, plenty of shadow detail and a complete absence of crush.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: You’d expect a film about boxing robots to land quite a sonic punch and Real Steel’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack doesn’t disappoint. Away from the canvas it delivers convincing 360-degree locations full of subtle ambience and surround effects, and when the ‘bots take to the ring the mix really picks up – be it the room-shaking bass that accompanies Zeus’ first appearance (Chapter 9) or the even more explosive mix of effects during the final title fight (Chapters 16-18).
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Even if it never quite lands a knockout blow, Real Steel’s Blu-ray disc packs a decent set of extra features. Apart from director Shawn Levy’s informative audio commentary, fans of the movie can get stuck into Countdown to the Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story, a 14-minute in-character featurette showcasing Kenton’s boxing history, and The Making of Metal Valley, a 14-minute look at the creation of one of the film’s most challenging sequences.

Then there’s a look at the creation of the film’s robot effects; a featurette about Hugh Jackman’s training sessions with boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard; a three-minute extended scene; a whole 13-minute subplot that was excised from the finished film; and blooper reel.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: A scrappy little sci-fi fighter that should be a hit with boys of all ages in this hi-def incarnation

Walt Disney Home Entertainment, All-region BD, £25 Approx, On sale now