In the near future of Real Steel, human boxing has lost its appeal, and is replaced by an industry of new warriors: those who build, train, and control humanoid robot boxers for the ring.
Charlie Kenton, played well by Hugh Jackman, is deep in the business, having fallen into it from the end of the days of human boxing, during which he was a spectacular boxer with a fair record.
The film opens as Charlie is in a losing streak, and down on his luck in more ways than one. When his estranged son is thrust upon him by the death of an old girlfriend, he and the boy embark on a heroic and touching adventure, which leads them to the very top of the sport they find they share a love for.
I enjoyed Real Steel in the theater. You can find that review over here, but the short of it is that Real Steel is a fun film with clever special effects, which – while it may not win any Oscars – makes a good date movie.
The Blu-ray release adds a glut of neat special features. It’s not just reused footage and making-ofs, they did some new production for these clips. The most interesting is a feature called Countdown to the Fight: The Charlie Kenton Story, which takes the form of an in-canon sports documentary.
The characters from the film have given interviews in moments just before the final fight of the film, where Atom fights the undefeated Robot Boxing champion. It’s about 20 minutes of in-character descriptions of who Charlie Kenton is, and how his career took him from boxer to Robot Boxing owner. It also gives a bit of background on the story-world itself, describing quickly the origins of Robot Boxing, and how the old boxers ended up being a major part of the new sport.
There was also some new footage in which the director explained to the audience why and how he removed some of the scenes he did, including an entire subplot about a small butterfly pin.
Of course, the making-ofs are also there, the most interesting of which is the Making of Metal Valley, which goes into the many-day process of filming the sequences that took place in the robot junkyard, where the characters ultimately locate the robot that brings them together through the rest of the film. It’s a really good look at just how much effort goes into what seems in the film like a very simple action.
There’s also a good look at how the robots were constructed from the physical and CGI components, and a short video about the lessons that Hugh Jackman got from Sugar Ray Leonard.
Overall it’s nearly another film-length worth of Real Steel stuff to watch, and much of it really does add to the universe of the story.