When I interviewed Hugh Jackman this week about his superbly CGI-ed movie Real Steel, I kicked off with ‘boxing robots. How could it fail?’
Watching this movie presents us with a prospect as outrageous and exciting as sci-fi films did in the 1950s when they depicted a man landing on the moon and that prospect now is – taking video game action off the screen and into the real world.
Sure, it takes being a control freak to a whole new level because in the world of Real Steel, a robot can be your friend and run with you – but you still control the action. When it comes to boxing, robots have many advantages over organic humans. They can fight to the death and be repaired. Spectators can scream for blood and get an oily spurty substance without feeling like they’re a part of a murderous mob. And they do exactly what their boxing trainer / manager tells them to do. This is well played out on the big screen with robots that look a lot like Transformers.
Hugh Jackman plays Charlie who’s a gambling addicted, debt-skipping shyster who can add ‘very bad dad’ to his personality description too. I mentioned all this to Hugh – asking him what Charlie had going for him. And of course – he’s played by Hugh Jackman so he can’t be all bad, right? When Jackman plays bad, there will be a shot at redemption which is in the father-son storyline.
The line that I think all little boys would love to hear their dads say when money is suddenly tight is: ‘it’s gone. I spent the money on a robot, alright!?’ Even I forgave Charlie for this selfish act mainly because of Hugh Jackman’s acting style. He has an ‘it’ factor that makes his faults forgivable. And I’m not saying that because I’m under some Hugh Jackman spell – as powerful as that spell is. He quite simply has a good guy magic and it works.
In the interview, Hugh goes on to talk about working with boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, how the relatively inexperienced Dakota Goya playing his son Max managed to match him scene for scene in terms of intensity and ability and – see how Hugh cracks up laughing when I tell him that if you narrow your eyes when you look at the screen, the boxing robots look like the cast of The Expendables. Here it is…
For more of this fun interview with the man who makes his own job look easy and the rest of our jobs a joy, check out Movie Juice 6pm Monday October 10 on STARPICS channel 415.
Real Steel gets 7 out of 10.
It’s in Australian cinemas from Thursday October 6.
And if you just can’t get enough Real Steel before you see the real deal at a cinema – instead of the trailer, here’s a featurette with great behind-the-scenes footage…