A retired pugilist transitions to the business side of the ropes after human boxers are replaced by robotic ones in director Shawn Levy's feature-length adaptation of the TWILIGHT ZONE episode "STEEL." Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) was a true contender when the sport of boxing was changed forever. Now, instead of humans duking it out for the masses, huge, powerful steel robots trade blows in the ring. As a result, former gladiator Charlie has been forced into the role of two-bit promoter, piecing together cut-rate fighting bots from scrap metal as he makes the rounds on the underground boxing circuit. Just when it seems that Charlie has sunken to the nadir of his career, his estranged 11 year old son, Max (Dakota Goyo), offers him the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at a comeback by constructing and training a true champion. Now the stakes are higher than ever before, and Charlie is about to get a second chance at leaving an indelible mark on the sport he once dedicated his life to.
3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Underneath the busy, noisy action beats a human heart pumping with the red-blooded emotions that have worked for boxing films since the original CHAMP first grabbed moviegoers in the '30s." (Box Office)
"Levy, with Sugar Ray Leonard adding some punch to the boxing sequences, makes you actually care about the robots..." (Los Angeles Times)
3 stars out of 5 -- "Jackman's solid, the kid's likeable and the climactic fight is a prizewinner. Only those with a heart of tin could resist." (Total Film)
"[A] jaunty, well-built hybrid action/family pic....[The movie] demonstrates the way CGI-driven bot cinema can fruitfully coexist with father-and-son bonding cinema to create charming entertainment -- part warm hugs and part cold clang." -- Grade: A- (Entertainment Weekly)
3 stars out of 4 -- "[T]he movements of the robots are superbly choreographed....It has characters, it matters who they are, it makes sense of its action, it has a compelling plot." (Chicago Sun-Times)
"Jackman is predictably raffish and swaggering..." (Movieline)
"The film is punctuated by mechanical fights which are well directed by director Shawn Levy and certainly amp up the excitement, and Hugh Jackman and Dakota Goyo hit all the right notes..." (Sight and Sound)