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On the surface, Real Steel might appear to be nothing more than a hokey father-and-son bonding story set against the backdrop of giant, remote-controlled robot boxing. Underneath that shallow exterior though, you’ll find a hokey father-and-son bonding story set against the backdrop of giant, remote-controlled robot boxing. And I ask you: is that so wrong? As a child of the 80’s, Over the Top was one of my go-to guilty pleasures whenever I needed a Stallone-powered testosterone fix. And Real Steel is essentially Over the Top, with robot boxing taking the place of arm wrestling, and a charming Hugh Grant standing in for Sly. The big difference is far superior acting and phenomenally entertaining special FX work in the Real Steel corner, making it the undisputed champ.
On the technical front, Disney knocks this Blu-ray out of the park, with downright stunning 1080p video and a room-shaking, 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. From the bright, sunlit exteriors during Atom’s first fight, to the dim interior of the finale’s coliseum, Real Steel stands tall as a reference quality video presentation boasting deep blacks, immaculate skin tones, and loads of fine picture detail. Fans of Sugar Ray Leonard will definitely want to look at “Cornerman’s Champ,” as it gives us an entertaining look at the film’s famous fight coordinator and boxing consultant. And last but not last, don’t miss Disney’s always-awesome Second Screen app, allowing you to watch the film in a synchronized mode with exclusive iPad-based bonus content to supplement what you’re seeing on your TV.
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