Hugh Jackman used to be a boxer before the sport was outlawed. Now he operates a giant robot in the new boxing ring. Unfortunately, he's a lousy human being. He's fathered a kid but cares nothing for his offspring. His main concern is making money with the bots.
When he's called to court for a custody hearing, Jackman makes a deal in order to "watch" his son for the summer for a large sum of money. (He's the cliched low-life.)
During the summer, father and son find and update an old sparring robot in order for it to fight in the arenas. This bot was created to take a beating and in this way is very much the robotic version of the Italian Stallion.
The film tries very hard to get you to believe this robot is alive, having it stare into a mirror and shadow box with the boy, but we're lucky in that they kept it lifeless. It's just a robot but people still cringe when the punches are delivered.
Young boys will love the boxing robots and the high-octane music while their moms will enjoy seeing Hugh Jackman become a better man.
Seriously, Jackman is the reason this movie is so good. He has the ability to take a less than so-so movie and turn it into a fairly successful flick.
Outside of the incredibly annoying kid and a few bad examples of foul language, Real Steel is a decent movie.