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'Real Steel' has a soft heart

If you're looking for an entertaining family film, you can't go too wrong with Real Steel. Yeah, it's kind of manipulative, so be ready for that, but it's got robots, boxing and schmaltz.

Directed by Shawn Levy (the Night at the Museum movies), it stars Hugh Jackman as former fighter Charlie Kenton, who has gone into the underground robot boxing circuit, where machines have replaced humans in the ring.

Charlie works out of a gym that's also a robot repair shop owned by his girlfriend, Bailey (Evangeline Lilly, Lost), whom he doesn't treat that well. Despite being over the hill as a fighter, Charlie isn't much of an adult, and the onetime contender has an estranged 11-year-old son, Max (Dakota Goyo).

When Charlie is bought off to take care of Max briefly after the boy's mother dies — too complicated to explain — he finds his cold, robotlike emotions and luck with the machines starting to warm up.

The trouble is that it's a little hard to root for Charlie. He's no Rocky and a bit too much of a jerk.

But by the end, it's all about the machines bashing the bolts out of each other, which is probably all young boys care about.

Real Steel retails for $29.99 or $39.99 Blu-ray.

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