Hugh Jackman and a robot star in Real Steel. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Who's in it? Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand

The plot Charlie Kenton (Jackman) is a retired, down-on-his-luck former prize fighter who lost his chance at the title when 2,000lb, 8ft-tall steel robots started taking to the ring, instead of humans. Reduced to scratching a living as a small-time promoter, the debt-ridden Kenton earns just enough money to get from one underground boxing venue to the next by piecing together lowly sparring robots out of scrap metal.

Suddenly, following the death of Kenton's ex-wife, his son Max (Dakota Goyo) arrives back into his nomadic life, much to the distress of the boy's aunt, who is seeking custody of him.

One night spent scavenging for scrap metal in the rain turns up a rust-bucket of an old practice robot, built merely to take a pounding during practice sessions, and Kenton's ready to leave the robot to rot, until Max persuades him to give the broken-down old wreck a second chance - mirroring the second chance that taking the robot to the championship finals could give to this broken father-and-son duo.

What we liked We imagine that the seriously believable special effects owe a debt to Transformers-esque technology, and darn it if you're not rooting for the robot the way you once did for Rocky! And as usual, Jackman shines.

What we didn't like It's a predictable - slightly hackneyed - message, wrapped up in some visual overstimulation.

Our rating 3/5