Neil Fox on film (14.10.11)

Real Steel

What’s this? An original family film that’s not a remake, or a sequel? Yes, and a good one, too, so even greater cause for surprise and celebration.

Hugh Jackman stars as a boxing promoter and trainer who thinks he has found a winning pugilist in the shape of a robot heading for the scrapheap. Yep. Robot.

This is the future and robot boxing is the main attraction.

Along for the ride is Jackman’s estranged son. It’s full of classic familial and sporting tropes but is mostly free from cliché.

It’s helped by stunning action and the latest motion capture CGI, and Hugh Jackman who is clearly having a ball and using every ounce of his considerable charm.

Footloose

And from an original family movie we head to yet another tired rehashing of a cult classic.

We don’t need it and we shouldn’t support it but no doubt people will head to the ‘plex in their droves.

It feels weird writing out the plot for a film where everybody reading the review has probably seen the original. Suffice to say a small town and its rigid ways are exploded with the arrival of a loose teen boy and his desire to dance.

The problem the remake has is that it can’t convince that places where the kind of repression in middle class white society represented here actually exist, and so it’s all a bit, meh. Let’s hear it for the boy? No, don’t think so this time.

The Three Musketeers

We need another Three Musketeers film like we need another Footloose film, but we got ‘em both so here goes.

It’s rubbish. Utter rubbish. Well, maybe that’s harsh but it’s leaden, cliché-ridden and derisory. Orlando Bloom plays a baddie, Christoph Waltz is utterly wasted and the Musketeers are limp, lifeless duds.

That the movie is directed by Paul WS Anderson should be all you need to know to convince you that it’s awful, and the less said about the obligatory 3D elements on offer the better.

Texas Killing Fields

A superb cast is wasted in this thriller that never knows whether it should be playing the pulp card or not.

Sam Worthington heads up the cast as a Texas cop forced to partner with a rugged New York detective as they track a vicious serial killer.

It feels dated and derisive and never gets out of first gear.

That’s a real shame given the range of talent on display, which includes Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick Ass) and Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life).