Director: Shawn Levy
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Dakota Goyo, Hope Davis, Kevin Durand
Release Date: October 7
Why we’re excited: Is it Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots: The Movie? Nope. How about a Don King-directed Transformers sequel? Negative on that one, too. Though it looks very much like both options, Real Steel is actually an adaptation of an old Twilight Zone episode, titled “Steel” and based on regular Zone screenwriter Richard Matheson’s own short story. In Matheson’s tale, the pugilistic robots look like flesh-and-blood people, adding a level of humanity to the writer’s sports-themed redemption tale; in director Shawn Levy’s 2011 update, the fighters resemble Optimus Prime’s illegitimate offspring, giving Real Steel a blockbuster’s bombast.

So will Hugh Jackman’s latest star vehicle maintain any of Matheson’s story’s heart and soul? We sure as hell hope so, otherwise Real Steel could lend Michael Bay’s alien robot flicks an intellectually powered sheen. Jackman gets his Cus D’Amato on as a failed boxer who, at the urging of his son, trains a massive robot fighter to become a champion, in a 2020 society where ’bots have replaced humans as in-ring combatants. At best, we’re hoping for Rocky meets Dark Of The Moon; god forbid it’s The Great White Hype meets Short Circuit.