I was a 10-year-old boy once, but I had an imagination and liked reading books and stuff. I would have hated "Real Steel" then, too.

I was a 10-year-old boy once, but I had an imagination and liked reading books and stuff. I would have hated “Real Steel” then, too.

Yeah, I shouldn’t go into a movie about boxing robots expecting much, but I came out longing for the subtle nuance of a Michael Bay film.

Where to begin? Well, within the first five minutes of the film, there’s a fight between a robot owned by Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman, for some reason) and a bull.

Not a robot bull. Like a boy cow bull. And the robot punches the bull. In the face.

As Kenton and his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo, probably because Justin Bieber wouldn’t do it), navigate the near-future world of robot-boxing, we learn a lot about the sport. Did you know that a robot can kick another robot in the nuts?

My WTF-meter went crazy for most of the movie.

My favorite sequence may have been a visit to an underground fight club at a zoo. Robots fight in front of an audience best described as Mad-Max-meets-Juggalo to a soundtrack of — sure, why the hell not? — Limp Bizkit!

I can’t deny that it hits the same notes as (read: rips off) “Rocky.” Much of the screening audience ripped into applause watching — in the words of an announcer in the movie — “two machines driven to kill each other.”

But “Real Steel” kills brain cells dead.