Real Steel (Touchstone, Blu-ray or standard DVD, PG-13, 127 Min.). This mechanical “Rocky” finds most of its heart through the wonderful, this-is-so-amazing performance of Dakota Goyo as 11-year-old Max, the estranged son of robot boxer handler Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman). When Max teaches his robot Atom to dance and then they dance together before a match, the film lands an emotional upper-cut that has you reeling with pleasure, even though you probably could have scripted every minute thereafter yourself.

The time is the near future, when robotic boxing has replaced human boxing with its higher level of mayhem, but no loss of life. The sport started in Japan, of course, then went viral over the Internet via YouTube and other outlets. Charlie is a former boxer, who, we learn, had one shining moment in the ring himself before everything started to fall apart. He is reduced to fights with his battered robot Ambush in the fair circuit. In fact, early on, we see Ambush get literally gored apart by a bull called Black Thunder. Then, Charlie learns his ex-girlfriend has died, leaving behind their son, Max. Charlie wants nothing to do with Max, whom he has not seen in years, but comes up with a plan when he sees Max’s Aunt Deborah (Hope Davis) is wealthy. For $100,000, he agrees to give up his rights to Max but takes the boy for the summer so a planned Italy vacation can go off without the presence of a child.

Given half the money, Charlie buys another robot, Noisy Boy, which has a voice recognition system. Max, who tags along to the fight, has more sense than Charlie, who manages to get Noisy Boy destroyed as well. They then go to a junk yard (Metal Valley) to steal robot parts, and Max finds Atom buries in mud. Atom is a second-generation robot, meaning he is old, more human-like and without all the fancy programming now in vogue. Max, though, adapts Noisy Boy’s voice recognition system to fit Atom and, since Atom apparently was originally a sparring partner robot, it also has a shadow program, where it mimics everything its controller does. This leads to the dancing and, ultimately, the climatic moment in the most unlikely of fights. Atom, who quickly becomes a crowd favorite in his first league fight, is given a shot at the Real Steel championship against the mighty, undefeated Zeus. So ultimately, this is a heart-warming film, directed by Shawn Levy and with the magical touch of executive director Steven Spielberg evident. Evangeline Lilly (TV’s “Lost”) plays Bailey, who inherited her father’s gym; her father used to be Charlie’s trainer.

Extras on Blu-ray and standard DVD include bloopers (2:26); an interesting look at the creation of and filming in Metal Valley (14:14); audio commentary by director Levy (“Night at the Museum” franchise); and building the robots at Legacy Effects, the successor to Stan Winston Studios (5:38). The Blu-ray has a second screen capability, where you can explore exclusive interactive content with Levy that includes progression reels, 360-degree turnarounds of the robots and look at the technology that created the fights; an in-character TV background feature on Charlie and Atom (13:51); an extended scene and 13:44 of deleted scenes having to do with a butterfly charm; and a look at boxing champ Sugar Ray Leonard coaching Jackman (6:19). Grade: film and extras 3.5 stars

Abduction (Lionsgate, Blu-ray or standard DVD, PG-13, 106 min.). Taylor Lautner of the “Twilight” franchise takes on a lead role here, and one that turns into a very action-oriented role. He plays Nathan Harper, a high school student plagued with nightmares and anger issues that his shrink (Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Bennett) is helping him learn to control. His father (Jason Isaacs) is strict, almost to the point of being abusive in their backyard fight training (interesting fact is Lautner has an extreme martial arts background and was a world champion at age 11). Assigned to do a school project about missing kids with his neighbor Karen (Lily Collins), Nathan comes across a website that makes him believe he may have been abducted as a child.

As soon as his “mother” (Maria Bello) confesses she is not his real mother, two killers break into the house, which is soon destroyed, sending Nathan and Karen on the run. It actually turns out that nearly everything about Nathan’s life was a lie. The film is set in and around Pittsburgh and has a climatic scene at PNC Stadium, where Lautner gets to do some Parkour. Plot-wise, the film changes course wildly, but Lautner proves more than adept at the action scenes. He is a bit stiff in the role, which is surprising, since he is so engaging in his animated discussion about making the film (18:17). Another extra looks at him doing most of his own stunts (11:57). There also is a making-of feature (12:01) and a gag reel (3:37). Grade: film 2.5 stars; extras 3.25 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Additional reviews are available online at and include “50/50” and “The Guard.”