run time: 113 mins
considered: Comedy, Sports
starring: Sylvester Stallone, Robert DeNiro, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, Jon Bernthal
movie summary: A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout — 30 years after their last match. (www.imdb.com)
Grudge Match would have been the icon vs. icon rubber match of the late 20th century, but this tie breaking match never took place until 2013 some 30 years later. Sylvester Stallone dons the boxing trunks once again, this time in his mid 60’s, as Henry “Razor” Sharp who is about to settle an old score with fellow 60-year-old former boxer Billy “the Kid” McDonnen played by Robert DeNiro. The thought of these two Hollywood heavyweights, both famous for boxing roles would a screen writer’s dream, but this is not Rocky Balboa vs. Jack La Motta, the Italian Stallion vs. Raging Bull or anything worth headlining a pay-per-view show.
History will show that McDonnen won the original bout between these two, while Sharp easily won the second contest by knock out. With the score tied at one win apiece the third fight never took place for reasons unknown to the general public. Sharp suddenly retired which left a sour taste in McDonnen’s mouth for bailing on their potential rematch. The bitter personal rivalry continued for decades until Dante Slate Jr (Kevin Hart) shows up with a proposal that neither can refuse. A video game company has offered to put both guys in their legends of boxing video game, so while filming their signature boxing moves, the pair meet face to face and a brawl breaks out. Everyone in the studio records the fight with their cell phone which soon goes viral and the sponsors come calling for a real fight to take place.
The pair agree to box one more time although neither are in great shape, let alone good shape. They manage to find trainers and their workout routine is really laughable. Outside of the gym, they hit the road to do promotional stuff for the bout when their personal problems rear its ugly head and the drama unfolds. Only three weeks before their match, which has sold out the 15,000 seat Console Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Sharp decides to withdraw from the bout citing personal reasons. McDonnen loses it and vandalizes Sharp’s house in an attempt to call him out. Within days Sharp realizes the only way to put an end to all this drama is in the ring, so he agrees to kick McDonnen’s ass.
People everywhere doubted the abilities of these two men because of their ages, but when they finally make the way into the square circle and go toe to toe round after round, people begin to see the fiery passion still burns to be the best.
my thoughts: Anytime I think of Stallone lacing up his boxing boots the Rocky theme song starts playing in my head. I was really excited with the release of this movie because the trailer made it seem like you’d be on the floor laughing your ass off. Indeed Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin tease each other with such vulgar things that would make most people blush, while DeNiro has plenty of vulgar wise cracks himself. The movie is funny and lives up to its comedy billing, but seriously lacks everything else to be a decent movie. At two hours long, we spend about 1:30 of it watching DeNiro and Stallone suppressing then dealing with personal demons instead of focusing on training. Kim Basinger doesn’t appear in a lot of the movie yet is a major part of the storyline. As for the main event, it’s filled with lots of punches to the face because these two guys have slow reflexes and movements.
One of the funniest sports themed movies in a while, just be prepared to be disappointed with the overall storyline of Grudge Match. Don’t pay full price, go on a cheap day.
my star rating: 5 out 10