Wednesday, December 25, 2013
MOVIE REVIEW: GRUDGE MATCH
Two retired boxers (Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro) decide to settle a long-standing beef by heading back into the ring in this sports comedy from director Peter Segal. Back in the day, Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (De Niro) and Henry "Razor" Sharp (Stallone) were the two biggest bruisers in the Pittsburgh boxing scene. Their fierce rivalry drawing nationwide attention, Razor and The Kid were deadlocked for the title of overall champion when the former announced his retirement just before the decisive 1983 match that would have determined the supreme champion. Three decades later, enterprising boxing promoter Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart) lures the aging pugilists back into the ring for the fight that everyone has been waiting for. Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, and Jon Bernthal costar. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: Peter Segal
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin, Kevin Hart, Jon Bernthal
Release Date: Dec 25, 2013
Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language
Runtime: 1 hr. 53 min.
Grudge Match is those type of film’s that’s heavy on clichés and light on surprises. It’s about as harmless as a sleeping kitten. The plot borrows liberally Rocky and Raging Bull mixed with generic family drama (lost loves and children). There are old jokes by the barrel full with plenty of room left for the most obvious ones like Ben Gay and Geritol. It’s about as vanilla a film as they come with only one real surprise. Its watch able, occasionally lots of fun and surprisingly heartfelt in spots. You’d expect the cast to phone it in but most are surprisingly engaged with Stallone and De Niro giving the whole thing a pulse. Stallone in particular delivers his most authentic performance in years. De Niro seems to be having a ball perhaps reliving old glories. He and Bernthal, who does look like he’s related to De Niro, have a nice father long lost son chemistry on screen. Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart provide harmless comedic relief which never veers into anything close to dangerous territory. Kim Basinger meanwhile seems to have thought that it was a good idea to whisper all her lines regardless of the situation. The movie moves along at a nice pace rarely lingering and almost making its 2 hour runtime seem worthwhile. Along the way you’ll get the expected training montages, reunions leading up to the big fight. The climatic fight is impressively edited, making the whole thing seem as real as possible, even if boxers in movies never seem to defend themselves but I digress. It ends on a feel good moment which feels earned even in the most generic of all films.