When I first heard of the concept for this film, I thought that the whole "Rocky vs. Raging Bull" angle was interesting. When I saw the trailer for it, I thought that it looked like a comedy with a healthy dose of heart. When I saw the movie itself...I realized it was an "idea" picture surrounded by filler. For a basic plot summary, "Grudge Match" tells the two of two rival boxers who each beat the other one time, setting up what was to be a hugely popular "rubber match". Before the fight could take place, however, Henry "Razor" Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) walked away from the sport, leaving Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (Robert De Niro) to stew over what could have been. Thirty years later, both fighters meet up again at a motion-capture exercise for a new video game coming out. They still have as much vitriol and hatred for each other as before, and thus the rivalry is rekindled. When the prospect of a huge $$$ purse is dangled before their eyes, they agree to step in the ring one final time to settle the score once and for all. The trouble with this movie is two-fold: First, Stallone has never achieved any comedic success (besides perhaps "Avenging Angelo", but that wasn't supposed to even BE a comedy)...period! When it comes to the comedy of this film, De Niro runs circles around Stallone. Since they both share about equal screen time, the Sly comedy scenes get a bit tough to stomach. Plus, as usual, Kevin Hart's brand of comedy is very much an acquired taste (one that this reviewer hasn't come around to). Secondly, even the best of comedy movies have to contain some heart or "meat" behind them, and "Grudge Match" fails miserably in that department. The backstory involving Kim Basinger's character just isn't interesting enough to make you care about what should be the emotional punch of the movie. Granted, there are some positives to this film (hence the 2 stars instead of just a single). Some jokes (especially for those intimately familiar with Stallone and De Niro's past works) are laugh- out-loud funny, while the end fight scene is probably the best part of the entire movie (where Stallone really gets to shine). However, it is quite clear that the "Rocky vs Raging Bull" concept is what fueled this movie, and that just wasn't enough to carry a two-hour film. "Grudge Match" isn't terrible, but I have absolutely no desire to watch it again, either.
Comedy / Drama / Sport
Comedy / Drama / Sport
A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout, thirty years after their last match.
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April 14, 2019