Sunday, February 2, 2014

Movie Review ... Grudge Match


hr_Grudge_Match_8Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone are no strangers to boxing rings.  Having starred in seminal boxing films – ‘Raging Bull’ and ‘Rocky’ respectively – it makes sense they appear in a ring-side team-up.  Age hasn’t wearied any of their punches with ‘Grudge Match’ making use of their expert fisticuffs.  It doesn’t stretch their acting range although they have a good time messing around with their status as cinematic idols in this amiable film.

Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) and Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (Robert DeNiro) are former heavy-weight boxing rivals.  Long retired, they earn their keep living off their dwindling fame.  After an altercation this incident catches the eye of promoter Dante Slate Jnr. (Kevin Hart).  Never one to miss any money-making opportunity, he proposes a re-match.  Eager to settle scores, they begin a tough training regime in order to finally show the world who is the reigning champion.

‘Grudge Match’ is a harmless product amounting to very little.  Whilst the concept is sound and the motif of ‘old warriors finding their place in a new world’ is interesting, ‘Grudge Match’ hasn’t the courage of its comedic convictions.  Like most recent so-called comedies, it injects some drama in its story in a mis-guided attempt in making it seem more substantial than it is.  This has the consequence of stopping any comedy in its tracks whilst making the dramatic moments seem too cheesy.

The acting also lacks energy.  Whilst DeNiro and Alan Arkin as Henry’s father throw themselves in their roles with gusto, their co-stars provide seriously bad performances.  Stallone looks continually bored with Kim Bassinger playing Henry’s ex-wife completely wasted.  The rousing finale provides most interest even if it gradually descends into sentimental clichés. 

Unmemorable and lacking any knock-out blow ‘Grudge Match’ is very ordinary.  When a movie doesn’t know what it wants to be you know it’s in trouble.  Those keen on seeing ageing stars duke it out may enjoy it even if this slice of Hollywood vanilla film-making fails to fulfil its potential.


Movie Review Rating out of 10:  4

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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