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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Grudge Match

January 20th, 2014 by Big Phil Comments

Grudge Match (12)
Directed by: Peter Segal
Starring: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger
Running time: 113 min

A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout 30 years after their last match.

Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Stallone) and Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (De Niro), both ex-middleweight champions, have fought each other twice, the last fight being 30 years ago. Both fighter have only lost one fight in their careers, to each other, but when their rematch was cancelled, both have held grudges against each other since.

When a young promoter Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Harte) offers them both a contract for cameos in a computer game, their bitter rivalry is sparked once more and due to public (and their own egos)demand, a long awaited rematch is organised. But carrying the baggage (and a few excess pounds) from the past 3o years, can both fighters rise to the challenge and possibly accept defeat?

Grudge Match is a superbly touching comedy with two great actors; Stallone being the classic Action Hero type versus De Niro’s Method Approach and it’s great to see these two finally share the same screen together.

If you can dispense with all the disbelief that two 6o-year-olds are going to get into the ring for a professional boxing match, then you will truly enjoy this. Stallone and De Niro’s performances are both physical and yet touching as the script not only deals with their age, but also the mistakes that both have made since their last bout. The humour and banter between the two seems to be really genuine and there are a number of comedy elements that will have you laughing (and perhaps cringing) a little too.

The supporting cast of Alan Arkin as Stallone’s trainer is a piece of brilliant casting as he virtually steals the show in every scene he is in. Kevin Hart’s character displays all of the flamboyance and attitude you would expect from a young promoter, while Kim Basinger portrays the love interest with a touch of class that rounds out this comedy perfectly.

The fight scenes are well staged, as too are the pre-match promos and the training scenes. Whilst there are only one or two references to Rocky and Raging Bull, you can’t help but smile and reminisce about their previous performances. Indeed, there is certainly a touch of nostalgia in Grudge Match, but this film is much more than just a ‘Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em’ comedy. The more tender moments in the film will certainly have the audience resonating with the characters and this is certainly one of the main strengths of this film.

Grudge Match isn’t quite what you would call grounded in reality, then again, have Stallone’s movies ever really fallen into that category? For two actors to portray physically demanding performances mixed with comedy, you really do have to give them credit. A great comedy and as the ring announcer says “Lets get ready to Rumble!”

3 out of 5 Nerds

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I arrived on Earth in 1977 and have virtually devoted my entire existence to cult films, television programmes and cartoons. I am a very big fan of Star Wars and Star Trek; I may struggle with foreign languages but I can order live Gagh in Klingon! I’m the Nerd that knows the trivia but I’m hopeless at sport!

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