Grudge Match (2013)

Grudge Match (2013)
  • Time: 113 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Sport
  • Director: Peter Segal
  • Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Kim Basinger


Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone star as old boxing rivals who come out of retirement for one final match. On their first encounter in decades, their long-festering feud erupts into an unintentionally hilarious melee that instantly goes viral. The sudden social media frenzy transforms their local grudge match into a must-see HBO event. Now, if they can just survive the training, they may actually live to fight again.


  • A story about 2 washed up boxers getting back in the ring for one last fight. On paper, it may have sounded good and with the right comical aspect, it could have worked, but think about it for a second and you and you will see that this movie had a low rate of success right from the get go.

    There’s nothing funny or entertaining about watching 2 washed up boxers going at it. Oddly enough, DeNiro was better suited in this film then Stallone was and Stallone just makes the movie more depressing then what it should have been, I’m not sure there’s a comedic bone in Stallone’s body.

    It’s not really a comedy, tho what comedic value the movie did bring to the table, saved it from being an utter fail.

  • Grudge Match 2.5/10- I came into this movie with much higher expectations than Sylvester Stallone’s other recent movies. I thought it could be good simply because I think that Stallone can only act well when he is boxing and he has in my opinion one of the best and most versatile actors ever-Robert De Niro. I believed that with the two together, the movie would be at least passable, and that is what it is, passable.

    The first half of the movie was awful. They did not really mention boxing that much other than the fight between Henry “Razor” Sharp, who is played by Stallone, and Billy “The Kid” Mcdonnen, played by De Niro, that took place thirty years earlier in the first half. The jokes were off the mark and surprisingly Kevin Hart was not that funny. I was just really hoping that the second half would be better. Thankfully it was slightly better. The boxing scenes and training were at least entertaining enough to enjoy. Basically the second half of Grudge Match gets the audience to remember how great Rocky and Raging Bull. The thing that irritated me throughout the film was it seemed like the movie relied on the two actors previous roles in Rocky and Raging Bull to sell tickets. Someone should have told the director that it is nearly 35 years later since Stallone and De Niro’s boxing movies and therefore they cannot be the same characters with just different names. The acting was not good to say the least. I think everyone could tell De Niro was not very interested in this movie because it was evident that he did not give his best effort. Sylvester Stallone is really just not that good of an actor and the studio knew that so they kept making references and quotes from Rocky to make him at least decent in his role. Too bad in did not work because I really enjoyed the most recent Rocky Rocky Balboa in which Stallone gave a great performance. Really the best part in this movie was Alan Arkin. But saying Alan Arkin gave the best performance in this movie is like saying he was the best looking person at an ugly convention, its just not saying much. Still, he was without a doubt the funniest person.

    The thing that was probably the worst about this movie was the plot. There are things that do not fit in the plot. I do not want to ruin the movie for you if for some reason you decide to see this but there are certain common points that sports movies tend to follow and Grudge Match is no exception

    For full review and more,–the-best-man-holiday.html

  • The term “it’s only a movie” is never more evident than in the 2013 Christmas day release of Grudge Match. If two 70 year old men (star Sylvester Stallone is 67 but go with what I’m saying) were to meet in a long overdue, (nationally) televised boxing rematch (they’re are tied at one win a piece from what took place over 3 decades ago), then just call me the President of the United States. But seriously folks, nothing that happens in this flick would ever surface in the real world. I gotta admit though, it’s a self deprecating, little vehicle that surprisingly, is a lot of fun. The bulk of it is not as bad as what I expected. And it tries to bury the notion of being uncoy by adding two deepened subplots involving the neglected adult child of De Niro’s character and Stallone’s notion of a forgotten romance. “Match” is one of those pictures that would be viable to see if nothing else good was playing at your local multiplex (or if you’ve seen everything out there). Yeah, I’d say that what’s plastered on screen is a good way to kill two hours before everything that happens, evaporates right before your very eyes.

    Including a few unsubtle nods to the Rocky movies (a subdued ending reminiscent of any one of the first 4 installments and featuring segments involving eating raw eggs not to mention almost punching raw meat) and taking place in the iron city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Grudge Match facades the delayed reunion of two stubborn boxers who are inherently past their prime. The two actors featured decide to combine their glory days by channelling their stints as an overweight rasputin from Raging Bull and an underdog droop from 1976’s Oscar triumph Rocky. Basically, they milk their beloved characters for what else, a lightweight drama slash straining, comedic romp. Robert De Niro, almost looking like an older version of his character Johnny Boy from Mean Streets, plays out of shape fighter Billy “The Kid” McDonnen. Stallone, Billy’s counterpart and bitter nemesis, crabs and complains as down on his luck, punch-drunk Henry “Razor” Sharp. Both old timers are summoned back into commission by a money-hungry promoter in Dante Slate, Jr. (played by Kevin Hart acted like well, Kevin Hart). The whole two hour running time then culminates in a bloody boxing tryst that gains popularity through the act of You Tube inheritance (call me old school but I’m getting really tired of every movie featuring this relenting technology phase).

    As I watched Grudge Match, I couldn’t help but observe the make-up of such an impressive cast. I mean you have three Oscar winners (De Niro, Alan Arkin, and Kim Basinger) and one Oscar nominee (Sly “yo” Stallone of course). Yeah, they might be losing a bit of integrity or slumming it a bit, but you gotta hand it to director Peter Segal for somehow convincing everyone to get on board (it could have been someone else on the crew, who knows) for a cinematic exercise likely to find itself stuck in the $4.99 Best Buy bin (a year or two from now I’m thinking). In essence, I have to start with Robert De Niro. With the exception of some impressive work in Silver Linings Playbook and a small cameo in American Hustle (these features are a couple of directorial stints by David O. Russell), he reluctantly is coaxed into taking on every script that is thrown at him. Whether he’s bored or wants to avoid retirement, Bob has managed to show up in 7 count em’ seven, movies in 2013. I read somewhere that a critic thought he needed a hobby. That might not be too far from the truth. Then there’s Stallone. He’s obviously not capable of carrying a film these days with duds like Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and soon to be “Match” on his resume. With The Expendables parts 1 and 2, at least he’s able to garner enough box office clout provided that every other catalog of action hero (on board) decides to sign up. Oh and I almost forgot, Alan Arkin is featured and he’s content on wanting to reiterate his “woe is me I’m old” factor into these proceedings. With this flick and Stand Up Guys, Arkin is a walking contradiction being that one minute he’s in a wheelchair and the next minute he’s wildly driving expensive cars, and exhaustively training over-the-hill boxers. Last but not least, we have the fetching (at 60 years old mind you) Kim Basinger who has taken an acting hiatus only to show up as rusty as ever playing Stallone’s character’s remorseful squeeze. Basinger hasn’t surfaced in a feature length film in three years and regretfully, I can see why. Her individual scenes with everyone reek of desperation and paycheck malaise. She obviously wants to get back in the limelight so I’m hoping she’ll give directors Curtis Hanson, Barry Levinson, or Adrian Lynne a call in the near distant future (let’s not hold our breath people).

    When it all comes down to it, Grunge Match is vanity stricken, hell bent, fire brewing from Stallone’s need to let everyone know what cinematic virtues he’s still about. It’s not awful, it’s not misbegotten, but it reminds the audience of a time in his career that is long lost gone. See it for the novelty, see it for the familiarity, but don’t discount how irrelevant the events are that occur. What’s on screen may not be bona fide art, but it is reluctantly, a popcorn-filled time killer. And if you go into the theater with low expectations, it’s “grudgingly” bearable. That’s how I score my card.

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

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  • Surprises are nice. Surprises are interesting. Surprises are fun. It’s surprising when a pair of aging boxers show that they can still bring it. It’s surprising when aging actors show us something fresh and new. It’s surprising when people who have very good reasons to hate each other find common ground. And it’s surprising when a movie that you expect to be formulaic turns out to be much more.

    Life imitating art imitating life is what “Grudge Match” (PG-13, 1:53) is all about. The film stars two actors in their late 60s playing boxers, while both actors had famously played boxers on film in the 1980s. This movie is not Jake LaMotta versus Rocky Balboa (although that would be interesting since the former was a real person and the latter is a fictional character). This pairing of screen legends who have played boxers before and are now playing different boxers who, in the story have boxed before is plenty interesting in its own right.

    Sylvester Stallone is Henry “Razor” Sharp and Robert DeNiro is Billy “Kid” McDonnen, boxers who came up in the sport as rivals and grew to hate each other, but decide to reunite – professionally, if not personally. When the two light heavyweights first fought each other for the championship, Kid won. In the rematch, Razor won. The tie-breaking grudge match that everyone wanted to see never happened because, for very personal and private reasons, Razor retired from boxing while still in his prime.

    Fast-forward 30 years. Razor is living a lonely life and barely making ends meet. Kid is a local businessman who is moderately successful, but still nurses a grudge against Razor for refusing to allow him to redeem himself after his one lost fight. When a motion-capture video session for a new boxing video game featuring the two boxing legends leads to a physical confrontation that is caught on cell phone cameras and goes viral, the son (Kevin Hart) of Razor’s former boxing promoter brings the two old enemies together so the world can finally see them finish what they started.

    But before the fight can take place, both men have to overcome their personal animosity, mend fences with others from their shared past and, of course, get their well-past-their-prime bodies into fighting shape… if that’s possible. Razor’s old friend Louis “Lightning” Conlon (Alan Arkin) trains Razor, while Kid is trained by his estranged son, B.J. (Jon Bernthal), who often has his precocious son Trey (Camden Gray) in tow. Kim Basinger plays Sally, a woman who has something of a history with both Razor and Kid.

    “Grudge Match” doesn’t take the easy way out of anything – and the effort pays off. The professional, physical and personal challenges that both men face aren’t easily overcome. The drama feels genuine and is perfectly balanced by well-earned laughs. Basinger (a previous Oscar winner) gives the story just the right amount of gravitas and Kevin Hart provides the comic relief, with more than a little help from Arkin and Gray, not to mention the stars themselves. Stallone and DeNiro could’ve mailed in their performances, but instead, they both give us some real quality acting. DeNiro is alternately funny and heart-breaking, but without falling back on his grumpy guy routine of which we’ve seen a little too much in the past few years. In fact, DeNiro’s character is no comedian, but is the more upbeat of the two main characters. Meanwhile, Stallone is sullen, without being depressing, funny when appropriate and seems to show genuine emotion as he works through a number of personal challenges.

    But the appeal of this movie doesn’t just come from the talented cast. The story is original enough to be engaging and is further enhanced by well-paced and balanced directing and seamless editing. The movie also contains a very appealing soundtrack, with a great mix of well-known tunes and some very cool new music. Even the film’s obligatory training montage feels fresh and the climactic fight sequence manages a surprise or two. And speaking of surprises, don’t be in too much of a hurry to head for the exits when the credits start to roll, or you’ll miss two very clever final scenes.

    “Grudge Match” tells an interesting story, with plenty of laughs, scenes that’ll make you smile and even a touching moment or two – and does it all with an unexpected amount of originality. This film fought through some well-worn territory and emerged as a very pleasant surprise – and with an “A-” from me.

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