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Movie review – “Grudge Match”

Twitview: “Grudge Match” – Raging Bull vs Rocky as DeNiro takes on Stallone in a comedy of aging boxers who come out of retirement for one final bout that was 30 years in the making. Grade 3 out 5.


Sylvester Stallone, Robert DeNiro, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart star in a comedy that punches the jokes as it delivers body-blows to the mind with a plot that could be a funnier parallel to Rocky Balboa in story and theme. Aging boxers Bill “The Kid” McDonnen (DeNiro) and Henry “Razor” Sharp (Stallone) had a great rivalry in the 70’s where each won a fight against the other. The legendary third fight never happened as Sharp quit boxing while McDonnen has always thought that it was due to not having heart when in fact it was due to the love of the heart with Sally (Basinger) the love of Sharp’s heart.

There are moments of seriousness that help ground Grudge Match where Sharp and Sally reconnect while her son BJ (Jon Bernthal) has a connection with his biological father, McDonnen. But this is a comedy and it’s the fun of the movie that really sells the punches. Kevin Hart is a riot with his scenes with Arkin and they really work well with each other. Many times Hart is talking and talking and still talking while Arkin just plays “old” to get the laugh. Stallone isn’t one to shy away from having fun at his own extent as he does make fun of Rocky in a scene at a butcher shop where meat almost gets punched.

As I said there are some parallels to the last Rocky movie. Fox Sports and their “where are they now” segment looking back at the two fighters was a dead on take from ESPN’s digital fight of Rocky against a modern boxer. The bought at the end between Sharp and McDonnen was very reminiscent of that last fight Rocky had with Antonio Tarver’s Mason “The Dixon” Line. Both gave it their all and both had something worth proving.

Rated PG-13 with a run time of 120 minutes, Grudge Match is one that will give you a Knock Out and make you punch drunk yet leave you laughing the whole way.