Just like ‘Escape Plan’ last year, this match-up of two stars past their prime reprising a cloned version of their iconic roles could go either way as a gimmick or something more profound and entertaining. The way things turn out in ‘Grudge Match’, the best thing I could say for the result is that it’s better than the Escape Plan.
Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (Robert DeNiro) and Henry "Razor" Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) were once upon a time boxers at the top of their game and a trilogy of planned matches went evenly matched until Razor’s sudden announcement of retirement derailed both their careers. Having hit hard times and full of emotional baggage, the two are lured in by a fight promoter for a rematch, titled ‘Grudge Match’ which will finish off something they started over thirty years. Along the way, these two oldies have to get back in shape, reconnect with family members and also show themselves and the world that they got a thing or two in them still.
The movie lands it’s punches well when the tone is light and jokes are flowing freely, however when the heavy emotional artillery begins to strike, things turn mawkish and awkwardly silly pretty soon. The fight at the end is hilarious to behold, simply because of the age of the competitors. To see these two wrinkled bags of meat, trying to land punches and prance about the ring is embarrassing.
It’s the acting that holds things together when the script and direction can’t. Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin get the best lines and most of the laughs. DeNiro though on auto-pilot isn’t bad and Stallone mumbles his way through like a second rate Rocky performance. Jon Bernthal and Kim Bassinger are wasted in roles that are poorly written.
Wait for the post credits sequences to get perhaps the best laughs of the movie and that might just about make the movie worth the price of the admission.view less