Grudge Match, Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone’s recent big screen boxathon directed by Peter Segal, tells the tale of two ageing fighters coaxed out of retirement to once and for all throw shit down in the ring after many, many fattening years. It’s lame, annoying and predictable – in many ways it resembles the state of the aforementioned actors’ half-naked bodies: wobbly, unsettling and should only be seen behind closed doors.
Why, you may demand, are these poor old men being forced into something so ridiculous? Well, isn’t it obvious? They must finally find out who reigns supreme. Henry “Razor” Sharp (Stallone) – arch nemesis and ring-rival to Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (De Niro) – inexplicably quit his prestigious boxing career 30 years previous, leaving the standing victory tally at one-all and the question of supremacy unanswered. Throw in Kim Basinger as the love-lost-love-found-love-interest and the irritating-as-fuck Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart) – the dollar-driven son of the fighters’ notoriously scam-happy late manager hell-bent on cashing in on the competitors’ infamous unfinished dispute – and voila: a movie.
Now, it’s not all terrible. Stallone’s performance is surprisingly good (sadly De Niro’s is surprisingly bad) and if you’re a fan of the Rocky series you’ll like the cute little nods here and there to that iconic time in his career. Plus there are one or two genuinely funny moments including a clever little metaphor explaining what the acronym ‘BJ’ is to an eight year-old boy (think butterscotch jellybeans). However, on the whole, the gags are Generation I crowd-pleasers, the plot is obvious and the ending is a slow, drawn-out combination of both.
If you have nothing to do or desperately want to see De Niro and Stallone smack the crap out of each other, go for gold. Otherwise, stay clear.
Grudge Match is in cinemas nationwide.