Grudge Match Film Review

Posted: December 30, 2013 in Movies
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Grudge match is pretty much Rocky vs Raging Bull, with Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro playing 2 retired boxers who agree to fight each other. The backstory is that during their prime in the 80s the two fought each other twice, with each fighter getting a win. However, the rubber mach never happened, as Stallone’s character retired from boxing after winning the second fight.

Slightly borrowing from the premise of 2006’s Rocky Balboa, the two fighters are hired to do motion capture for a boxing video game. The two encounter each other for the first time in 30 years and get into a real brawl, which gets recorded and goes viral, prompting the rematch.

The first act is very clunky and heavy handed. It slightly improves in the second and third act as dramatic elements are developed. There’s lost loves, estranged family, and the reason for Stallone’s character for retiring. There’s also the theme of mistakes and regret hanging over your life for 3 decades.

There is the issue of Stallone actually being in shape in real life vs De Niro, but a plot point relating to Stallone addresses this.The fight follows the Rocky format of showing the first two rounds, then a montage, then the final rounds. However, seeing two old boxers fight was not cinematically exciting, and overall felt like Rocky on the cheap.

I’m not as familiar with Raging Bull so if there were any references to that I didn’t catch them. There are two Rocky references. Stallone tries drinking the eggs, and there’s a joke about him punching slabs of meat. Also it doesn’t take place in Philadelphia, but Pittsburgh which is still PA. His character is also more working class, while De Niro owns a car dealership and is more of the showman.

The fight has a winner, but by this point I don’t care as much. Someone like me is the target audience for this movie, which makes it an even bigger disappointment.


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