Stallone and De Niro duke it out for laughs as a pair of long-retired and ageing boxing rivals in Grudge Match. The film is a comedy that packs a slight emotional punch thanks to the agreeable nature of its leading characters as they settle a 30-year-old score.
When Henry “Razor” Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (Robert De Niro) come out of retirement to fight one final bout, in many ways it’s a formulaic Rocky meets Raging Bull tale, taking place three decades after both have quit the ring.
Nonetheless, Grudge Match is an enjoyable treat, with director Peter Segal keeping things light-hearted.
Razor, who has been laid off from a Pittsburgh steel works, and The Kid, who is a used car salesman and restaurateur, need this last chance at glory for different reasons.
In the 1980s both had been light-heavyweight champions, each taking the title from the other, but Razor surprisingly retired before a decisive re-match could be held. Why? A woman, of course – in this case, Sally, played admirably by Kim Basinger, who drifted out of Razor’s life into an affair with The Kid.
When the elderly pugilists meet, they fight in private and a video of their fracas inadvertently goes viral. In steps wannabe promoter Dante Slate Jr (Kevin Hart), and the long-talked-about significant contest is scheduled.
The story is amiable and a tad sentimental because, in the finale, both fighters predictably come out winners. But if it’s clichéd, good, jocular fun you want, then Grudge Match is a belter.
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