Starring: Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin
Directed by: Peter Segal
Written By: Tim Kelleher, Rodney Rothman
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 53 min
Your opinion of Grudge Match might actually depend on your willingness to give Robert De Niro and/or Sylvester Stallone a pass on this blatant cash in on their former cinematic triumphs. Which I did. Sure, there are nods to Raging Bull and the first Rocky film, but so what? Other than its leads, there’s no real connection to those classic movies – so chill!
I’m not saying Grudge Match is any good either. It’s incredibly predictable and formulaic, and at times Stallone and De Niro seemed to be phoning in their performances. Clearly taking this project about as seriously as I suggest you do. At the same time you get the sense they were enjoying themselves, and that brings with it a certain fun charm, making Grudge Match at least watchable.
At times it’s funny, thanks mainly to supporting characters Kevin Heart as Dante Slate Jr and Alan Arkin as Louis ‘Lighting’ Conlon. But while the script does occasionally offer up some genuinely funny material, it mostly felt flat and lifeless. You’ll really notice this during the supposedly more dramatic moments in the film.
If you’re a die-hard fan of Raging Bull and/or Rocky I would suggest you give this a pass. Because it’s likely going to anger and sadden you that those two movies were exploited for Grudge Match. This is just very lighthearted fun, and your expectations should be kept low before seeing it.
This isn’t a big screen movie at all. It doesn’t bring enough substance or use enough technology to justify its presence on the big screen. You’ll enjoy this just as much at home over your preferred streaming service. On your TV, tablet, or even your phone.
Best moment for me: << mild spoiler >>
Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Stallone) and Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (De Niro) are promoting their event at a UFC fight. They start to insult the sport, and a leading UFC fighter gets in their faces about it. Even slapping Razor in the face. So Razor punches the young kid and knocks him to the floor. Surprising everyone with just how much strength the 60+ year old still had in his arms. Including The Kid, who for the first time seems to wonder if taking on this fight was such a good idea.