Magazine article Screen International

Grudge Match

Magazine article Screen International

Grudge Match

Article excerpt

Dir: Peter Segal. US. 2013. 111mins

Putting Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone - the onetime Raging Bull and the sometime Rocky - in a story about old boxing rivals is a fun idea. But the moderately funny and half-heartedly dramatic Grudge Match is only a passable vehicle for the pairing, a lightweight comedy that will need to make the most of its somewhat dimmed star power - and a diverse supporting cast - if it wants to score many points at the post-Christmas box office.

The climactic fight sequence doesn't begin to compare to anything in Raging Bull or the Rocky films but it is reasonably convincing and fairly emotionally satisfying.

A wide US opening on Christmas Day will put the film up against some strong competition, though worldwide distributor Warner Bros may still be able to attract an older-skewing audience as the holiday season winds down. Stallone, whose recent releases have over-performed outside the US, will be the bigger draw when the film has its international roll out in the New Year.

As portrayed in a digitally enhanced opening sequence, Pittsburgh fighters Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen (De Niro) and Henry 'Razor' Sharp (Stallone) were fierce rivals in the eighties until the latter's sudden and unexplained retirement from boxing. Thirty years on, the spotlight-shunning but financially strapped Razor finally agrees to a re-match with the brash, womanising Kid.

While the sluggers try to get back in shape, the film introduces other characters that link the two men: the fast-talking son of their original promoter (played by comedian Kevin Hart, from Think Like A Man), Razor's crotchety old trainer (Alan Arkin), Kid's long lost adult son (The Walking Dead's Jon Bernthal) and Razor's long estranged girlfriend (Kim Basinger). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.