#REVIEW: “GRUDGE MATCH”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Boxing, though under-appreciated, is nevertheless America’s most enduring and enchanting Bloodsport. It is home to the Gladiators of the Modern Age, Men and Women willing to break their bodies for carnal wisdom. It’s poetic really, beautiful even, and Stallone and De Niro might know a thing or two about this.
Both Actors owe their careers in great part to Boxing. In 1976 Stallone wrote and starred in the iconic, Rocky. Four years later De Niro entered the ring in Scorcese’s Raging Bull. In the 30-plus years that have passed the two Men have elevated their Careers to monumental heights, and from this precipice they meet again. This time it is as Competitors going toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow.
Peter Segal’s Grudge Match is the Story of a 30-year-old rivalry between Henry “Razor” Sharp (Stallone), and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (De Niro). It’s as though Rocky and Jake met years ago, and the flashback scenes at the beginning romanticize such a thought. That said, it’s Razor and Kid, and the two have a strong disdain for one other in the utmost. Thus, when a chance to settle the score arises they bite, albeit reluctantly.
Razor longs to help long-time Trainer “Lightning” Conlon (Alan Arkin) enter his twilight years in comfort. Whilst Kid just wants to prove once and for all that he is the better of the pair. A Woman sits between the two (Sally), and she is played by the timeless Beauty Kim Basinger. Sally is the Soul the Film, a requisite for every Boxing Flick. Also required is a dash of laughter and Kevin Hart supplies this in spades. Oh, and let’s not forget those Training Montages, because this Film capitalizes off this plenty!
The Eye of the Tiger, Fists of Fury, and the perils of Old-Age. Grudge Match is an eclectic mix of flurries and steady jabs. It’s a Twelve -round Strategy more than a Knock-out Punch, but it’s certain to please Families with its Popcorn-Comedy appeal and endearing Drama. Most importantly, it is a Cautionary Tale about why it’s important to let go of a grudge and move-on. After all, it’s better to go down fighting than it is to live with hate in your heart and better to bleed for a cause than it is to cry over spilled milk.
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release Grudge Match on Christmas Day.