- Rob Carnevale
- 24 January 2014
Stallone and De Niro go head to head in this flawed but worthwhile boxing picture
Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro are undoubtedly two of cinema’s heavyweights yet much of their recent material has been of the lightweight variety. Grudge Match does little to change that perception even if it does manage to land a few telling blows.
A passion project of sorts for De Niro, who sought out Stallone for the project, the film follows a pair of ageing boxing rivals – Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Stallone) and Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (De Niro) – as they are lured out of retirement for one final grudge match. Both men have a seething animosity towards each other, fuelled not only by their ring-based egos but also by their mutual love for a woman named Sally (Kim Basinger).
Grudge Match applies more brawn than brain, feeling exploitative during its melodramatic moments and loud and irritating during the comic parts. But the big fight is worth hanging around for, Stallone and De Niro get to share some nice scenes with each other, and there are a couple of decent sight gags, including a laugh-out-loud mid-credits cameo. For all its many flaws, Grudge Match wins you over – but it’s a points decision!
General release from Fri 24 Jan.