Grudge Match tells the story of boxing icons Razor (Stallone) and The Kid (De Niro), who are trying to reclaim victory after an unfinished match between the pair thirty years earlier. But as they get closer to retirement, re-establishing themselves as serious contenders is a grim task and they face not only their own hatred towards each other but becoming the prospect of becoming a laughing stock on American television.
I can honestly say that my expectations for Grudge Match were rather low in the lead up to seeing this film. I had anticipated a cringe-worthy affair of bad acting, predictable storytelling and woeful execution, but with the casting of acting heavy weights Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, I saw a glimmer of hope.
Surprisingly, Grudge Match ended up being an enjoyable two hours thanks to an amusing script about the two retired boxers. The film fell into the category of an almost parody-style of film-making. It draws inspiration from Stallone and De Niro’s past fight films such as Rocky and Raging Bull, and retells those classics as if Grudge Match is the story of the fighter’s future years in and out of the ring. Not shying away from poking fun at the characters the actors portrayed, its lighthearted nature mixed with crude humor balances perfectly, never becoming unnecessary or overdone.
Where Grudge Match fails is its inability to bring anything remarkably new to the boxing arena. A ‘been-there, done-that’ feel to the whole outing is apparent, and it never reaches spectacular heights, instead safely sitting at the halfway point of good, but not great. This is mostly due to its cliche storytelling of fighters trying to reclaim their glory days, which includes everything from a final battle to a music montage of them training.
Despite this, Grudge Match was an enjoyable few hours to sit through due its hilarious cast and a surprisingly side splitting script, never asking much from its audience other than to sit back, relax and enjoy. It won’t win any awards, and it does tread very familiar ground, but sometimes it’s nice to sit through a film that rather than trying to overachieve, is content in just pleasing its audience at a very basic level.
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