Runtime: 113 Mins
Stallone has had a killer streak of Manly Movies since his ‘comeback’ way back in 2006 with Rocky Balboa, or even arguably with Manly TV Series ‘The Contender’, which is where it started for me. Not all of his movies have been critical successes but then, movie critique is in the shitter anyway. Although they’ve all been fan favorites, the streak had to be interrupted somewhere. Grudge Match is that interruption, it’s Stallone’s first weak movie since the mid-00’s. It’s slow paced, it’s not very funny. If you think this is a classic drinking movie in the making, forget it.
Stallone plays Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp. De Niro plays Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen. 30 years ago they had a fight where Sharp prevailed but was considered inconclusive due to The Kid’s injuries going into the fight. In 2013 both are down on their luck and a chance retrospective TV documentary sets off a chain of events leading to a rematch, which is agreed upon for financial gain, mutual hatred or no. A long, grinding chain of events. Don’t check out this movie expecting a comedy. Although it does aim for laughs, it’s a drama first and a comedy second and the problem is that it’s pretty weak-legged as a drama. The laughs are few and far between long bouts of sap.
The problem is, there’s too much melodrama. Too many relatives with family issues most of which are clichéd. The romantic subplot is unnecessary and tiresome and De Niro’s ‘found father’ story with Jon Bernthal is just serious quicksand stuff, pure soap opera. This isn’t what I had hoped for from this movie. I’d expected a sharp and bitter rivalry peppered with coarse yet effective humor. Stallone is also heavily phoning it in here, he looks tired and uninterested, some of his worst acting ever – and not in a good way. On the upside, I was completely unaware that Kim Basinger would appear in this movie and man, surely she is the hottest 60 year old woman to ever have lived. The strongest point of the movie is also easily De Niro. He’s the opposite of Stallone and is putting 110% into the movie. Isn’t enough though.
This movie will probably only appeal to hardcore Stallone fans, but I would say in honesty, they’ll have to concede that it’s a flop.