MRR Review: "Grudge Match"

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A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout -- 30 years after their last match.
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MRR Review: "Grudge Match"

Rating: PG-13
Length: 113 minutes
Release date: December 25, 2013
Directed by: Peter Segal
Genre: Sports/Comedy

"Grudge Match" is a film about retired Pennsylvania boxers Henry "Razor" Sharp, played by Sylvester Stallone, and Billy "The Kid" McDonnen, played by Robert De Niro. The two men were the biggest fighters in Pittsburgh during the 1970s and 1980s, and they had a fierce rivalry that drew national attention. In 1983, the two fought for the title that would reign one of them the supreme champion. "The Kid" defeats "Razor" during the initial match, which many called one of the greatest boxing matches in history. The two had a rematch, during which "Razor" defeats "The Kid." Shortly after the rematch, "Razor" announced his retirement for unknown reasons, and a deadlock was declared, leaving neither boxer with the title.

Three decades have passed since the rematch, and the two men have yet to settle their long-standing feud. The only fight either boxer ever lost was to the other, which was still upsetting to both of them. During a chance meeting, the aging retired boxers get into a verbal and physical altercation. An onlooker records the fight with his cell phone, and the video ends up going viral on the Internet. Although the two men are far past their prime, a slick-talking boxing promoter named Dante Slate Jr., played by Kevin Hart, is able to convince these men to fight one last time in order to settle their feud.

As the two men prepare for this ultimate match, audiences will learn detailed information about their past. It turns out that the two boxers had a personal rivalry as well, one which involved a woman. During the early 1980s, "Razor" dated a girl named Sally, played by Kim Basinger. Sally ended up sleeping with "The Kid," and she became pregnant with their child after their encounter. "Razor" never forgave either of them and was still holding a grudge.

During the training and fighting scenes, audiences will be surprised to see that the two men are in fairly good shape for their ages. Stallone, who was sixty-six when the film was shot, is not in the same shape as he was during his "Rocky" years, but his bulging arms, defined chest, and strong muscular legs are quite impressive. Viewers will also notice that De Niro, who was sixty-nine years old during the shooting of this movie, trained pretty hard for this role. He, too, has visible muscles in his upper and lower body, although Stallone's physique gives him a slight edge when it comes to visual appeal.

"Grudge Match" is a comedic sports film, so audiences will enjoy the many funny moments that occur throughout the movie. Kevin Hart does a great job as Dante, a character that will remind viewers of Hart's stand-up comedy persona. Dante is brash and loud, and he says whatever comes to his mind. Basinger does a great job as Sally, a woman who still feels bad about what she did many years ago. "Grudge Match" is somewhat of a goofy comedy that audiences should not take too seriously. It is filled with boxing movie references and old-age jokes, and the film is far from realistic. While there are some dramatic moments in the film, the two men essentially make fools of themselves throughout the movie, so there are many more comedic scenes than serious ones. There are also appearances made by multiple real-life fighters, including Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., Evander Holyfield, and Chael Sonnen. Boxing ring announcer Michael Buffer, who's known for his ever-popular trademarked catch phrase "Let's get ready to rumble," also appears in this film.

"Grudge Match" was initially set to be released in early 2014, but Warner Bros. decided to bump the release date up to December 25, 2013. During its opening weekend, the film received mixed reviews. While many viewers liked the movie, others wanted to see more fighting scenes and a more realistic final match between the two men.

"Grudge Match" is a feel-good comedy that's perfect for audiences who want to see two iconic actors battle it out in a film that is not designed to be taken too seriously. Audiences might get slightly bored with the fight scenes, which are slow and not too convincing. However, in the end, audiences will realize that this film is not only about boxing; it is about two men who still have a lot of life and moral lessons to learn, even though they are up in age.

Rating: 3 out of 5