Many of you may not have heard of this movie, and that makes sense because for some reason or another, this film wasn’t very well advertised. So, let me give you the run down. Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro play old, professional boxing rivals. In their prime Henry “Razor” Sharp (Stallone) and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (De Niro) were both undefeated, until they fought each other. They went up against each other twice, The Kid won the first match, and then Razor later won second. Afterwards Razor retired meaning it would never be proven who the superior fighter was. Cut to 30 years later.
Razor was ripped off by his promoter, and is living a humble life as a welder. The Kid is still a big shot entrepreneur. Enter Kevin Hart as Dante Slate, son of the man who ripped off Razor back in the day. He offers Razor $10,000 dollars to be put into a boxing video game; Razor takes it with the stipulation that he doesn’t see The Kid during the process. However, The Kid shows up anyway, and a big fight breaks out which goes viral, and leads to Slate setting up a final “Grudge Match” between the old rivals.
The resulting tale is one filled with so many laughs, and references to the careers of Stallone and De Niro it was hard to keep track. Technically the whole movie is a play on Stallone and De Niro’s relationship. In 1976 Rocky came out, and it was a huge success, but in 1980 Raging Bull staring De Niro was released. It threatened to dislodge Rocky as the quintessential boxing flick, until Rocky II cemented Stallone’s dominance. However, he doesn’t dominate this film.
Each character was given a good amount of attention in this film. My favorite scenes were those with Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart. They played so well off each other. I felt it was a great proving ground for Hart, who I think is gonna be the next big thing. I also enjoyed watching Stallone roll his eyes at every crude joke and curse word that was said around him. Recently, Stallone became a born again Christian and it really comes out in his performance in this film, as he plays the boy scout of the group.
Overall this was a highly enjoyable film. I suggest it fully, but I have a feeling this film won’t find its success in the theater market, but rather, in home media. This is mainly due to the fact that many of the jokes fall flat if you are not familiar with boxing films of the 80’s. This may seem like a weakness, but in all honesty if you haven’t seen the Rocky movies you’re probably not that into movies to begin with. With that said watch Rocky I-IV, watch Raging Bull, and watch Grudge Match. You won’t be disappointed.