Grudge Match Movie Review
Rocky Balboa meets Jake La Motta in Grudge Match and... well, that's about it. The pairing of Sylvestor Stallone and Robert De Niro in a boxing movie is a nice, inspired gimmick, which is exactly what Grudge Match is: a gimmick with another hour and a half added as filler.
The tonally confused movie is directed by Peter Segal (Tommy Boy), who couldn't decide whether he wanted to make a comedy or drama. Certainly a movie about two senior citizens returning to the ring to punch each other into oblivion is asking for jokes, and Grudge Match has more than a few at the expense of the old men. With Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin serving in supporting roles, the movie is ripe for laughs. And for a while, Grudge Match plays like a comedy.
And then Segal decides to turn the last hour into a drama about rekindling estranged romances and dealing with past demons. Talk about eye-rolling boring.
Grudge Match is not a terrible movie; both Stallone and De Niro are decent, and the supporting cast (which also features a resurrected Kim Basinger, holy shit!) plays their parts well. The movie is funny at times, entertaining in others, and while the big boxing scene at the end isn't particularly great, it's fun to see the two onscreen boxing icons going at it.
But Segal tries to do too much with the concept; he tries to turn the gimmick into something real, something powerful, and it just doesn't work. Because after all, you aren't watching Grudge Match for its dramatic potential; you want to see Sylvestor Stallone and Robert De Niro bicker with and punch each other.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.