Blu-ray Review: ‘Grudge Match’

Review By Cole Clay

Just one question, what the hell are Sylvester Stallone(“Escape Plan” 2013) and Robert DeNiro (“Silver Linings Playbook”, 2012) doing in another movie together? Well if you are brave enough to bear through the lengthy 113 minute “Grudge Match” you just might find your answer.

One is a prolific actor who teeter-totters from great acting performances, to roles that fall just short of being wretched. The other is a bag of bones who has the personality that falls in line with a piece of plywood.

Maybe they are trying to capitalize on the niche demographic that is demanding to see Stallone put on the gloves one last time. Or, it could be that fans were just eager to see DeNiro conjure up same magic that he displayed as the iconic sociopathic Jake Lamotta from the 1980 classic “Raging Bull.” Whatever the case may be this one should have just stayed behind the scenes as a spar session.

The gimmicky plot goes as follows, two aging boxers Stallone & DeNiro who have shared the same titular grudge for 30-years are called back into the ring by some contrived plot device to settle the proverbial personal and professional score.

Stallone’s turn as the blue-collared Henry “Razor” Sharp is uninspired and boorish. In the age of the fleeting action star Stallone is best kept in the realm of satirization as we have seen in“The Expendables” series and the self-aware “Escape Plan” from earlier this fall.

DeNiro is a man who commands respect any time he enters a scene. His role as Billy “The Kid” McDonnen is an over-saturated piece of acting that would be a better fit for a walking, talking ventriloquist dummy such as Rob Schneider(“The Animal”) than a living legend like DeNiro.

Now, the film is labeled as a comedy, with stand-up super star Kevin Hart (“Let Me Explain,” 2013) and the Oscar winning curmudgeon Alan Arkin (“Little Miss Sunshine,” 2005) making supporting appearances in the film. The humor derives from nothing more than tasteless jokes that involves two dreadful -isms, race and age. It is baffling that these two talents would want to place themselves in a box with such a broad scope.

The film does have some boxing at the end, but once again the action is uninspired and melodramatic. This Geritol sponsored fight serves as the climax of the film. The jump-cut ridden brawl is reduced to a less than mediocre montage that is abrupt and rushed, not that any sort of rewarding pay-off was expected.

Own “GRUDGE MATCH” on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on 4/8.

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