Rocky vs Raging Bull – Its Grudge Match

grudge match posterThirty years ago, a heated rivalry was started between 2 boxers after one 15 rounder and a followup 4 rounder each boxer won a round. So naturally we have to have a Grunge Match. Its the movie you thought you might want to see until you actually do.

Grudge Match starts good with the footage of a young Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro fighting.Yes it’s archive footage from their previous films so you are watching stiched together images of Rocky fighting Jake LaMotta, and the film starts pretty strong. “Razor” Sharp (Stallone) walked away from boxing a few years after winning the 2nd fight while “The Kid” fought several more years, did endorsement deals, retired, then opened up a restaurant and some dealerships. He’s living comfortable, not overly wealthy just comfortable. Razor on the other hand went back to working at the local steel mill and is dirt poor due to some deals from his old promoter Mr. Slate, a Don King-like character who’s now dead. Present day is 30 years later and  in walks the son of the late promoter Dante Slate Jr. played by Kevin Hart, it seems his father left him nothing too. He separately visits both fighters with the offer to have both men featured in a new boxing video game. Because there’s bad blood between the 2, Dante sets it so that they don’t cross paths, that of course results in them meeting and fighting which end up on YouTube and now we have a fight to promote. I have to admit the screen of 2 men in green bodysuits fighting is really hilarious.

There’s another storyline working here, The Kid is mad at Razor mostly because he wants to soothe his ego and prove in the end he’s the best. Razor on the other hand, never got over The Kid sleeping with and impregnating his girlfriend Sally played by Kim Basinger. With the new fight looming Sally comes back into Razor’s life, and Sally’s son BJ (Jon Bernthal) enters The Kid’s as he just found out who his real father was.

Grudge Match starts to go downhill with a few laughs here but they aren’t from the supposed comic relief Kevin Hart. Several of his jokes fall flat, the audience rarely laughed at him but most of the laughter came Alan Arkin as Razor’s dear friend and old trainer Lightening, LL Cool J as the owner of the gym The Kid trains at and from the little boy playing BJ’s son. He’s a kid who’s not annoying so that’s a win right there! Kevin Hart just doesn’t work here. Is it a wasted casting? not really but with the running short jokes they get old much faster than the old jokes.

Grudge Match the type of movie you go into expecting mindless entertaining and you walk out wondering why it wasn’t funnier. It never gets cringe-worthy thankfully as some movies with old actors and old jokes sometimes do but it’s just not as funny as it should have been. The during and post credits scenes were funner and got louder laughs. I sorta would rather see that part over again.


My Rating: Redbox
Director: Peter Segal
Studio: Warner Brothers
Release Date: December 25, 2013
Run time: 113 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13

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