Definitely something 30 years in the making.
Grudge Match has that same Stigma as Stallone’s project with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Escape Plan, but instead of being to late for what it’s worth, I feel the movie leaned more towards the Stallone style of movie stardom, which I don’t think mist of us wanted to see.
Does anyone remember Cop Land? It came out in 1997 heavily publicized as the movie De Niro wanted Stallone to be in, and Stallone went all out both emotionally and physically (letting himself go to create a pot belly the character was written with) for the part. Grudge Match is so different from that.
Technically, Cop Land was Stallone stepping up a level to prove that he can last four rounds with an actor of De Niro’s caliber, While Grunge Match is De Niro steeping down to Stallone’s level to do….another boxing movie!? Another boxing movie that has nothing to do with Rocky!? That in itself made Grunge Match a weird movie to see. Yeah, it’s a good boxing movie, it is, but it seems like such a waste of time to see Stallone do something that’s not Rocky.
Anyway, I feel like De Niro steeping down is not going to hurt his stature, cause he’s old. Even though Stallone and De Niro are around the same age, De Niro’s long career as a dramatic character actor made him want to try something different once in a while, this is what I chalk it up to. Even thought I seen Bobby Milk do comedy before (Like with another well established dramatic actor, Sean Penn in We’re No Angels (a Great flick by the way), I’m sure now at his advance age he does not give a shit about impressing people only doing some fun stuff while he still can. That’s possible what Grunge Match was to Bobby, Plus I’m sure working with Stallone is actually kind of cool and something he wishes didn’t happen every 15 years.
Stallone is a different story altogether. The fact that he’s doing a boxing movie that has nothing to do with the Italian Stallion proves what a one trick pony Stallone is. Not necessarily the worse career path for Stallone (but I do remember while doing promotion for Cop Land De Niro wishing Stallone had not painted himself into the Action hero genre). Stallone has done a lot of misses and tends to milk the Hits for every thing they got, but once in a while, Stallone will do something like The Expendables and prove his old ass still has the muscle to rip through the box office.
Let me not leave out the other stereotypes in this movie like Alan Arkin, who plays a character that more pokes fun of Mickey from the Rocky films, and since Little Miss Sunshine (Which is as far back as I can remember) he made a nice steady career of playing the lovable cranky old man. He’s good at it, I don’t know his stuff well enough to know anything but that, and at his age is possibly means more that Hollywood keeps calling than anything else.
Speaking of, Kim Basinger is in the movie as the hot love interest. I remember watching an episode of Chelsea Handler’s talk show on Netflix where she was telling Rob Lowe how when she was in her 20s trying to make it she wanted to be respected for her talent and hard work, but now in her 40s she loves that everyone still gives her attention for her good looks. Makes me wonder if Basinger feels the same, because she is good looking in this movie and worth wild eye candy for the sausage fest that is Grunge Match.
And possibly the biggest Stereotype of them all is the very funny Kevin Hart. You can’t really blame Kevin Hart though. Being a comedian turned actor means that you kind of have to be that one trick pony. For a few weeks work that pay him a ton of money to translate what makes him funny on the stage to what will make people laugh on the screen, and possible put some butts in the seat in the process.
But I’m acting like I hated the film. I didn’t, it is one of the best boxing movies, I’ve ever seen. Jon Bernthal is in the movie as Di Niro’s character’s bastard son from a one night stand, who helps train his over the hill father to get in shape and get into the ring. The whole sub story was touching and realistic of two men who should know each other getting to know each other for the first time.
The movie would have been great if it was only about that, but their is more to it. Like the relationship between Stallone’s character Razar Sharp and Alan Arkin’s character Lighting Colon, his trainer whose always looking out for Razar’s best interest weather Razor knows it or not. It was very subtle how much these two cared for one another (you know, cause their men it has to be), but they looked out for each other on a level beyond trainer and boxer.
Plus Keven Hart as the son of a boxing promoter trying to use the name to get ahead in the game could have been a great comedy film on it’s own. Hart’s Donte Slate was a constant catalyst as his attempts to promote the fight never go the way anyone expected (like when he tries to promote the event with a big press conference that only a handful of people seem interested in), ends up tossing another rock in the waters that are already rippling.
And speaking of that ripple. The main event. Stallone vs. Di Niro (or rather vise versa as Di Niro got top billing). Di Niro’s character the Kid feels cheated as his stellar career is tarnished because he was too busy parting to train with for his rematch with Razor, which is why he lost. Stallone’s character Razor was too heart broken to give Kidd another rematch that would prove he’s better, because the Kidd was able to take his true love away from him. Then 30 years later The Kidd will finally get the rematch he was waiting for and Razor will get to take back the two things Kidd took from him, his woman and boxing.
It’s a classically done boxing story all about the heart, with two actors well verse with playing a boxer (Don’t forget about Raging Bull). It may seem weird that this was the movie that would bring Di Niro and Stallone back together, but it’s less weird once you see it. It brings out the very best in both actors, making for a great sports movie.