Grudge Match: Movie goes toe-to-toe with bigger holiday flicks and wins

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comDecember 25, 2013 


Dec. 25: Punchy comedy: Sylvester Stallone as Henry "Razor" Sharp, Robert De Niro as Billy "The Kid" McDonnen and Kevin Hart as Dante Slate Jr. in "Grudge Match." (Courtesy Ben Rothstein/MCT)


Sylvester Stallone is never better than when he's playing Rocky. That's not the name of his character in Grudge Match. It's Razor Sharp. But he's a shuffling, affable Rocky-like pug who stopped boxing at the height of his career. This after beating the hated Billy "the Kid" McDonnen. He's played nicely by Robert De Niro. The two fought twice with each winning one. The obsessive McDonnen, who is now a wealthy, and very shallow, wheeler dealer, can't let go of the glorious past.

For years, he longed for a rematch to see who was best.

Thirty years later, circumstances push a broke and desperate-for-cash Sharp to fight McDonnen a third time. The two old guys are promoted by self-promoting Kevin Hart. He plays the son of a Don King-like promoter, who stole most of Sharp's money years earlier.

Though there is a fight at the end where the still-buff Stallone's Razor battles De Niro's pudgy Billy, Grudge Match isn't as much about boxing as it is about healing personal wounds, growth as a human being and peeling the personality layers back on two interesting men and their equally three-dimensional friends and family.

This one is fun from the opening bell.

Director: Peter Segal

Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Robert Di Niro, Kim Basinger, Alan Arkin, Jon Bernthal, LL Cool J

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some language. It is playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.

Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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