Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.
Henry "Razor" Sharp and Billy "The Kid" McDonnen are two boxers who thirty years ago were rivals. Just before a big match Razor decides to retire because Billy slept with his girlfriend, Sally Rose and got her pregnant. Today a promoter, Dante Slate wants to have them fight each other but Razor doesn't want to. But when he loses his job and learns he's broke, he has no choice. So he trains under his old trainer. Billy while training, meets B.J., the son he had with Sally Rose and he asks B.J. to train him. And Sally Rose tries to get Razor to forgive her but he can't.Written by
Grossed only seven million dollars in its opening weekend, placing it at number eleven in that week's box-office charts, a considerable disappointment for all concerned. See more »
The first time you see the viral footage shown of Razor and the Kid fighting for the video game is from the actual phone used. You can clearly see the crew filming the scene including cameraman and boom guy. See more »
Hello again, everybody, I'm Jim Lampley. Certain athletes are born enemies. Bird and Magic. Ali and Frazier. Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. But the fiercest rivalry was be between two fighters from Pittsburgh with the names Razor and Kid.
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A major-minor movie with some good majors but sometimes distracting minors
When word first circulated that Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone, two acting legends, were signing on to do a film about two aging, rival boxers that would meet in the ring one last time, I vividly remember social networks and blogs dedicated to film buzzing about the plethora of opportunities that this pairing could entail. Pairing the actors who brought classic movie characters such as the Raging Bull and the Italian Stallion to life would both team up to do a film that would ostensibly tackle the issues of older boxers, legacy, and unsolved contention, while showcasing the talents of two superb leading men.
It's a little bit sad to note that the film we got, which could've easily merited Oscar nominations and worldwide acclaim, has turned into an only-moderately successful picture with some serious issues. Yes, I recommend "Grudge Match" and, yes, I find some of its commentary on the aforementioned issues rather stimulating and meaningful. However, the elements of a heavy-reliance on predictabilities, unnecessary and stereotypical supporting characters, and redundant jokes noticeably derail a project that undeniably has untold potential.
The film centers around two Pittsburgh boxers by the name of Henry "Razor" Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) and Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (Robert De Niro), who became rivals after they each beat one another in two separate rounds. A rematch was predicted, but Razor retired, which eventually lead to The Kid's downfall after assuming a directionless career and life once his main rival retired. Many years later, Razor works at a shipyard, while Kid is wasting away in addition. Out of the blue, Razor is approach by Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart), a promoter who wants to have Razor and Kid do voicework for a forthcoming boxing video game where both boxers will be playable characters. While on the set, geared up in motion capture suits and ready to imitate their respective video game characters, Razor and Kid see each other for the first time in years on the set and begin to lash out at each other, throwing whatever they can find at one another.
Turns out, one of the designers videotaped the fight, uploaded it to the internet and, as a result, the video went viral, became the main headline for sports shows, and has effectively created a resurgence of interest in Razor and Kid and their inconclusive rivalry. Slate decides to sponsor the rematch, to which the boxers accept, with Razor hiring the codgerly but motivational Louis "Lightning" Conlon (Alan Arkin) and Kid reaching out to his estranged biological son B.J. (Jon Bernthal) in order to train him, much to the dismay of Sally (Kim Basinger), the love that got in the way of both boxers.
Between Ron Howard's quickly-forgotten, underseen Rush, and now Grudge Match, it seems Hollywood is fascinated with the idea that two people can be rivals in a specific sport but still have respect for each other. Perhaps I'm a minority, but this never seemed to be a very unique idea. In fact, it would seem almost inferable. One has to have mutual respect for someone with a similar skillset and competence as them or else they wouldn't consider them a rival in the first place. Unlike Rush, Grudge Match doesn't seem to amuse and predicate itself off of the similar idea and instead makes the very smart move on treating its characters as humans.
Grudge Match still bears scuffs in its material. For one, the humor is much too repetitive, to the point where jokes that should be funny fall flat instantly because they seem to bear punchlines we've heard in different variations. Rather than relying on some sort of poetic, conversational flow, Segal and the writers instead focus on cheap-shots, like boxers that have been bolted so hard on their craniums they forgot any other form of wit besides sarcasm and obvious jabs at one another (no pun intended). We hear time and time again that Razor is a quitter, Kid is chubby, both are old and geriatric and should be drinking Ensure to assure they stay alive not Muscle Milk to assure they stay fit (see, I can do it too), Lightning is older than the dirt he sleeps in, and Slate is obnoxious, short, and overly-excited.
Give credit where credit is due in terms of Stallone and De Niro, who work damn hard at trying to make their characters work and connect on emotional levels. I'll be damned if by the end of the film, when the inevitable match roles around, I wasn't cheering for one over the other. The fight is riveting and often very exhilarating and that's thanks to the commitment of two actors who know their roles all too well and editor William Kerr, who beautifully captures some crushing blows.
Ultimately, it's difficult to not be somewhat letdown by Grudge Match. Don't forget; Stallone stuck it through six, count 'em, six Rocky films and De Niro gained over twenty pounds to film the conclusion of Raging Bull. What's ironic is that Grudge Match manages to articulate where the actors are in their careers - plagued by what seems to be a lack of desire, interest, and ambition to do bigger and better things and are stuck in the shadow of whom they once were. The film is nicely put together, a thrill to watch at times, drab at others thanks to an onslaught of jokes that don't work because of their own ubiquity and overly-simplified supporting characters, but a moderately-successful package overall.
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