Boxing has always been a captivating sport. Movies about boxing have made heroes come alive on the screen. Grudge Match brings two of those heroes to the big screen. Directed by Peter Segal, we have Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro going toe-to-toe in this laugh riot. The story is about two aging fighters whose rivalry became legendary and ends with a grudge match. The cast is rounded off by Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger, Jon Bernthal and Kevin Hart. The film gives us a very human look at the lives of boxers after retirement and the struggles they face. The humor is as quick like jabs, the emotion is as hard-hitting as a left-hook. The best part of the film was Alan Arkin’s scene-stealing humor.
The idea of a grudge match is quite simple. Two rival fighters face-off in the ring and battle it out. The loser can then ask for rematch. And if each fighter ends up with one win each, they then have to settle the score with one last bout. That is called Grudge Match. Razor (Sylvester Stallone) and Kid (Robert De Niro) have had one of the toughest and fiercest rivalries that the sporting world has ever seen. Now, 30 years have passed and both of them have retired, living contrasting lives. Then, in comes this up-and-coming promoter Dante Jr. (Kevin Hart). He gives them the chance to make some money. In doing so, the old rivals get back in each others faces. It then snowballs into a classic story of who is still the champion. Lightning, Alan Arkin, has decided to train Razor for this match. The chemistry of Alan Arkin and his humor brings this movie to life. Kid has lived a life of debauchery and hedonism, who gets a visit from the child he left behind. Razor gets a shot at happiness after the longest time. Lightning gets a chance to live again. In fact, the story is also about how age is just a number and only by living in the moment, can we ever hope for glory.
The film was shot well-enough. Nothing special, but what stays with you is the quality of acting brought out by two amazing actors, Robert De Niro and Alan Arkin. They have the years of experience which brings life to their characters. Sylvester Stallone does his bit of hitting things, and generally playing the part of a slightly slow boxer. In the end, the movie isn’t about the whole Rocky vs. Raging Bull scene. It’s about two people whose lives changed and now they have gotten the chance to change it again for the better. As the film progresses, the audience will have laugh out loud moments and uplifting moments and poignant moments too. It isn’t an all-round epic. But it definitely entertains. The training sequences brought back memories of the old boxing matches. The Grudge Match itself did not disappoint. The audience will feel the hits as the punches land and blows are exchanged. Kevin Hart’s portrayal of a fast talking promoter makes it a delight to watch him. Jon Bernthal was passable. Kim Basinger was just given the bare bones to work with and it shows.
However, the movie centers around Razor, Kid and Lightning. Robert De Niro, Alan Arkin and Sylvester Stallone bring back the magic. Remember to watch out for Lightning’s quick-wit and jokes. On the whole, a movie which will make you smile, laugh and feel. By the way, watch the end movie credits, there are a couple of scenes which are not to be missed. The movie is about keeping the gloves up, keeping the chin down, striding into the centre of the ring and finishing the bout with heads held high.