Grudge Match


Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Stallone) and Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (De Niro) only met twice in their professional boxing lives and when they were due to decide once and for all who the best was Razor inexplicably pulled out and retired. Thirty years later and the son of their former promoter manages to entice them back into the ring for one final battle. For McDonnen a successful business man it is just another opportunity, but to the recently made redundant Sharp it represents the only chance he has to make ends meet and ensure the health care of former trainer (Arkin) is paid for. With money and pride on the line the two will put family and business to the side to find out once and for all who really is the champ.

Somewhere in this mess is a decent movie about retired sportsmen who never can seem to let go of the life their body’s will no longer allow them to lead. There are even glimpses of it in Stallone’s ‘Razor’ Sharp as he fights both bad luck and failing health. Unfortunately an unexplained effort to shoe horn in wise cracks ad nauseam really lets the whole endeavour down.

Stallone is not a bad actor and it is with no shame that I say he makes De Niro look bad in this, although De Niro is practically sleep walking through the entire thing. There is a welcome performance by Bernthal as the son De Niro never took the time to know and considering his recent performance in The Wolf of Wall Street he is one to watch. Arkin is, as he always seems to be these days, a wise cracking old man who makes jokes about things that he shouldn’t and although funny he is out of place in this film. There’s also the matter of the totally incomplete and unrealised relationship between Stallone and the underused Basinger, there was room for this element more than the wise cracks but someone seems to have decided otherwise.

Underwhelming and featuring De Niro with his top off (insert sad face here) it seems all involved have missed a chance to make something that could have been at the very least interesting if not entertaining.