Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Grudge Match

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Well...at least it isn't as embarrassing as an Expendables movie.

Grudge Match – 2 out of 5

Okay, we’ve all taken our pot shots at the careers of Bobbie De Niro and Sly Stallone (I’m as guilty as anyone). With all the bad comedies that De Niro has been trying to cram into his IMDb credits and the fact it somehow feels like they are churning out Expendables movies every six months, it’s pretty fucking easy to make fun of the guys who once gave us Raging Bull, Rambo, Goodfellas, Rocky, Taxi Driver, and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. So, it’s not hard to assume that the producers of Grudge Match were just creating an elaborate joke meant to tease these two men and even went as far as somehow convincing them to be in on the project.

Okay, the production didn't even try to hide the fact that those images were clearly
"borrowed" from Rocky and Raging Bull.

In real life, we already know that this match would end
with De Niro being remembered at the Oscars.
Henry “The Razor” Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen had a heated rivalry when they were in their prime as boxers. As time went on, they were never able to really demonstrate who the superior boxer was but, after a special airs on TV about them, a son of a famous fight promoter; Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart), decides to get the two men together and have their final battle. Reluctantly, the men agree and the whole thing grows into a public spectacle. During their training, Sharp recruits his old trainer (Alan Arkin) for help and meets up with the love of his life that he turned his back on in favor of the sport (Kim Basinger—who apparently hasn’t aged a day since Batman) and McDonnen finally gets to meet his son (Jon Bernthal) who he has remained at a distance from his entire life. All of this culminates into a wild bout on PPV where they will prove, once and for all, who truly is the better fighter.

Not a single day has passed for her since the 80s.

I will confess this, I'm glad the film strayed away from the "old
people don't understand technology" gag.
For the most part, Grudge Match is a harmless comedy that makes a lot of “ha ha, they’re old and trying to do young stuff” humor that falls flat every time. The film constantly goes for the obvious joke (and even went as far as doing the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” tired old and completely hack bit) and this going for the already tested humor is not necessarily a bad thing. Any stand up comic over the age of 40 who still talks about airline food, the fact that (rarely) the handlebars on an escalator moves slightly faster/slower than the steps, and still tosses out the tired Viagra joke about how they would use the 4 hour erection to have sex with every woman they could find will, almost definitely, find this film hilarious and completely relevant to them but other than feeding the older audiences like baby birds, younger crowds might find the film more grating than pleasurable in any sense. Maybe that’s why they added Kevin Hart to the cast but, even then, if you’re not a fan of the dude’s humor (and I’m not) you’re just going to find his non-sequiturs and loud rants more annoying than the bad “old people” gags.

Oh look, Kevin Hart is showing Bobbie his stand up...

"Bump it, bro."
I won’t lie and try to act like a comedy hipster; this film did make me chuckle a few times. Alan Arkin is in the film and if you say you don’t love Alan Arkin you are an evil person who probably kicks dogs and babies in the testicles or you are a liar. Arkin, above all others was able to take the limited amount of decent humor in the film and make it work. So, for ever time Kevin Hart is trying too hard to be amusing, Arkin swoops in and makes it look fucking effortless and actually made me laugh.

Arkin, we need to figure out some way of making you an immortal.

De Niro, ready to kick anyone's ass who thought Little Fockerswas terrible.
I don’t hold anything against the film for the weak humor because I knew going into the film that the jokes were going to be hopelessly cheesy but I wasn’t prepared for how the film went from this cheese and quickly turned to way too heavy drama right before the Third Act. While it was expected that, because of the history of the characters, there would be some scenes where shit gets real and they end up learning some things and, blah blah blah, they become better people and work their way to the real moral at the end of the film where they realize they’re both great and strong fighters despite their age and failing prostates; however, the film just gets so heavy that I suddenly didn’t know if the film was being a geriatric wacky sports comedy or was a human-emotion enthralled drama about aging boxers. Car accidents, shitty parents, irresponsibility and child endangerment suddenly reared its ugly head and the film turned into a complete different monster for a short period and then, almost just as fast, old jokes come walking back in (on its scooter or walker...see, I can do old people jokes too, movie!) and the film goes back to the original formula.  This whole thing was very strange and made for a very awkward period in the film.

In between takes, Sly filmed three more Expendables movies.

In all seriousness, Jon Bernthal should be in at least 15
movies a year.  The guy is too talented to let go to waste.
So, despite some sloppiness with its tone and some really weak humor, the film’s cast is actually doing a great job. Bobbie and Sly have some great chemistry together and really have a rivalry that feels deep rooted and personal and the chemistry these actors share with the other actors feeks authentic as well—whether it be Sly and Basinger (seriously, she hasn’t fucking aged and is clearly an immortal) or Bobbie and Jon Bernthal or Sly and Alan Arkin. Even with the weak script, all the actors did their job well and were probably the best thing about this film…and the film needed it because it uses some truly awful CG effects at the beginning and it was pretty fucking frightening because the Playstation One had better graphics on its early games.

Oh god!  What is that?  Kill it with fire!!!

Grudge Match isn’t very special and pretty forgettable but it had some highlights—although, I have to admit, the film was asking a lot as it expected the viewers to believe that Robert De Niro would somehow hold his own against Sylvester Stallone, who, even at his age and despite the fact his skin looks like tanned leather, is in ridiculous fucking shape and, in reality, would have murdered De Niro with one punch if the film decided to go for realism.

1 comment:

  1. Good Merciful Lord Kim Basinger is and always will be beautiful.


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