It's a little annoying that this high-concept marketing project (Rocky vs Raging Bull!) is as entertaining as it is: we want to hate it, as tired actors are sending up their own faded images. But while the script never even tries to be something interesting, it at least gives the stars some engaging scenes to work with. And we can't help but cheer for them in the end.
The film stars with a bit of history (and digital trickery), as young bucks Henry "Razor" Sharp and Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (Stallone and De Niro) battle it out back in 1982. Local fans in Pittsburgh are divided between them and are hugely disappointed when, at the peak of their fame, Razor suddenly retires before a climactic rematch. Now some 30 years later, a young promoter (Hart) decides to finally get them back together in the ring. But this stirs up an old feud involving Kid's affair with Razor's wife Sally (Basinger), which resulted in a son BJ (Bernthal), who's now a father himself. Can these two men possibly work together to promote their epic grudge match?
Silly question. Of course they start off gruffly snarling at each other but eventually find the expected mutual respect. And that's about the extent of the acting required of these two iconic stars. Add some fast-talking comedy from Hart, veteran battiness from Arkin, steely femininity from Basinger and soulfulness from Bernthal and the film at least has a veneer of complexity. But aside from wondering whether the filmmakers will fudge the final match so no one loses (they don't), there isn't much to worry about.
Continue reading: Grudge Match Review
In years gone by, Henry 'Razor' Sharp and Billy 'The Kid' McDonnen were at the top of their profession, they were two of the best boxers on the national circuit. Both Pittsburgh residents, the men met in the ring on a number of occasions and had equally beat one and other. The boxers were meant to meet for one final showdown fight in 1983, but 'The Kid' suddenly announced his retirement and cancelled the fight it made for an abrupt end to both the men's careers.
Now, thirty years after the fight that never was, the men are once again put face to face and their initial meeting does not make for a happy reunion. A pathertic attempt at a war of words soon escalates into a full on brawl, the video of which instantly becomes a viral sensation.
Seeing an opportunity to cash in, boxing promoter Dante Slate Jr arranges for the two former local heroes to meet in the ring once again. The only problem with that is the men have been inactive for 30 years and both of them at incredibly out of shape. Will there ever be any chance of Razor and The Kid finding out who is Pittsburgh's best ever fighter?
Continue: Grudge Match Trailer
Lucky for them -- and, by extension, us -- the creative team behind this rejuvenated Smart wisely tapped the unassuming funnyman to fill the late Don Adams' telephone-disguised-as-a-shoe. Carell's nimble turn as a calculatedly incompetent agent of CONTROL ensures that this modern spin on an outdated television property -- while rarely intelligent -- is consistently witty.
Continue reading: Get Smart Review