The general word amongst critics is that the two screen titans just couldn't muster a half-decent film together
Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone are no strangers to putting on their boxing gloves for the sake of the movies and in their latest film, Grudge Match, the two screen icons are putting their respective ages aside to step into the ring once again. The film comes with a lot of promise, starring Alan Arkin, Kevin Hart and Kim Basinger alongside the two screen titans, yet sadly the overall response to the film from critics has been very underwhelming.
Stallone, Arkin, Hart and De Niro miss the mark with their latest film
The film stars Stallone and De Niro as two retired boxers, both well past their best, who ended their career with a long-standing and unresolved feud some years earlier. After meeting each other for the first time in years in a chance encounter, their feud returns and boils into a confrontation that ends in a melee of sorts, one that almost instantly goes viral and reignites interest in the former fighters. Soon they are receiving offers to return to the ring and settle their feud once and for all, but they can only make it into the ring if they can actually regain their fitness in time for the big fight.
On paper, and with such a cast, the film sounds as though it could work, but sadly the overall word is that it really doesn't work at all. The film is "sporadically amusing" and features "crowd-pleasing supporting turns from Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart," yet has very little else to offer to Variety critic Andrew Barker. Barker found the film "so overcooked that it defeats its own purpose," whilst USA Today critic Scott Bowles went straight in for the jugular, calling Grudge Match a "desultory boxing flick whose punches miss wildly."
Don't call it a comeback, because the film is a flop
"It will come as a surprise to none that Grudge Match is so wantonly clichéd that to watch it is to explore the outer perimeters of one's own tolerance for a specific type of feel-good sports film," Steve MacFarlane of Slant Magazine wrote in his scathing review of the film. Elizabeth Weitzman from the New York Daily News meanwhile found the whole thing "depressing" and complained that the two central character lacked any sort of personality or appeal as actual sports stars. She wrote, "In the end, this is no Ali-Frazier grudge match. It's more like Larry Holmes coming out of retirement to make $3 million as Mike Tyson's punching bag. Depressing."
If these 'appraisals' haven't put you off, you can go see Grudge Match yourself when it is released wide on 24 January. Maybe don't expect to see it among the Oscar contenders the month after.