Billy “The Kid” McDonnen: Butterscotch jellybeans.
GRUDGE MATCH stars three of the 1980’s biggest icons and completely misses its mark, and not just by a little. No, this fight is over before the bell even rings and the audience has already gone home before these guys realize they’re sitting in the ring alone. The movie stars Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, both of whom have made great boxing movies, ROCKY and RAGING BULL respectively, but since those films came out, much time has passed and it has not been kind if they both ended up in this disaster of a movie. Co-stars, Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart, bring their special brand of charm to the picture and Stallone tries to as well, with varied results, but Kim Basinger and De Niro phoned in their performances and made big fools of themselves. What GRUDGE MATCH lacks in quality though, it makes up for in length, which no one wanted to begin with. Weighing in at nearly two hours you will be waiting desperately for that final knockout.
Behind all this embarrassment, we have two fighters, Henry Sharp (Stallone) and Billy McDonnen (De Niro), who, in their professional careers, had two fights against each other, drawing a 1-1 tie each time, and have never had their official grudge match to break the tie. The reason they never stepped back in the ring is because Sharp retired before the match could be set up, after feuding with McDonnen. If this story doesn’t already sound generic enough, their feud was over McDonnen stealing Sharp’s girl. Better versions of this story have been told countless times before, but GRUDGE MATCH still fails to deliver anything worthy despite telling a completely unoriginal story that this talent should have been able to make in their sleep. The movie did provide a few cheap laughs on occasion, most of which the trailer already gave away, followed by some out of nowhere jokes that made this two hour bore slightly more endurable.
GRUDGE MATCH opens on Christmas Day but it is far more suitable for Boxing Day because it lacks the entertainment and enjoyment that a Christmas Day release packs. With a sloppy script and a re-hashed story, GRUDGE MATCH fails epically to provide anything new and makes one wonder what ever happened to Rocky Balboa and Jake La Motta. Both of these were awards favourites and have huge followings, which only further makes GRUDGE MATCH an insult to these great legacies. In fact, anyone who finds themselves at this fight may find themselves wishing someone would knock them out to make it all go away.