by: Joe Latti
For boxing fans, there are two movies that will always be regarded as “must see” flicks. ‘Rocky’, the classic feel good story in which Sylvester Stallone portrays a man that is down on his luck and overcomes adversity. Then there is Robert DeNiro’s outstanding performance portraying the colorful life of boxing legend Jake LaMotta in ‘Raging Bull’. Timeless classics such as these have made a powerful impact not only in Hollywood, but in the sport of boxing itself. Fight fans and movie buffs could only dream of what a collaboration with these two characters would be like, until now.
Grudge Match starring both Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro is set to hit theaters Christmas Day. The story brings two retired Pittsburgh boxers together 30 years after a heated and very personal rivalry in their youth. Stallone plays Henry “Razor” Sharp, a quiet character that acts as if there is something unfulfilled and in his life. “Razor” is the good guy who the viewer cannot help but get behind and cheer on throughout the film. DeNiro plays Billy “The Kid” McDonnen, a witty and outgoing comedian that will keep you laughing and entertained.
Kim Bassinger plays the role of Sally Rose, a love interest that has had a history with both fighters in the past. Bassinger’s character brings an interesting side story into the film, which helps paint the overall picture that is being portrayed. Comedian Kevin Hart plays the role of Dante Slate, Jr., the son of the man who promoted the original fights between the two men. Hart’s character is the one that brings the two men together after 30 years. Hart does an excellent job cracking jokes and dishing out one-liners throughout the entire film to keep you laughing uncontrollably. Alan Arkin as ‘Lightning’ and Jon Bernthal as ‘B.J.’ play the role of trainers for the two fighters. These characters bring more interesting side stories to the film to make up the grand picture that is Grudge Match.
At first glance, you may see this film as somewhat of a joke. A comedian plays a lead role, and two guys that are way beyond their prime are set to square off in a professional boxing bout in front of thousands of people. This may seem extremely far-fetched and even somewhat of a parody on the two actors’ past movies. I can assure you that this assumption is not true. The story line makes complete sense once they start diving into it. The fighters are not pretending to be in their mid-twenties and overstepping the boundaries of their current ages, but instead acting out what a real life scenario such as this would portray. The viewer is not getting ‘Rocky vs. The Raging Bull’, but I can assure you that the heart of “Rocky” and the passion of ‘The Raging Bull’ will subliminally come to light in this film. A great story line with a ton of comedic relief makes Grudge Match a must-see movie this winter.