Thursday, December 26, 2013
Far from being some silly comedy based on the Rocky meets Raging Bull gimmick, this was a well scripted, well performed film about men, age, skill, passion, regret and dignity that, also, happens to be hilarious.
The only negative for me was the unimaginative, slow paced direction and editing. With someone who actually believed in the material and had a bit more visual flair and a marketing team that had any skill and this film would've been perfect.
Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin are consistently hilarious and the emotional story lines DeNiro and Stallone have to carry are maybe cliche but always engaging, never overly sentimental, always understandable and from a very manly perspective - few words and whole shed load of meaning. When you throw in some fun training montages, a great end fight, DeNiro being the funniest he's been since Midnight Run and a few welcome, but never heavy handed, in-jokes you have a solid, decent, enjoyable film that more people should see and enjoy but probably won't.
As for Stallone, why is it critics are shitting on all of his movies? they portray him as a rangeless, emotion-less, slab of no good, idiotic meat and they can barely even bring themselves to acknowledge his action prowess unless in a derisive or ironic way. They criticise his acting, his looks, his speech - everything! but Stallone is terrific in Grudge Match. Utterly believable, charming and matches DeNiro beat for beat in the acting stakes. You say he has no range but was he playing Rocky? No! was he playing Rambo? No! was he playing Barney Ross? No!
Critics should watch old films occasionally and remind themselves that their set-in-stone, out-dated, stereotypical and lazy opinions about some actors are wrong. Al Pacino is mostly always Al Pacino, same with DeNiro and more-often-than-not Nicholson, go further back and Mitchum, Bogart, Stewart, Grant etc. all were GREAT but all had onscreen personas. Well so does Stallone but he's not always the same, any more than any of those other actors I just mentioned. No he's not Daniel Day Lewis, thank god! That guy puts on a fake beard, stoops over slightly, talks in a funny voice and people think he's a genius (misguided fools!) but Stallone is a strong, interesting actor and Grudge Match gives him some scenes to show that off. It may well be his single best straight performance roll since Cop Land.
Most people who go to see this film won't take away from it what I did and that's a shame but even if you don't, if you can look past the somewhat slow pace and inept editing, there's at least a good man-centric comedy there that never has to resort to gross-out or infantile humour to get a big belly laugh.
This movie got made because it has a cracking script, the Rocky/Raging Bull thing was just a bonus.
- The Kick Ass Kid