I will cry when Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro die. In the past I have thought about celebrity deaths that will be difficult to stomach, but only after watching Grudge Match am I sure that those two will cause a genuine sense of loss.
The movie is easy. The story is straightforward. And as a bonus, a black man and an old man use their societal advantages to provide the audience with guilty laughs.
The movie is almost good enough to be called “good” even if the viewer hasn’t seen Raging Bull or any films in the Rocky Saga–almost. Then again, no movie would be comprehensible if all context could be removed.
It’s humorous the way each fighter is equally the underdog. We have underdog versus underdog. Luckily, the respective underdog attributes are acted well-enough to birth some curiosity. By the time we find ourselves calling the filmmakers names for not having the courage to use Rocky’s theme song one last time to accompany the mandatory training montage, we do wonder how the fight will end. And we nurse a hope that it will end the way we want it to, whichever way that is. Surprisingly, the film’s writers and director are more on point than we ever could’ve imagined.
In the final round of the fight we arrive at two specific moments that explicitly reveal the film’s theme, and whether these moments are taken together or individually, that theme proves to be well worth the, at times perfunctory, 90 minute commute.
In short, if you remain undecided about watching it, watch it.