Blu-ray Review: Grudge Match

There are lot of upcoming films that feature “what if” battles between two superstar characters. The ultimate “what if” movie could be Batman vs. Superman scheduled for 2016. But 2013 saw a fight between two characters that many thought would never happen on film. A fight 30 years in the making. Rocky Balboa vs. Jake La Motta. Rocky vs. Raging Bull. Sylvester Stallone vs. Robert De Niro. In case you missed it, Grudge Match has finally made it to home video. Lets get ready to…!

In Grudge Match, Robert De Niro plays Billy “The Kid” McDonnen and Sylvester Stallone plays Henry “Razor” Sharp. “The Kid” and “Razor” were old boxing rivals 30 years ago. They both get coaxed out of retirement for one final match. Their first encounter in decades turns into a unintentionally hilarious fight that instantly goes viral. All of the social media frenzy turns their small grudge match into a must-see HBO event. But now they have to train for an epic fight, and neither one really wants to do that at their age.

The premise of the film is great. This was an easy pitch to movie studios. But the problem is that it really doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a heart-warming drama, a comedy, or a sports film? Grudge Match tries to be all three at the same time, but unfortunately it doesn’t balance the three very well. There is definitely some funny lines, but the jokes start to get old towards the end of the film. There is also some unnecessary drama. The boxing scenes are actually better than expected, but nothing you haven’t seen before, especially if you saw Rocky Balboa.

The cast in this film is great, though. It is still fun to see Stallone and De Niro verbally spar each other. The supporting cast is solid as well. Alan Arkin as Razor’s trainer and Kim Bassinger, playing a former lover of both men, really shine. Even Kevin Hart is fairly decent here.

If you saw the trailer of Grudge Match and groaned because you thought this was a horrible idea, you will probably be surprised to find out you were wrong. There is nothing new here to see, but this film is still entertaining for the majority of the time. It runs a little too long, but the cast makes it watchable to the end.

The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is enhanced for 16X9 TVs. This blu-ray transfer is great. One of the better recent transfers I can remember. No major problems at all.

The audio included is available in either English DTS Master 5.1 Surround sound, Spanish DTS Master 5.1 Surround sound, or French DTS Master 5.1 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French as well. The dialogue comes out crisp and clear. No major problems here either, and on par with the excellent video transfer.

“The Bull and the Stallion” – This runs 16 minutes and it is your average behind-the-scenes making-of featurette. All of the cast and crew are interviewed. Nothing you haven’t seen before.

“In the Ring with Kevin Hart” – This runs 5 minutes and it is exactly what it sounds like it would be. An interview with Kevin Hart.

“Kevin Hart Unedited” – This runs 6 minutes and it features Kevin Hart throwing out lines uncut during filming of this movie.

“Ringside with Tyson and Holyfield” – This runs 4 minutes and it is an interview with Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. They talk about the boxing in this movie and their careers.

“Blow for Blow with Larry Holmes” – This runs 4 minutes and it is exactly as the same as the Tyson and Holyfield interview, except this interview is with another boxing great, Larry Holmes.

Alternate Opening – This runs 7 minutes and it features the director, Peter Segal, presenting another opening to the film. It is not finished, but it is definitely interesting to look at.

Alternate Endings – There are two alternate endings that run 4 minutes total. Different decisions by the judges in the fight.

Deleted Scenes – This is a 7 minute collection of scenes that didn’t make the final cut of the film. Nothing you are really missing here.

If you like Sylvester Stallone and/or Robert De Niro, you will like this film. There is nothing new here, but still mostly entertaining.

Warner Brothers presents Grudge Match. Directed by Peter Segal. Written by Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Alan Arkin, Kim Bassinger, Kevin Hart, and Jon Bernthal. Running time: 113 minutes. Rated: PG-13. Released: April 8, 2014.

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