Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The trailer for Grudge Match comes with extra cheese

Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone play rival boxers who come together for “one last fight”. Oh, please.

Sun, Sep 15, 2013, 19:01


This is simultaneously magnificent and awful. The unspoken pitch could not be clearer: it’s Rocky Balboa versus Jake LaMotta. The problem, of course, is that, though of similar vintage, Rocky and Raging Bull are very different films. It a little like pitching Captain Jack Sparrow against Antonius Block¬†from The Seventh Seal. (Max Von Sydow is still with us. So, it could happen.) We should not be surprised that De Niro said yes. You think you know how bad that actor’s recent work has been. You probably don’t. The fact that his inconsequential turn in Silver Linings Playbook was regarded as some sort of return to form ¬†demonstrates quite how far he has drifted. It’s been little else but garbage for the past 15 years.

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Stallone is happy enough in this sort of romp. So, it seems, is Rocky. It’s worth noting that the trailer features a reference to the meat-packing scene in that film. It seems unlikely that we will catch any “amusing” gestures towards the more gutting scenes in Raging Bull. It all adds to the oddness of the enterprise.

All that noted, I can’t deny that I laughed at the promo. I particularly like the notion that they come back together to record the motion-capture for an X-Box game. Kevin Hart and Alan Arkin deliver some fine one-liners with throwaway aplomb. And you have to love the cable network’s name for the fight: Grudgement Day. But still. It is about time De Niro made a proper film again.

The Grudge Match will be will us in January.