[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Yuletide bells won’t be the only ones you’ll hear this Christmas, because it’s seconds out for Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, as they get ready to rumble for boxing comedy, Grudge Match.
The pair will do battle as two long-retired fighters who, as the title suggests, have unfinished business in the ring. Cue a reunion at a video game promo shoot, the inevitable bout of fisticuffs, followed by the even more inevitable offer of one last showdown. Now, we can already hear howls of derision from certain corners. Granted, it won’t go down as the most original premise in cinematic history, but we’re essentially talking about Rocky v Raging Bull here – what more do you want?!
Besides which, in a Hollywood world where too many take themselves far too seriously, it’s great to see two icons having a whale of a time sending themselves up. As The Expendables demonstrated, Sly takes immense pleasure from making fun of his past roles. In Grudge Match he’s at it again, as he harks back to the famous scene from Rocky where he’s trying to inflict damage on a particularly large side of beef. With Meet the Parents, Analyze This, plus the many sequels that followed, De Niro has also claimed a large slice of the comedy pie.
Other cast members joining in the larks are Alan Arkin (as the obligatory old school trainer), Kevin Hart and Jon Bernthal, while Kim Basinger is on hand to lend a feminine touch to temper all the testosterone. Behind the scenes we have Peter Segal directing, along with Tim Kelleher and Doug Ellin for the screenplay.
If you can’t wait until Christmas to decide whether or not Grudge Match is an undisputed champ or a stuffed turkey, there’s a teaser trailer available at NY Daily News.