Grudge Match (Blu-ray)

April 10, 2014 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton and Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

You’ve probably seen the previews or read the premise for 2013’s Grudge Match and have a basic idea right off the bat if you’re going to like it or not. There’s nothing particularly clever or surprising about it, but the film can be a lot of fun if you have the right mindset going in. The heart and soul of the film lies in the two central performances from Robert Deniro and Sylvester Stallone. They play two aging boxing rivals who agree to fight each other for one final match. Stallone plays Henry “Razor” Sharp and Deniro plays Billy “The Kid” McDonnen. Kevin Hart plays Dante Slate, JR. He puts the fight together. One surprise here is that Kevin Hart is actually tolerable. I usually can’t stand him, but I think it’s because he’s working within the confines of a script, a PG-13 script at that and that keeps him in check. The early portions of the film are devoted to the back and forth banter between the two rivals. There are the obligatory scenes of them training, getting physicals, doing infomercials and various other things to promote the fight. Alan Arkin shows up as an old friend of Razor’s and he manages a few funny moments over the course of the film. Kim Basinger shows up in a supporting role and there are some effective scenes between Billy and his son BJ.

As I mentioned, there are few surprises along the way, but if you don’t over-think things then you just might find yourself enjoying Grudge Match. For the most part, it’s well paced, but I do feel some additional editing would’ve helped things a bit. Memories from Stallone’s Rocky films and Deniro’s Raging Bull will no doubt spring to mind, but at least this film has a sense of humor and doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are some sentimental moments, but they’re well earned and never get in the way of the central premise involving the upcoming fight. Grudge Match won’t change your life, but it’s a mildly entertaining diversion that doesn’t ask a lot of the viewer. It’s an ideal rental and can be a lot of fun if you’re expectations aren’t too high.

Video: How’s it look?

Though the back of the box says the aspect ratio is 1.85:1, it’s more along the lines of 1.78:1. Nevertheless, this AVC encoded image looks fabulous and it’s certainly in line with what we’d expect from a major studio and a new Blu-ray.  Colors are strong and vivid, black levels are especially deep and rich and contrast is solid.  As we might expect, the detail level is off the charts, showcasing probably a little more than we’d like to see from these two Italians.  Hey we all get old, right? There’s nothing really to fault here, save for a few minor imperfections that I’m not even going to mention.  Grudge Match looks the part – as it should.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Boxing movies and I suppose sports movies in general, can sound amazing.  I’d liken a boxing movie to a football movie when you can really hear and feel the impact.  The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack pulls no punches here (sorry, I absolutely couldn’t resist) and it makes for a very robust mix.  Vocals are strong and consistent as well, even though Stallone is getting more and more difficult to understand as he ages. Surrounds carry the action into the back stage and the LFE do their part to beef up the mix.

Supplements: What are the extras?

If there’s ever any reason to buy the Blu-ray instead of cheeping out and just getting the DVD, this would be a prime example.  Case in point, most of the supplements are Blu-ray exclusives. Let’s take a look.

DVD Features

  • Deleted Scenes – The solo DVD extra are a series of six deleted scenes.

Blu-ray Exclusives

  • The Bull and The Stallion – An obvious play on Raging Bull and Rocky, this 15 minute feature gives us some behind the scenes footage and interviews the two main stars of the film.
  • In the Ring with Kevin Hart – Essentially a look at the role that Hart played in the film. Nothing too mind-blowing here.
  • Kevin Hart Uncredited – More Hart, this time with some outtakes and ad libs.
  • Ringside with Tyson & Holyfield – Both with cameos in the film, a brief discussion with the two former Heavyweight champions of the world and their parts in the film.
  • Blow by Blow with Larry Holmes – Segal gives us a brief introduction with another Heavyweight whose role was cut from the film.
  • Alternate Opening/Endings – The opening is just an extended version of what’s in the movie and we’ve got two alternate endings, which I won’t give away.
  • DVD/UltraViolet Copy

Disc Scores

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