My immediate reaction to seeing the trailer of this the first time was - weird. I get the point and that people are going to go “Oh I remember ‘Rocky’ and ‘Raging Bull’!”. Which is the worrisome part, not because I thought it was going to be bad (i did though) but because it wreaked of praying on nostalgia. The premise of two actors who are known for playing boxers just seems underhanded - and purely as a money machine. And to be honest it probably is just that but despite all that it’s not that bad.
The story sees to old boxing rivals, ‘Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) and ‘Billy ‘The Kid’ Mcdonnen’ (Robert De Niro’ One desperate for a rematch and one desperate for money take each other on one last time. The story follows a standard path with little to no surprises. One is a nice guy who gets the girl and the other is an arrogant womanizer. it practically writes itself as far as cliches go. And when i say there are no surprises i literally mean that, it has a by the numbers approach almost as if they were working of a check list while writing it. Strangely i found that endearing, i’m not sure why but the simplicity and obviousness was nice. I would have liked a more balanced view and it not being as black and white with who you are suppose to support - but like i said it still works as is.
I think part of the reason the film just about works is because of the supporting cast. ‘Alan Arkin’ is always great and adds his usual charm as the old man and ‘Kevin Hart’ gives some great energy and actually brings some humour to it. The banter between the two is what keeps the film a float at times and stops it from getting bogged down with the ridiculousness of the situation. ‘Kim Basinger’ also makes an appearance but doesn’t really do much other than be there. The character is only there as a reason for ‘Razor’ to be angry with ‘Kid’. This is as simple as simple gets - two rivals want a rematch -they do - the good guy wins - the end.
There was always going to be one outcome, there was never any suggestion it might be ‘The Kid’. Which as it turns out i’m happy with compared with the alternate of the dreaded ‘draw’ - something i despise in a film. It does what it does, doesn’t try too hard and it occasionally gives us a laugh and doesn’t mess up too often. Safe and designed for profit. The main thing this film made me want to do was watch ‘Raging Bull’ again and considering that’s easily the greatest boxing movie of all time that’s not a bad result.
Favourite Parts: - Cliche ridden and doesn’t try hard - for this film that works in its favor.