Starring actors Robert De Niro and Silvester Stallone, this film that hit the big screen Christmas day already seems like a winning combination.
However, throwing in the dynamic of boxing makes the film truly unique. Robert De Niro played a volatile boxer back in 1980 in Martin Scorsese’s film, Raging Bull, and of course Silvester Stallone will forever be remembered for his role in the Rocky films. Both of the characters in these films depict the stuff of champions with the heart and will to succeed.
Yet both stars are well beyond their best years in terms of the ability to box in the ring, both on and off screen. The film picks up on what the audience already knows and makes for some comedic highlights that are accentuated by some of the supporting actors in the film.
De Niro plays the role of boxer Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen, and Stallone plays the role of boxer Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp. The premise of the film is based on the two boxers having a longtime rivalry after both having won a single fight against one another. Instead of finally making a judgment of who is the better fighter, once and for all, Razor retires before they could settle the debate.
However, there is much more to the rivalry than just two fighters who didn’t quite get to see who the better boxer was. A complicated love interest, played by Kim Basinger, entwines both Razor and Kid and makes for a great twist to the dynamic in their feud.
The premise of the story really plays on what can be seen in the boxing world today, since so much of the popularity of boxing revolves around not just what happens in the ring, but the actual personal dynamics between the fighters. For instance, while Floyd Mayweather makes his fair share of news for his boxing ability, he often makes the biggest headlines from the rivalries he has with other fighters.
While the two fighters age and go on to lives outside of the boxing world, a chance encounter brings them face-to-face and their private melee ends up as an Internet sensation. When the video goes viral, the two agree to a final match to determine the better boxer on a grander scale.
Although the two have agreed to the fight, it’s obvious that neither are in the shape required to actually make it in the ring. The age, stamina and previous medical conditions come into play to make it hard for audiences to decide who they might root for in the end.
While at first glance the film can seem like a story about how it is never too late to finish what you start, there are many facets to the movie. There are bits of comedy throughout, especially with comedian Kevin Hart playing the role of promoter. Dante Slate Jr. Alan Arkin plays the role of Razor’s longtime trainer and adds his own comedic touches throughout the film, with some great interaction with Kevin Hart.
Another theme in the film revolves around the importance of family and the people you surround yourself with in life. While it can be easy to get wrapped up in fame and money, there are some things in life that are far more precious and are worth fighting for.
Without giving away any spoilers for the outcome of the fight, Razor and Kid come to a realization in the ring that really shows heart not often seen in the world of boxing. While there is inevitably a winner and a loser, audiences are left feeling inspired and entertained in the finale.
For those looking for a film that will make them laugh, root for their favorite and offer some feel-good fun at the theaters, this is a film that is definitely worth checking out.
Rated PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language.