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December 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Moviegoers who haven’t seen Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone in the ring since they were Jake LaMotta and Rocky Balboa are getting a chance to see them face off against one another in Grudge Match. Critics agree that the result is pretty brutal. Stephen Holden in the New York Times describes the two stars this way: “Mr. Stallone, 67, remains a hunk with shredded abs, although the changes in his face are alarming. There are only leftover traces of the sinewy physique that Mr. De Niro, 70, cultivated for Raging Bull. He figures that the movie is simply a marketing ploy and that the result is an “overlong, drab, not-so-funny sports comedy.” Here’s the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips on the two stars: “Stallone, who has battled age with the sorts of treatments that turn your face into scrap iron, looks rough, even if he can still carry the bulk. But De Niro, who has been playing old men for 20 years, looks a decade younger, jumping rope, hitting the bag, doing pull-ups.” But, say the critics, the movie relies too heavily on drawing an audience that simply wants to see the two aging actors face off against each other in the ring. It’s all “an attempt to capitalize off two iconic films for a few cheap laughs,” writes Peter Hartlaub in the San Francisco Chronicle. “Pleasant but underwhelming, it feels like something that belongs on the undercard, never reaching the heights of a main event,” writes Mark Olsen in the Los Angeles Times. And Claudia Puig concludes in USA Today, “Grudge will leave you walking out of the theater like you watched a fixed fight.