Thirty years ago, Henry “Razor” Sharp (Sylvester Stallone) and Billy “The Kid” McDonnen (Robert De Niro) were on a collision course for a rubber match that could have been one for the ages. The Pittsburgh rivals couldn’t stand each other — turns out they were rivals for the affections of Sally (Kim Basinger) out of the ring — but Razor inexplicably retired, pulling the plug on the big fight and the likely huge payday that could have set them up for life.
Now the two aging brawlers, under the direction of a young hungry promoter (Kevin Hart), seek to reclaim the spotlight and settle their old scores. Soapy family issues and simplistic notions of loyalty pave the way for a throwback tale that strives for earnest drama (especially from Stallone) but settles into the rote grooves of more recent De Niro fare like Meet the Parents minus the genuine laughs that tended to outnumber the broad jokes that dominate the compu-stat totals here. Fans of the leads will rush to their DVD collections for repeat screenings of Rocky and Raging Bull for real thrills. Now in theaters. (PG-13) Grade: D+
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