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Sucker punch

"Grudge Match" is a slow-footed comedy that pairs the screen's greatest pugilists, circa 1981, for a few slaps and a few laughs. Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone square off as aged boxers brought back by desperation and a desperate fight promoter.

Henry "Razor" Sharp (Stallone) and Billy "the Kid" McDonnen (De Niro) were light heavyweights who had unfinished business in the 1980s. Razor walked away from a decisive third fight after each had taken out the other once in their rivalry. Kid never forgave Razor. He drinks and does a Jake LaMotta-like standup act in his bar. Razor went broke, got a job in a steel mill and never got over the woman who came between them (Kim Basinger).

Then, the son (Kevin Hart) of the promoter who ripped them off back in the day cons them into doing some video game motion-capture work, reviving their rivalry for a few bucks. That could lead to "Kardashian sex-tape money" if he can get the two 60-somethings back in the ring.

There's a comforting, "we're not dead yet" message to this, especially in the inevitable training sequences. Stallone 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.

This is perfectly passable holiday entertainment for people who dated during the "Rocky" and "Raging Bull" era. Just don't expect it to offer much of a challenge.

MPAA rating: PG-13 for sports action violence, sexual content and language

Running time: 1:53

Opens: Wednesday

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