Recycling reliable characters and narratives within action films has always been around, but post-“The Expendables” it seems the genre landscape has turned into a hazier smear of franchises and quips. With that film’s runaway success apparently signaling a desperate need for familiarity, we learned in May that Sylvester Stallone was at it again, this time facing off in the ring with Robert De Niro for “Grudge Match,” but after a rather quiet summer the project has come roaring back to life, and with one of the most in-demand comedians in tow as well.
Warner Bros. has just announced they’ve given the green light for production to begin on the Peter Segel-directed boxing flick, which will see Stallone and De Niro playing former boxers that decide to exchange blows one last time. Also, coming off the wild success of “Think Like A Man” — and attached to his own cop-genre pic “Ride Along” to boot (among many other projects) — comedian Kevin Hart has joined the film as the boxing promoter bringing the bout to fruition.
However, De Niro and Stallone are obviously the main event here, and it will be interesting to see which route the script, penned by Doug Ellin (“Entourage”), will take. Both men have starred in their fair share of straight-faced roles as well as others riffing self-consciously on their public personae, but this is one combination that could offer some interesting results either way.
Produced by Mark Steven Johnson (“Daredevil,” “Ghost Rider“), look for “Grudge Match” to accelerate right along into production soon, and place your bets on LaMotta vs. Balboa in the interim. [Deadline]