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Rocky- The Undisputed Collection Blu-ray Review

The Rocky film series isn’t a knockout, but it’s still a winner.

GRADES:

Content: B

Picture: B

Audio: A-

Extras: B+

THE FILM SERIES:

Whether you are a fan of boxing or not, there’s no denying that the first “Rocky” is an emotional and inspiring underdog story that also has a sweet love story at the center. It’s a film that has stood the test of time because it’s themes appeal to people of all ages. It’s a true classic in every sense of the word and it’s also Sylvester Stallone’s finest hour.

Regarding the sequels, let’s face it, none of them live up to the first film. “Rocky 2” is nothing more than a re-tread of the first film centered around a rematch with Apollo Creed. It was simply trying to recapture the success of the original.

Thankfully, “Rocky 3” made up for the lackluster second film. While not a classic, the third installment is definitely the most fun of the six films. You can’t go wrong with the fights with Mr. T and Hulk Hogan and the iconic “Eye Of The Tiger” theme song.

The fourth film is far and away the silliest. Between Paulie’s robot, the ending, and the over-the-top super opponent Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) that could easily beat Rocky (but doesn’t), it’s hard not to roll your eyes at the events on screen.

“Rocky 5” gets a lot of flack, but it’s honestly not that bad. Aside from the fact that his son ages dramatically for no apparent reason, there are plenty of interesting moments here such as Rocky going bankrupt and his relationship with his son.

Last, but not least, there is “Rocky Balboa” which is a fitting end to the series. Not only are the scenes with Rocky reflecting on his past and Rocky and his son touching, but you also have an inspiring story about Rocky giving it one last go in the ring.

Summary: None of the sequels are on par with “Rocky,” but every one is certainly engaging and watchable. For fans of the series, buying this set is a no-brainer.

PICTURE AND SOUND:

If you’re looking for stunning transfers, you’ll be disappointed in the 185:1 1080p picture quality of the first 5 films. There is a ton of noticeable grain and dirt specs (especially in the darker scenes), but at the same time, there are scenes that look clear (such as the snowy shots in Rocky 2 and 4). Of course, “Rocky Balboa” looks the best as it’s the newest film.

The first 5 “Rocky” films are presented in 5.1 DTS-HD while “Rocky Balboa” is presented in an PCM 5.1 Uncompressed audio track. I don’t have any real complaints with the audio of any of these films. From the roar of the crowd and hustle and bustle of Philadelphia to the iconic score and songs, the audio is clean and clear.

EXTRAS:
* 7 “Rocky” theatrical trailer, 3 TV spots and 4 other MGM trailers.
* “Feeling Strong Now” game.
* “Sylvester Stallone on Dinah!” (17:00).
* A compelling 29 minute video commentary by Sylvester Stallone in which he talks about the Rocky character, his life, the film series, the original ending of “Rocky,”
* Two touching tribute videos for James Crabe and Burgess Meredith.
* “Behind The Scenes With John Avildsen”- 12 ½ minutes of raw footage.
* “Staccato: A Composer’s Notebook With Bill Conti”- An 11 ½ minute featurette on the score.
* “The Ring Of Truth”- A 10 minute featurette on the art direction/set design of “Rocky.”

* “Make Up! The Art And Form With Michael Westmore” (15:00).

* “Steadicam: Then And Now with Garrett Brown”- An interesting 17 ½ minute featurette on the cinematography.

* “Interview With A Legend- Bert Sugar” (7:00)- The author/commentator/historian/sports writer talks about “Rocky.”

* “3 Rounds With Legendary Trainer Lou Duva”- The famous manager talks about “Rocky” for almost five minutes.

* “The Opponents”- A 16 minute featurette on Rocky’s opponents in the film series.

* “In The Ring: Three Part Making-Of Documentary”- This is the crown jewel of the extras.

There are also extras included on the “Rocky Balboa” disc. The extras are as follows: Commentary by Stallone, bloopers, deleted scenes and alternate ending, featurettes on the computer fight and Rocky’s final fight, a making of, and Sony trailers.

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December 3, 2009 - Posted by | 1 | , ,

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