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Rocky: The Knockout Collection 4K UHD Review

The first 4 Rocky films come to 4K.

With “Creed 3” now in theaters, the Rocky: The Knockout Collection 4K box set is the perfect tie-in release. The set collects the first 4 Rocky films (when are “Rocky 5” and “Rocky Balboa” coming to 4K) and the home video debut of “Rocky Vs. Drago: The Ultimate Director’s Cut.”

1976’s Oscar winning “Rocky” needs no introduction. Not only is it the best installment in the franchise, but it’s one of the greatest sports movies ever made. It’s a raw and uplifting story about a man (Rocky) who gets a shot to prove his worth when boxing champ Apollo Creed chooses him for a fight. From there on out Rocky gets a trainer (Mickey), meets the love of his life (Adrian), and finds his whole world turned upside down. Sylvester Stallone, Burgess Meredith, and Talia Shire give the performances of their lives to boot.

One can argue “Rocky 2” undercuts the first and feels like a retread in this rematch tale, but it still works. Stallone (who wrote and directed this entry) explores how Rocky’s life has changed more (including having a son) all while delving into public perception, redemption,and  the mentality of a fighter.

In terms of sheer entertainment value, “Rocky 3” is the most fun in the series. Who doesn’t get a kick out of seeing Rocky against Mr. T (as Clubber Lang) and Hulk Hogan not to mention the debut of “Eye of the Tiger” in the series? The third installment is also a deeply emotional one as it features Mickey’s farewell. Add in storylines about fame and fortune, a fighter’s hunger, trauma, and Apollo training Rocky and you have one eventful movie.

Viewers have 2 options with “Rocky 4”- the theatrical cut and “Rocky Vs. Drago: The Ultimate Director’s Cut.” The cheesy, campy and montage filled “Rocky 4” is a favorite among many fans as Rocky faces off against the more machine-like Ivan Drago (played by Dolph Lundgren). The new reworked director’s cut is a more serious, streamlined version that cuts out the goofy elements and adds new cuts/scenes. It actually works quite well! The story very much focuses on Apollo’s death and how it impacts Rocky into stepping into the ring again. It’s rather wild to see 2 versions with 2 different tones (let alone the fact that they both work in their own way).


Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p HDR-10. How do the films look? “Rocky” and “Rocky Vs. Drago” look the most impressive here video quality wise, but all of the films contain subtle improvements and prints that maintain their grain. 

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How do the films sound? The lack of 7.1 or Atmos tracks is very disappointing. The 5.1 tracks are adequate, but they limit the film’s soundscapes. 

* 3 commentary tracks on “Rocky.” 1. Solo Sylvester Stallone. 2. Boxing trainer Lou Duva and sports historian Bert Sugar. 3. Director John Avildsen, producers Robert Chartoff and Irvin Winkler, and stars Talia Shire, Burt Young and Carl Weathers.
* Trailers for all 4 films including both cuts of “Rocky 4.”
* A “Stallone Meets Rocky” skit
* “The Making Of Rocky Vs. Drago: Keep Punching”- An insightful 58 minute video diary/documentary of Sylvester Stallone’s journey in making the new cut during the pandemic. This is a great reflective extra.
* “The Ring Of Truth”- An interview with “Rocky” set designer James Spencer.
* A moving Tribute To Burgess Meredith.
* “Staccato: A Composer’s Notebook With Bill Conti”- A featurette on the score.
* “Make-Up! The Art And Form With Michael Westmore” featurette.
* “Steadicam: Then And Now With Garrett Brown” is all about the cinematography.
* “3 Rounds WIth Lou Duva”-  The boxing trainer talks about “Rocky.”
* “8MM Home Movies Of Rocky”- Raw footage by director John G. Avildsen.
* Digital copies of all 4 films (including both cuts of “Rocky 4”). 


March 11, 2023 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , ,

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