Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the third time Fox has released the complete Rocky Set. I have the feeling this is timed to coincide with the brand new Broadway show that also launched in the last few weeks. Whatever the case, I’m always down for a solid Rocky marathon. This awesome new Rocky Heavyweight Collector’s set includes all six Rocky films in a beautiful slimmed down case and grittier box art. I’m not going to review all six films here because, let’s face it, if you don’t know what Rocky is by now, then you don’t care or have any taste in films and most likely you wouldn’t buy this set anyway. Just saying.
The packaging claims that this new set features brand new remastered transfer I’m sorry but my heart still races when the iconic Gonna Fly Now and Eye of the Tiger fires up on my Dolby 5.1 system, it is glorious! I feel pumped and ready to take on the world. The audio mix is just solid, you feel every thunderous blow and can’t help but feel like you are in the arena with Rocky. The picture is the same remastered picture from the last Blu-ray collection from a few years ago and is about as flawless as we’re likely to get for now. It is sharp, clear, not as much grain as you’d think.
There’s not much to say, packaging is solid and ironically enough slimmer than before. I do like the new box art on the slipcase is a lot better than on the last one, it is a bit darker and grittier. All the discs are housed in individual holders in its jewel case so you don’t have to worry about scratching discs. The onscreen menu navigation is clean with gigantic, simple navigational buttons and have a video clip of the famous Rocky steps scene playing on a loop. I wish each disc had the title Heavyweight Collection on it somewhere so I could distinguish it from my previous DVD and Blu-ray collections.
The extras here are the same as the ones from the Blu-ray collection released a few years ago, there are couple of small differences and the moved them from the dedicated Bonus Disk to the Rocky I disc. Not sure why this was done, but not a big deal but odd having some featurettes that talk about the history of the franchise on the Rocky 1 disk. There are a couple of hours worth of extras to wade through here, the highlight being a 1 Hour full length 3 part documentary called In The Ring and there are three full length commentary tracks. The Rocky Balboa disc contains additional bonus material specifically related to this film.
- 8MM Home Movies of Rocky (1975) Narrated by Director John G. Avildsen and Production Manager Lloyd Kaufman – This 8 min clip shows some neat behind the scenes footage from the set of the first film where lunch was Pizza if they were lucky. The tidbits from the Production manager are great as he talks about some of the people on the set and where they ended up later in life.
- Three Rounds with Legendary Trainer Lou Duva (4 Min) – Duva talks about what’s like to be a real trainer and the differences between learning back in the day and now.
- Author/Commentator/ and Historian Bert Sugar (6 Min).
- The Opponents – This is a solid 16 minute featurettes that explores all of Rocky’s famous opponents which includes interviews with Dolph Lundgren, Carl Weathers and Tommy Morrison. Where’s Mr. T?
- In The Ring: Three-Part Making of Documentary (1:14 Mins) – This Blu-ray set is worth getting just for this full length Documentary about the creation of a classic. Anyone who loves films and a good real life underdog story should watch this.
- Steadicam: Then and Now With Garret Brown (17 Min) – Garrett Brown, Cinematographer and Steadicam Inventor talks about the evolution of Steadicam and how it was used in Rocky and now. It is funny when you take things like this for granted and realize that someone actually did invent these movie ticks.
- Make Up! The Art and Form with Michael Westmore (15 Min)
- Staccato: A Composer’s Notebook with Bill Conti (15 Min)
- The Ring of Truth – Art Director James Spencer discusses the art direction on the film.
- Behind the Scenes with John G. Avildsen (12 Min) – The Director shows early footage of fight, makeup and other tests.
- Tributes to James Crabe and Burgess Meredith
- Video Commentary with Sylvester Stallone (28 Mins)
- Commentary by Sylvester Stallone
- Commentary by Lou Duva and Bert Sugar
- Commentary by Director John G. Avildsen, Producers Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff, Actors Carl Weathers, Burt Young, Talia Shire, and Steadicam Inventor Garrett Brown
- Deleted Scenes & Alternate Ending
- Boxing’s Bloopers
- Skill vs. Will: The Making of Rocky Balboa (17 Min)
- Reality in the Ring: Filming Rocky’s Final Fight (15 Min)
- Virtual Champion: Creating the Computer Fight
This is a fantastic Blu-ray set for any fan of the Rocky Franchise. It is packed to the gills with extras and features a solid remastering of the audio and video. However, this is a double dip, so there’s no need to purchase this if you own the one that came out a few years ago. It would have been nice if they weren’t so cheap and included a digital copy code for all the films.
- Video – A
- Audio – A
- Extras – A
- Packaging – A
Final Overall Grade – A