A little over a month ago, I decided it was time to go on a Rocky marathon. I’d seen the first one several times, but had amazingly never seen the second, third, fourth or fifth ones (I did see Rocky Balboa in theaters), so I added those films to my Netflix list. One by one, I watched Rocky conquer. The second movie was excellent. The third movie was excellent. The fourth movie was quite good (though much more dated due to its strained Cold War commentary and uber-80′s styles). The fifth one, pretty decent (the street fight just wasn’t as compelling as 15 rounds in a boxing ring).
Then, MGM and Fox release Rocky: The Undisputed Collection Blu-Ray box set and send it to me. Damn. Just a month too late.
Not that I’m really complaining. The Rocky series is, surprisingly, one of the most consistently entertaining series put to camera. While none of the sequels match the original, it’s incredibly impressive that Sylvestor Stallone was able to deliver time and time again (including with Rocky Balboa), especially when dramas are not exactly prone to being repeated six times.
The Rocky: The Undisputed Collection contains all six movies in Blu-Ray magnificence, along with over three hours of special features.
The special features are all quite good, including a three-part making-of documentary called In the Ring, which discusses in great detail the obstacles Rocky had to overcome to be made into a movie (on a ridiculously low budget). The documentary, like all of the features on the disc, aren’t promotional at all and feature honest interviews from the main players involved.
Other features include several segments covering the makeup, music, directing and camera work; the camera work featurette is especially interesting, as Rocky was the first movie to utilize steady cam technology. The featurette talks with the inventor and how he came up with his design, which is still used today.
A video commentary by Sylvestor Stallone (though, notably, there are no audio commentaries), as well as tributes to Burgess Meredith and James Crabe, are also included in the set.
Less interesting are an interview with Bert Sugar and one with “legendary” trainer Lou Duva; both could have been good, but their short running time implies that the interviews were included simply for the sake of adding more features, rather than getting something profound out of the men.
Unfortunately, for owners of other Rocky collections, almost all of these bonus features have been available for years. The only new feature is an interactive game called Feeling Strong Now!, but that’s hardly worth it.
The Rocky: The Undisputed Collection Blu-Ray box set is certainly worth it if you haven’t invested in the Rocky series in the past, but otherwise, there’s nothing new here.