The Rocky Anthology on DVD
Available previously as bare-bones single discs, all five Rocky
films are now available in one fancy boxed set, with each film receiving a
brand-new high definition transfer and Dolby Digital soundtracks. The first
Rocky also gets a much coveted dts 5.1 track as well.
Rocky The original film (click here for our review of the original DVD release) is the
ultimate underdog story. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone, in the role that
really put him on the map) is just a neighborhood boxer in a rough time. But
when the heavyweight champ, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), is looking for a new
challenge, Rocky gets a shot at the big time. He trains and trains and trains
some more to prepare for the biggest bout of his life, all the while trying to
woo Adrian (Talia Shire). While we wouldnt say that its worthy of
10 Oscar noms, this is a classic movie that could give hope to anyone
struggling to find themselves.
Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture quality is
worthy of the DVD medium in its current state of the art. The overall picture
quality is sparkling, and the dust and grain that marred former copies of the
film are almost nonexistent. Audio is a bit muddy, but infinitely better than
it has been. Theres not a lot of surround use, but separation of the
front channels is handled well. The score sounds a little shrill in a few
places, but you can always hear the dialogue well enough to know whats
Rocky II In the second film, Rocky gets a rematch against
Apollo Creed, who is disillusioned at the fact that he nearly lost his title to
a nobody. Rockys life is improving since his big time bout, and he
considers retirement until he realizes that hes a boxer through and
through. More training ensues as the Italian Stallion prepares for an even
bigger fight than the biggest of his life.
Picture quality has not improved over the first film, but is at
least on a par with it . It lacks a bit of the detail that was so good on Rocky
I, however it still looks pretty solid. Audio sounds the same as in the
Rocky III Rocky is now the heavyweight champ and defending
his title to any who oppose him. When Clubber Lang (Mr. T) makes a challenge no
champion could refuse, hes thrust into the ring for the biggest fight of
again. Lang is no slouch, though. Hell demolish anything
that gets in his way including Rocky, if need be. But things get rough
for the champ when Mickey, his trainer, dies, and Apollo Creed is forced to
take over the job.
Both picture and sound have decreased in quality again compared
with Rocky I, but not by much. We still get pretty good detail and very little
grain, and well-done separation of audio elements. Its unfortunate that
they couldnt have managed the same quality for all five films as they got
with number one, but since the first film is the only one that really wowed
people at least we have it to enjoy in all its glory.
Rocky III through V are also available in full screen versions on
the opposite side of their respective discs.
Rocky IV The biggest fight of his life comes in the form of
Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), a Soviet prizefighter whos been trained by
the best. Hes an emotionally hollow wrecking machine whose sole purpose
is to take out anyone or anything that dares to step in the ring with him. Then
Apollo Creed steps in the ring with him
and gets taken out. Rocky feels
obliged to retaliate so he can defend the honor of his fallen comrade as well
as his country.
Once again, both picture and sound are okay, good enough to let
you enjoy the film. This is, however, a more intense film that should have had
better video and audio quality.
Rocky V Upon returning from his fight with Ivan Drago,
Rocky discovers his fortune has been squandered by a less-than-adequate
financial advisor. Moving back to his old neighborhood, Rocky starts training
Tommy Gunn (Tommy Morrison), an up-and-coming young boxer who doesnt
waste any time rising to the top. But when he turns against his mentor and
publicly taunts him, Rocky realizes he has to fight once more
biggest fight of his life. Again.
Picture and sound have improved a little this time around,
probably due to the fact that this is the newest of the films. While we still
dont get the quality we do on the first film, were at least back up
to the quality of the second.
Unfortunately, this set doesnt feature any extras. Press
releases claimed it would include a biography of Stallone himself, but we were
unable to find it.
When all is said and done, the quality of this boxed set is good
enough, though as harped on incessantly above it could have been much better.
Still, we finally get what at least until the next trip to the video well is
the definitive set of all five classic Rocky movies. For any Rocky
fans out there, this is the way to go.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think