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"Rocky" {Blu-ray,DigiBook}
Wayne Klein
Studio: MGM/Fox
Release Date:
Special Features:

Trailers, booklet with photos Rated: PG ---


Rocky arrived at the Oscars in 1976 and much like the title character became a contender seemingly out of nowhere. Written by actor Sylvester Stallone who held out for less money for the script if HE could star the film has taken on an iconic reputation. It's a pity that Stallone wasted most of the rest of his careeer in substandard parts and writing substandard junk as he demonstrated real potential as a writer with Rocky even if he didn't demonstrate much range as an actor in the role. Luckily, the role was to a certain level autobiographical in that it represented what Stallone hoped to achieve with his career as an actor. Director John G. Avildsen knew the best thing to do was to leave the script alone and avoid any overblown over sentimental moments in favor of the authentic truth of the moments generated by the actors who seemed to connect very well with their characters. ***

Rocky Balboa (Stallone) has wasted his career as a boxer. When the chance comes up to fight Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) for the title as a fluke and promotional stunt initially Rocky recognizes that he has a real chance to realize his dream or, if not realize it, come close. He lacks direction and the coaching know how to reach those dreams and recognizes that the one person that can provide that is Mickey (Burgess Meredith) a boxing coach who also has seen his fair share of disappointments. Mickey knows that Rocky has the talent but not the skills. Rocky's love life also blossoms with his new found confidence when he meets the shy Adrian (Talia Shire). ---

Image & Sound:

Rocky appears in the same MPEG-4 AVC transfer that also appeared in 2006 and 2009 for the boxed set. The film looks quite dull with the reds being the only color that manages to escape the lackluster presentation. Detail is often soft although this is still an improvement over the original DVD (even if it is drawn from the same high def source). The film clearly is in need of a full restoration for Blu-ray. There are also plenty of white flecks evident throughtout the presentation which can get downright distracting at times. Hopefully Fox and MGM will step up and give us a fully rendered restoration from the original camera negative or a better less damaged print in the immediate future. I'm hoping that they will contract with Lowry to do the work with this film that they did with the Bond films. This is a disappointing presentation for this fine classic film. ***

Audio is better sounding than I expected although, again, a bit of a disappointment when it comes to the 5.1 mix. The 5.1 used for this and the previous editions sound, for lack of a better word, like they are missing "punch". The dialogue comes across clearly throughout but the sound is often thin and distant sounding. Still there is some nice surround activity.

Special Features:

The only special feature included here are the photos included in the booklet. Sadly, Fox (who no doubt made the decision about what to include on this reissue) has elected NOT to include any of the special features from the previous Blu-ray incarnations for the film. The only reason I can surmise is that they are planning a double dip down the road reincorporating the special features with a restored version of the film.

Final Words:

If you can find this for a decent price and are a fan of the film by all means pick this up. You'll enjoy it. I'd suggest the best thing to do though is to wait and see if Fox has plans to reissue this film restored with the special features added back into the mix. I find this type of practice a bit shoddy--Fox clearly reissued this to earn their licensing fee and put as little effort into this as possible. It's an example shoddy product and my advice is to stay away from this version of the film. Not recommended.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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