|Sylvester Stallone, in the 30 years since the release of Rocky, has never managed to match the excellence of that film. Its a shame. He's made some decent action movies, of course, but nothing that could be considered Oscar caliber. This is a great film, although I still think its a bit of a travesty that it beat out Taxi Driver and Network for Best Picture.|
Sylvester Stallone plays Rocky Balboa, a meatpacker and amateur boxer living in the slums of Philadelphia. Rocky is definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he's a good person and he's true to himself. Rocky also has a job collecting debts for a loanshark named Gazzo, but he doesn't really have the heart for the gangster lifestyle.
Talia Shire plays Adrian, the shy love interest of Rocky. She works at a pet store and has no idea how to talk to men. Rocky befriends her, ad they become lovers. Her brother Paulie is overjoyed that a man is taking an interest in her, but is upset that she is losing her innocence and is a bit wary of Rocky.
Carl Weathers plays Apollo Creed, the heavyweight champion of the world. His managers come up with a gimmick to give a nobody a chance at a title shot. Of course, Balboa is the lucky candidate, and begins an intense training regiment. His workout montage is one of the most uplifting and invigorating scenes ever filmed. It makes you want to go out and run a mile.
The title bout is a hard fought match between the two. However, with the minute possibility that you have not seen this film, I won't ruin it for you.
I wasn't totally sure if I would be impressed with this transfer. Rocky was a low budget independent film made 30 years ago, so the source material is sure to be in bad shape. But this is a test for the format, to see if its possible to update such a film in an impressive way. The results are a mixed bag. Presented in 1.85:1 and encoded at 1080p, the Blu-ray offers a lot of improvement, but still leaves much to be desired. I was expecting film grain, but not so much. That aspect of the transfer is barely any better than the DVD release. However, colors are strong and detailed. Blacks and shadow detail are quite good. I always thought Talia Shire was pretty hot, and she stands up well in high definition. Overall, its an impressive effort, I'm not one to quip about the video quality of a three decade old picture. Audio is 5.1 DTS HD Lossless Surround, and its definitely a feat. Although this is still often a front heavy mix, the surrounds are very active during fight scenes and montages. Bass is deep, and dialogue is crisp and clear, although you still can't understand what the hell Stallone is saying. From an audio perspective, I think this disc is a winner.