TV Party Tonight! #130

TV Party Tonight! #130

Wednesday, 06 September 2023

Rocky: The Knockout Collection
[4K Ultra HD]

Growing up I was both a Schwarzenegger and Stallone fan. Maybe more a Schwarzenegger fan because he seemed tough, scary, and a lovable goof. Of course I loved Stallone in Rocky, Judge Dredd, and Demolition Man, but I think at the time I was most tuned into movies, Schwarzenegger was making the more bonkers stuff. Now, as a grown-up, I’ve learnt to appreciate Stallone more. He’s kind of in a class all by himself, being a triple threat of actor, writer, and director. Also, between the two, I think we all know who has the better range.

There’s probably no “better” Stallone movie than Rocky. There certainly is no better series or franchise to represent the man’s career. This box set collects the first four movies (come on, guys, don’t be embarrassed by Rocky V!) and is the perfect opportunity to revisit these classics. I knew I was in for a treat, but I didn’t expect to be completely blown away. Let’s briefly summarize, OK?

Rocky is the absolute underdog, both in story and production, seeing a bum, down on his luck, doing the best he can. Stallone seems to have gotten the chemistry of his protagonist right as a simple man, who is motivated by good and compassion, who is happiest when he appreciates the small things in life. Things are black and white for Rocky, and seeing this outcast prove himself (in an unexpected way, might I add) is a surprise to everyone in this movie and the viewer.

With all the adulation the first Rocky got, how was Stallone going to follow it up? By topping himself, of course! Is Rocky II better than the first? Quite possible. This lovable oaf is so loveable and full of heart in the sequel that you can’t help cheering him every step of the way. It’s a feel-good movie all the way to 2023.

Then, Rocky III. Is it the funniest Rocky? Maybe, but it’s also the scariest. We don’t like seeing our loveable oaf losing it all so quickly. Close your eyes during the Apollo/Rocky scenes and you’ll swear they’re in the middle of some heavy lovemaking. “Don’t give that man a statue, give him GUTS!”

Finally (in this box set), Rocky IV. Drago scared me to death as a kid. To be fair to the Russians, the Americans DO start off as cocky aggressors here.  After receiving so much guidance, it makes sense that our hero goes it alone on this one. Rocky builds his brain muscles and uses a boxing match to bring us all together.

This box set is simply a must have. These movies hit hard and have withstood the test of time. They are endlessly rewatchable and are a testament of the talent both in front of the screen and behind it.

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