October 21, 2012
Rocky V is a movie I consider more mediocre and a missed opportunity than utterly terrible. I appreciate the attempt to get back to the roots of what was once the story of an underdog before getting lost in the worst of Hollywood excesses, but aside from what others have pointed out (awful central performance, horrid hip-hop, uncharismatic rival, no Rocky in the ring...) it has all the feel of a failed pilot for Rocky the TV Series, with all the son stuff and the general blandness. But still, there's something strangely endearing about it. And the Burgess Meredith scene is simply wonderful.
And I also love anything 80s. It's the decade I grew up in, and its music gets me back there. Even the kitschiest tunes of the era do so. So, this edit was a winner for me from the get-go. Gone are the worst offenders in the acting, musical, and narrative department, and with the new songs this is about the best version of the movie it's likely to ever exist unless deleted scenes in usable quality surface. It still has much of that TV feel, but it now feels more Rocky than ever. In fact, in this form it would be a really solid entry in the series if it weren't because of Tommy Gunn's complete lack of charisma (maybe Carl Weathers, Mr. T, or Dolph Lundgren weren't the greatest of actors, but they oozed personality.)
The editing itself is flawless. I doubt anyone who had not seen the original would notice this is edited. The only "off" bit happens near the end when Robert Jr. tells Adrian about the street fight, the audio levels aren't completely right there and the music "eats up" the lines slightly, but I understand it had to be that way because of the original music bleeding into the dialog track. Still, the rest is perfect. Too bad it's 2.0 and not 5.1, but good enough. As for the video quality, just as good as the commercial DVD.
A big plus is Last Survivor's feature-length audio commentary. One can feel his passion for the Rocky saga and Stallone movies in general. And I appreciate this sort of bonus feature in an edit, I wish more releases included them.
If you like Rocky and/or the 80s, in my opinion you can't go wrong with this one. Even if you hate Rocky V with a passion, as a lot of people do, I'd say this is worth one watch at least. Someone send Stallone a copy! Vocal as he is about his hatred for the movie, I think he'd like the edit.