Rocky Balboa

Featured In Issue 120, May 2007

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Sylvester Stallone
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Dolby Digital 5.1, PCM 16/48 6.1
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With his beloved wife Adrian dead and his relationship with his son Robert (Ventimiglia) strained, former heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa (Stallone) spends his days at his Italian restaurant recounting stories from his past. But when the opportunity comes up for Rocky to get back into the ring, he puts his new career on hold and goes back to doing what he does best. (Tricia Spears)

Special features include commentary with Sylvester Stallone; seven deleted scenes and an alternate ending; a 1-1/2-minute blooper reel; three featurettes: Skill Vs. Will: The Making Of Rocky Balboa (18 minutes), Reality In The Ring: Filming Rocky's Final Fight (16 minutes), and Virtual Champion: Creating The Computer Fight (five minutes); previews; and up-front ads.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD has a blown-out look in daytime scenes, with colors looking washed out and under saturated. It gives fleshtones a sickly look. Night scenes look more natural with respect to colors, but black levels are not consistently deep. The heavy film grain highlights the gritty nature of the story, although it is not consistent throughout the presentation. Inconsistency is really the theme here, as most aspects of the presentation are very inconsistent. It's a shame, because there are scenes that can look very good. The Blu-ray Disc release is awash in color, often looking unrealistically vibrant. Details are not as well defined as in the best releases, and the image also doesn't have the same level of dimensionality as other releases. Black levels are deep, but not consistently so, and contrast seems to be overpumped. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack features well-mixed music across the front stage, with an adequate use of the surround and LFE channels to help expand the stage. Dialogue is generally recorded and played back well, but there are times when it is too obviously ADR produced. Articulation is not as pure as the best releases, and there are times when the audio can have an artificially digital sound. The surround channels are used often, but phantom imaging in the surroundfield is limited. The soundtrack is enjoyable, even if it's not perfect. The Blu-ray Disc's 5.1-channel uncompressed linear PCM encoding improves fidelity over the DVD's Dolby encoding, especially noticeable in the dialogue, but it also makes a subtle coating of noise more audible. This noise isn't heard consistently throughout the presentation, but is easy to hear in the more quiescent scenes. Still, fidelity is pristine, and dialogue is integrated well throughout. (Danny Richelieu)