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First Blood (1982)
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Stallone: 3-Film Collector’s Set

Director: Ted Kotcheff; James Mangold; John Flynn
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy, Ray Liotta, Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland

(StudioCanal; US DVD: 14 Aug 2012)

I’m not sure what it is about Sylvester Stallone and/or is fans that make distributors think we want to buy not only all his movies, but every one of them multiple times in the same format with new packaging. I mean, I’ve got at least four Sly-related items on display in my room and even I don’t need six copies of Rambo: First Blood Part II. I do need five, though.


A quick summary of what’s already available:


Sylvester Stallone: 4 Film Favorites - DVD – 2007
-  includes Tango & Cash, Demolition Man, The Specialist, and Over the Top


Sylvester Stallone Triple Feature - DVD – 2009
-  includes Avenging Angelo, Eye See You, Shade


Triple Feature - Blu-ray – 2012
-  includes Assassins, Cobra, The Specialist


Sylvester Stallone Selection - DVD – 2001
-  includes Driven, Demolition Man, and Cobra


Now, to add onto the heap, we have Stallone: 3-Film Collector’s Set, another collection of the man, the myth, the legend’s work thrown together in cheap packaging and released just in time for the theatrical debut of his latest film. This time it’s to help the box office of The Expendables 2 - or as it’s more commonly known, The Sequel to the Greatest Movie Ever Made.


Reader: What is?


Me: The Expendables 2.


R: You think The Expendables is the greatest movie ever made?


M: Uh…yes. Doy.


R: Did you just say “doy?”


M: Regrettable choice of words aside, is it really just myself and a few wise best buds who think Sylvester Stallone’s action-star-muscle-movie is the best piece of pop entertainment ever put to the silver screen?


R: Well, RottenTomatoes certainly isn’t backing you.


M: What is it? 95 percent? Thanks a lot Armond White. Why not just rate movies on a scale of “Hate” to “Only Kind of Hated”?


R: Uh….


M: Oh no. 90 percent? Did Owen Gleiberman review it? He probably couldn’t keep up.R: *stares blankly at me*


R: 89 percent?!?!


M: Try 40.


R: 40 PERCENT?!!? Whaaaaaaaaaat?! Well, you’re all just wrong. Simple as that. I’m right. You’re wrong.


M: OK, buddy. Whatever gets you to sleep at night.


R: Mickey Rourke did win Best Supporting Actor, though, right? I didn’t just dream that did I?


Cop Land (1997)

Cop Land (1997)


Anyway, this compilation of classics includes Sly’s second franchise-starter, First Blood (here listed by it’s more common, if incorrect, title—Rambo: First Blood), his late-career Oscar-grab Cop Land, and one of his forgettable late ‘80s/early ‘90s – who can remember?—action romps, Lock Up. Odds are if you’re at all interested in any of these films – and who isn’t? – you already own every one of these films in one format or another, so you can decide for yourself if you want backup copies. If not, go buy this right now!


You won’t be able to tell from the all-but-useless back cover of the Blu-ray, but each one of these discs is the very same one packaged separately and sold for a much higher price. The First Blood Blu-ray comes with deleted scenes, an advanced trivia track, a “Drawing First Blood” featurette, and two audio commentary tracks – one from Stallone and one from novelist David Morrell. This edition was released in early 2007, and hasn’t been altered since then.


The copy of Cop Land is at least a little more recent. Released last November (and reviewed on PopMatters at that time as well), the collector’s edition of the 1997 film is also the director’s cut. Totaling an extra 12 minutes, the extended edition of Cop Land isn’t egregiously lengthy, as many extended cuts are nowadays, but it should be noted somewhere on the package that you’re not getting the movie you saw in theaters. You’re not getting the movie you saw on DVD, either, even if you are getting the same bonus features.

Finally, there’s Lock Up, the least known of the group and the least great. It’s got Sly, so you know it’s at least “OK”.  The epitome of manhood’s conflictions that is First Blood also mark it as a film that needs no more criticism. It is a standalone triumph that was, like the Rocky franchise, turned into a one-trick pony in its mantastic, blockbuster sequels. I’ve also said all that I need to already regarding Cop Land. It will never be seen or probably even remembered as one of Sly’s masterpieces, but I’ll keep its torch burning as long as possible – give it a chance. It won’t disappoint.


Lock Up (1989)

Lock Up (1989)


Thanks to a memorable football game in the mud and some hammy supporting performances from the evil Donald Sutherland and the goofy Tom Sizemore, Lock Up outdoes it’s equally dimwitted title-brother from 2012, Lockout. It’s not trying to win Oscars – a statement that cannot be said in all honesty regarding the other two films in this collection – and it revels in its macho late 80s roots.


The original Blu-ray edition of Lock Up was released in July 2010 and also hasn’t been doctored in the last two years. It comes with a making-of featurette, a profile on Sly, and behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast. All three films together form an impressive collection for any actor. Yet, we’ve seen these combo packs before and know you either really have to like all three movies, really have to love Sylvester Stallone, or really find a great deal to make the purchase of all three at once worthwhile.


Given that all of these discs are identical to previously released editions, you can look at Stallone: 3-Film Collector’s Set one of two ways:


A) It’s just a cheap marketing ploy to draw attention to The Greatest Sequel Ever Made and earn Lionsgate a few measly bucks from extra Blu-ray sales.


B) It’s kind of nice that they’re throwing all three of these movies together for the low, low MSRP of $24.99. That means you can probably buy it for less than $20! Three Stallone movies for under $20?! What a deal!


Choose your own ending. I got it for free.

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Ben Travers is an awards season analyst and prognosticator with a devout interest in all things film & TV. Mr. Travers lives in Los Angeles as an experienced writer and filmmaker with an extensive portfolio of coverage, including thorough reporting on the Academy Awards, weekly box office reports, and more reviews written than will ever be read. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa with degrees in both journalism and cinema.


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