Blu-ray Review “Stallone Three-Film Collector’s Set (Rambo: First Blood / Cop Land / Lock Up)”

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Peter Berg, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro
Number of discs: 3
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Lionsgate
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Running Time: 327 minutes

3-Film Collection: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With Stallone being a hot topic with “The Expendables 2” in theaters, Lionsgate Home Entertainment is bundling together three films from the iconic action star’s career, including: “Rambo: First Blood (1982)”, “Lock Up (1989)” and “Cop Land: The Director’s Cut (1997)”.  As much as I love Rambo, I would really have another great 80’s Stallone film like “Over the Top” in its place here.  Also as great of a film, “Cop Land” is I also would have like to see them include only 80’s Stallone.  Nonetheless at least the Director’s Cut of the film is included.  If you are looking for a dose of Stallone to get you psyched for “The Expendables 2”, you should definitely check out this release…especially for it’s low cost.  Now Lionsgate…one question, where is volume two?

“Cop Land” shows Sylvester Stallone in a different light in this edgy crime thriller sharing the screen with all-star cast – including Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta. Stallone plays Freddy Heflin, the sheriff of a small and seemingly peaceful town until he uncovers a massive, deadly conspiracy among these local residents and is forced to make a dangerous choice between protecting his friends and upholding the law.  We all know that one of Stallone’s best roles is John Rambo. In “First Blood”, he stars as the ex-Green Beret haunted by memories of Vietnam. When Rambo becomes the target of a massive manhunt, he must use all his combat skills and weapons training to stay alive and outwit his pursuers.  “Lock Up” stars Stallone as Frank Leone as he enters Gateway Prison, a nightmare jail where every minute is hard time. Leone goes head-to-head with the warden, who will stop at nothing to get him, in order to survive.

The three-disc package presents each title in its original aspect ratio – 2.39:1 for “First Blood” and 1.85:1 for “Lock Up” and “Cop Land”. Each title also comes packed with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 EX tracks.  Believe it or not I feel that “First Blood” and “Lock Up” are a tie for the film that looks the best.  Funny how they are also older than 1997’s “Cop Land”.  Nonetheless the presentations are impressive all around.  “Cop Land” steals the best audio track of the pack, followed by “First Blood” in a close second and “Lock Up” in third.

The special features are jam packed with goodies.  “First Blood” features two audio commentary tracks from Stallone and novelist David Morrell.  There is a featurette called “Drawing First Blood”, is an impressive making-of documentary running just over 20 minutes. There are about 5 minutes  of deleted scenes including the controversial alternate ending.  Lastly there is a trivia track including.  With “Lock Up” there is a brief but decent making-of featurett. “Sylvester Stallone Profile” features interviews with Stallone in addition to behind the scenes footage of the cast and crew.  There is a behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews with the cast within a collection of raw clips.  Lastly there is a theatrical trailer included.  Lastly “Cop Land”  includes a great commentary track with writer/director James Mangold, producer Cathy Konrad, and actors Sylvester Stallone & Robert Patrick.  There are two short deleted scenes with optional commentary by Mangold, Stallone and Konrad.  “Cop Land: The Making of an Urban Western” is a basic behind-the-scenes featurette, topping off at almost 15 minutes.  Lastly there is a short “Storyboard Comparison” piece, running under 2 minutes.

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