Rocky V - The 80's Remix

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(Updated: November 06, 2012)
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10.0
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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.
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(Updated: July 15, 2020)
Overall rating
 
8.7
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8.0
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9.0
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9.0
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9.0
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8.0
Much credit to LastSurvivor for rescuing this film and giving us a version I'm happy to watch with the rest of the series. John G. Avildsen (director of this film and the original Rocky) actually released a workprint "director's cut" online that addresses most of the same issues that LS identified here. It keeps getting taken down, so I can't watch to confirm if it's better or not, but you can see the director reworked the end fight, the training montages, the music, etc. Stallone also famously changed both the ending and his portrayal of the brain damage while filming. All of these are addressed and improved by this fanedit.

Basically, Rocky fans fall into two camps: those that really love III and IV but don't care much about the others, and those that really appreciate the more drama-oriented films in the series. Rocky III and IV are about 60% montage, and while they're great fun, it's hard to say that they're genuinely moving. Rocky V tried to come back to the original's Oscar-winning roots, but lapsed into a studio cash-in of a mess. What this edit does great is strip away a lot of the trendy ideas afflicted on Rocky V and allow the drama at its core to shine. It's one of the most realistic and depressing films in the series, incorporating tons of real-world issues that boxers eventually face in their career. Made in 1990, it actually brilliantly satirizes Don King and his Tyson-beating stooge, Buster Douglas. Stallone's script calls out the twisted business behind modern boxing, the politics of getting big fights, the engineering of fight records, the health-destroying injuries, the broken families. Almost everything that happens in the film ended up happening to Mike Tyson a few years later. The drama in this film is the great strong point, and the scenes between Adrian and Rocky have a chance to rise above and really reach the audience now.

It's not a perfect edit (for me), though. There are a couple of continuity issues created by the removal of scenes, for one. While the "one year later" on-screen title attempts to smooth over the change in actors for Rocky Jr., it's actually a 5 year age difference from Rocky IV! This could've been fixed with a couple more time tags, like skipping ahead 2 years when Rocky decides to open his gym, and another year or so when he starts training Tommy. Sage Stallone does actually look older by the final third of the film, when he's fully rebelling and wearing an earring. Cutting out the scene when he starts doing that makes it a little less obvious what he's doing though, and means Rocky's joke about the earring at the end of the film largely misses. Rocky Jr.'s dig at Rocky about "watching out for scams" also misses because the scene where Rocky walked him to school is removed, so he never says that. We also miss the line he references several times later about him and his son promising to remain tight. Also, this edit of the final fight ends up making it largely one-sided...Rocky hits Tommy roughly 200 times and never seems in real danger. It's a bit anti-climactic. Partially re-instating these scenes would better support the parallel stories of the 'two sons', and make Rocky Jr. seem like less of a needy whiner.

All that is not nearly as important as what the edit does right, though. The new music choices fit very well, and that alone is reason enough for this to replace the original. Not only the addition of cheesy '80s rock, but also more Conti music, and a saxy Gonna Fly Now reprise if I'm not mistaken. I didn't get why the pencil artwork was used for the film, until I rewatched and remembered his son becomes an artist. It's actually perfect then, in that the theme of this film is legacy and family, and Rocky focusing on his family instead of his boxing/boxers. However, I would've preferred the son's actual art in the film, particularly the lovely picture of Rocky and Adrian. This becomes the core of this movie for me, a return to the first film. The boxing should be almost secondary. Given how Rocky is dealing with what happens with his son and Adrian in the next film, Rocky Balboa, this film actually becomes stronger for how it sets this up. These scenes with Adrian are now really touching in context, and I wish that were the cover/dvd menu, rather than focusing on Rocky as the boxer.

All in all though, this is a much improved film that splits the difference between the two camps of Rocky fans. It's got lots of heart and personal drama, but it's also short and full of action montages and '80s rock. I don't think it's going to wow fans of either Rocky IV or the original, but it has now secured its place in the series.

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(Updated: November 14, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
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9.0
Ah, Rocky 5. What's not to love? Only a story which many say was unnecessary and should've never happened. Considered the high we're left with at the end of part 4, how could they possibly top it? Well, they felt going backwards and having the story/character go full circle was the only option at this point. Everyone's hearts were in the right place, but the pieces simply weren't there.

However, this edit attempts to wash away all of that, and tries to tie it in with its 1980's predecessors. On that account, the edit passes. However, we're still left with a story that doesn't simply add anything to the Rocky story. Also however, I'm a huge Rocky and Sly fan, so I love this edit. I can now honestly say that I can enjoy all 6 Rocky movies. The music choices work perfectly (if you're into music tone of parts 3 and 4, that is). Love the synth songs chosen for the menus. Hearing Dolph's voiceover from his "Maximum Potential" fitness tape dubbed into the song already lets the viewer know tat we're in for some rocky 4-style goodness. This stuff is my favorite music genre. For anyone looking for a nostalgic 80's sounding genre of music, Look up artists like MPM, Mitch Murder, Miami Nights 1984, and the list goes on and on.

For the Rocky 4 recap, we get Survivor's new song "Fire Makes Steel". This song was intentionally made for Rocky 6, but Stallone didn't use it. So I'm glad it at least got used here. The edit is done perfectly so that the recap feels like a music video. Something the editor of the theatrical Rocky 4 couldn't have gotten more wrong. Even as a 7 year old (back in 1991), I was confused as to why the fight was edited differently than how it played out in the film (something every Rocky sequel did up until this point).

To explain how Rocky's son gets so much older, we simply don't see him until the "One Year Later" screen cap. The way this was edited was beautiful. Fading to black after Rocky's flashback at the old gym, to the train passing was perfect. We don't even see GW until a year passes.

For Tommy's montage, The Pat Benatar song fits great, but I prefer the Mitch Murder song used in the special features more. However, for the tone of the film, PB's song is better. For the 2nd montage, we have "Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way" by John Farnham. Another great 80's AOR rock singer. For the big fight at the end we have the orchestrated version of "Eye of the Tiger". The fight was short, but the cuts were seamless. I actually prefer it this way simply because even as a kid I couldn't stand how the fight kept going back and forth between Rocky winning, then Tommy winning, then Rocky, then Tommy, etc... And the less said about some of the crowd commentary ("He took my ROOM!!") the better. Sure we miss out on Mickey's parting words as "the angel over his shoulder", but I'll take the bad with the good. It's great that now we have "Eye of the Tiger" in 3 of the Rocky movies instead of only 2. That's half the series. Also, the drawing of Rocky next to the credits is a nice nod to Rocky 2's credits.

Watching this movie again for the first time in years (with the exception of the work-print version) I have to say I forgot how funny Paulie is. Also have to give props to Sage (R.I.P). His performance is one of the best (and my personal favorite) out of all the actors in the movie. A shame the guy never made it in Hollywood. He certainly had the chops. TBH, I really wish he had revisited the character for part 6, though the guy from "Heroes" did a fine job as well. Talia really brought it here as well. With pretty much the entire cast doing their best, I guess it really boils down to Sly's performance. I guess because Sly played Rocky more as a caricature here, that's the real reason people got turned off by the film. Because overall, this edit makes the best parts of this film shine and honestly makes me hold the film in higher regards now.

Tommy needed to be fleshed out a lot more. Sly really should've written/filmed a scene where Tommy's dad comes to see him now that Tommy is getting famous, and dad wants what he feels is "owed" to him (ie: money). Then Tommy could knock him out and tell his dad what it is. "You were never there when I needed you". It not only would've alluded to later on when Tommy would have to fight Rocky, the man who got him where he was. But it also would've shown that Rocky was beginning to go down that same path with his own son. A nice way to tie it all together IMO.

Anyway, this version is now a part of my fan edit collection. Great job!!

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(Updated: November 02, 2012)
Overall rating
 
9.3
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
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9.0
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10.0
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9.0
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10.0
To me Rocky 5 always was a flawed movie, but a flawed movie with a heart.
This edit keeps the heart and polish the flaws with success.
It feels a bit short though but nothing feels like missing (maybe a final a bit longuer, because this new version was so great you wanted more, so it's a compliment in a way)
And the winner is.... Last survivor!

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Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
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Overall rating
 
9.3
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
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9.0
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9.0
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10.0
Winner and still champion.... Last Survivor!!!!

....cue Tom Conti Rocky fanfare!

I was privileged to watch the work print of this edit a few months back.

And it was very, very good.

But this final version?

WOW!

IT IS FANTASTIC!!!

This the Rocky V fans deserved. Thanks LS!

This edit gets to the core of what makes Rocky work as an iconic character and jettisons the over the top, caricature moments.
This FEELS like a Rocky movie!
While the original version just felt like it was suffering from an identity crisis... not quite a throw back/tribute to the original and not a true fleshed out worthy next chapter either.

The edited story is kept tight and focused, continuity issues are addressed and corrected, and the 80's rock style soundtrack infuses the new narrative with the perfect uplifting and inspirational energy!

Once again, Last Survivor has demonstrated his superior ability with sound replacement. The new opening titles, the two training montages and closing fight are all brilliant work. In fact, the new version of the street fight is so vastly superior to the original, I can not even imagine it being staged any other way.

All the new music choices work wonderfully, both in terms of sound and lyrics. I am glad LS stuck with the 80s rock sound and did not pursue the Electro Version soundtrack idea. As a bonus feature, an electro version of one the training montages is included, and I have to be honest, it left me completely cold.

In other bonus features, LS includes one of his famous commentaries. His passion for Rocky and Sylvestor Stallone is evident, and it was a joy to listen to his insights. It is a great commentary.

There is also a very cool teaser trailer for Last Survivor's next project, which he talks about briefly in his commentary. Not to spoil anything, but it looks awesome!

Needless to say, technically this edit is excellent. The picture quality is almost equal to my dvd version and sound work is exceptional.

So if you have been wondering whether to download this edit or not, wonder no more -- this is a MUST SEE fan edit!

Pure Popcorn Fun!
Thumbs way UP!

Thanks for the great entertainment LS.
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