There really is no denying that Sylvester Stallone was one of the top action stars of the 80’s. He’s a legend, even now as he creeps up into his sixties. The recent release of The Expendables II seems to have brought on a Blu-ray release of three of Stallone's finest from the 80’s and 90’s – First Blood, Cop Land and Lock-Up. Lionsgate has put together this value set along with a host of extras to keep Stallone fans very busy.
Even with the huge popularity of Rocky it seems Stallone’s mega-star status has been defined by Ted Kotcheff’s First Blood. The tale of John Rambo spawned three sequels, in this opening to the saga of the ex-Vietnam vet hero’s story, Rambo crosses paths with a ruthless Sheriff (Brian Dennehy, Last of the Finest) pent on making this drifter miserable. Rambo of course flips the Sheriff and the town on their ass when he single-handedly takes apart anyone in his way.
While not near as good as First Blood, Lock-Up takes a similar template like many of Stallone’s vehicles but instead of a “ruthless” Sheriff we get an evil Warden played by the great Donald Sutherland (Eye of the Needle, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) giving Frank Leone (Stallone) his own brand of vengeance by keeping him incarcerated for as long as possible. Performances are solid here and there’s just enough action to make it one of the better prison films of the 80’s.
Cop Land shows a side of Stallone that many, at time of production, were amazed to see - a total dedication to going the opposite direction in his fitness regime to play an overweight lawman in a small town battling some crooked big city cops. Here he gains over 40 pounds of fat, and it shows as you see his gut barreling over his belt-buckle. His performance as the slow and partially deaf Freddy Heflin is really pretty underrated. The ensemble cast shows some solid performances by Michael Rapaport, Harvey Keitel, Robert Deniro and Robert Patrick. Overall it’s a great film although it has some pacing issues. With that said the finale is really something special.
Extras are included on all three Blu-rays. The best are definitely on First Blood. There’s a deleted scene with the original ending really would have changed everything about the series. The transfer’s are all very pleasing on High-Definition with First Blood again taking the cake as the best image. For the price, this is a nice set and should be in any Stallone fan’s collection. Recommended.