Movie Review: Stallone 3-Film Collector’s Set

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Our friends out at Lions Gate sent out a little something special for us; with Stallone off engaging in a brand new shoot-em-up in the form of “The Expendables 2,” Lions Gate gathered together three of Stallone’s finest and put them in one single box set for our enjoyment. It’s called the Stallone 3-Film Collector’s Set, and it’s packing a whole lot of classic Stallone.

First, the series starts with “Rambo: First Blood–Ultimate Edition.” “Rambo: First Blood” is, of course, the story of John Rambo, recently back from a tour in Vietnam who’s decided to head out to the Pacific Northwest to see an old friend. While out there, he runs afoul of the law–boy, does he ever!–which finds his presence in its town unpalatable. Needless to say, Rambo’s response to the law’s overtures will be decidedly direct.

Next, we get “Lock Up,” the classic story of convict Frank Leone, who finds himself transferred to a new maximum security prison, which happens to be run by a warden with a decided grudge. A grudge sufficient, in fact, to not only lead said warden to threaten Leone’s family on the outside, but Leone’s very life. Can the convict survive the horror the warden is about to subject him to? Can the convict even manage to come out on top in a system where the deck is stacked absolutely against him?

Finally, we get an unusual addition in “Cop Land,” the more recent story of a local sheriff in the midst of big-city police officers. Our sheriff discovers that there’s a major conspiracy afoot among the town’s residents, and one that’s sufficient to shock him to his very core as the big-city cops that make up the small town in his jurisdiction are engaging in some serious illegalities. When the cops become criminals, can this small-town sheriff save “cop land” from itself?

This is, of course, not the first time that large quantities of Stallone have been gathered together in one place. Lions Gate has done several such titles previously, and both “Lock Up”and anything involving Rambo generally finds its way therein. While these are all fine examples of Stallone’s work–okay, maybe “Cop Land” wasn’t exactly what a lot of action buffs were hoping for–it’s still going to be an impressive array of Stallone in one place for easy consumption.

Stallone’s movies are oddly timeless–it’s almost tough to tell that “Rambo: First Blood” was shot 30 years ago, and “Lock Up” is old enough to buy a round of beers as it’s 23 years old this year. Even “Cop Land” isn’t exactly a kid any more, and it’s busily eyeing the cigarette counter at the ripe old age of 15.

The key point here is that, for the most part, these movies are still about as good as they were when they were first released. Stallone’s films have that touch of the timeless to them, and action buffs everywhere often find themselves just as enamored with them today as they were in the past.

Maybe this one’s a bit more for the fans than for anyone else, but it’s hard not to enjoy Stallone on some level, even if it appeals more to the mindless popcorn-cruncher Saturday matinee side than to the cerebral high-brow side. Obviously some will like one title better than another, but it’s a safe bet that at least one of the three films contained herein will be welcome in someone’s home theater.

Either way, there’s more than enough to like here, and the Stallone 3-Film Collector’s Set will have plenty going for it.

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