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Headsup: Rambo, Bond and Callahan

An ongoing attempt to make sense of the onslaught of new swag that people want you to buy. Should you? I’ll try and help.

Rambo Complete Collector\'s Set DVD Cover Art
Rambo Box Set Blu-Ray Cover Art

So, lots of Rambo to talk about. First, the Complete Collector’s Set in its collectible tin that’s got a bigass knife on it and thus Siege keeps being distracted by it. When you open the tin, you’ve got a normal boxed set fold-out thing inside with all the discs–all six of them. It’s a bit odd that the fold-out thing is a bit shorter than the tin, so I wouldn’t, you know, shake it back and forth…but why would you do that unless you were writing a headsup about it? Anyway, the first three films come in their Ultimate Edition incarnations, so there’s nothing new there. What is new is the second half of the set: the fourth film, the fourth film’s second disc (which amounts to a digital copy), and the sixth disc which is, from what I can see, the bits from the Special Editions of the first trilogy (that HTQ4 reviewed for us here). The fourth film’s bonus bits are a commentary with Stallone, deleted scenes, and scads of featurettes. It’s not a bad haul, actually. In fact, this boxed set is pretty complete. If you did not buy the previous Special Edition boxed set, then you’re fine getting just the fourth film if you want a complete array of stuff. However, if you don’t have the series and want it, this is not a bad way to snag it all. As I write this, it’s $37 on Amazon, which is about $7 a disc (not counting the digital copy). (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Next up, the Blu-Ray flavored original trilogy. Whereas you can buy the whole shebang in one fell swoop above, the fourth film is available on Blu-Ray separately. Not sure why this is, they didn’t exactly ping me for my opinion when they planned all this. Regardless, this appears to be the previous three films just reswizzled on Blu-Ray. It’s not a bad deal if you’re looking to swap out your regular DVD set for this one–the first film comes with two commentaries, one with Stallone, and the second and third films each have a director’s commentary on them. Each film also comes with a featurette or documentary. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks Cover Art
Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks Audiobook CD Cover Art

[ad#longpost]Sebastian Faulks got tapped to write a new James Bond novel for the Ian Fleming centenary, and I understand that he was aiming to do about 80% full-on Fleming, if I remember the number correctly. And this makes sense for two reasons. One, what’s the fun in just completely aping another author? And two…well, I don’t know how many of you have actually read Bond as opposed to just seeing him in the movies, but…well, let’s just say that some of the content was of a less enlightened age, if we might. It’s a bit hard to justify writing exactly in that style in 2008. But. What matters is whether or not we’ve got a good new Bond book on our hands, and the answer is we do. Faulks does a commendable job of capturing what the Bond books are. For those of you who have no time to read, as always, there’s an audiobook option as well, read by Tristan Layton but sadly abridged. (Click here to buy the book from Amazon or click here for the audiobook.)

Dirty Harry DVD Cover Art Sudden Impact DVD Cover Art
Magnum Force DVD Cover Art Enforcer DVD Cover Art Dead Pool DVD Cover Art

Okay, so Dirty Harry has been reissued in both a bigass collection and also individual titles. I have, as you can see, individual titles. So let’s run them down. Each one comes with new features, so they’ve got that going for them. Not to mention Clint and his .44. So, first up, the original, which comes in a two-disc set. It has a new commentary with Richard Schickel, Clint’s biographer. There’s also a new featurette covering the “influence and legacy” of Harry. You also get featurettes that were available previously, plus interviews. The sequel, Magnum Force, pits Harry against crooked cops plus Mark Twain–sorry, I mean Hal Holbrook. It comes with a new commentary by John Milius and a featurette covering the politics of Harry. There’s also a featurette that was previously available here as well. Third up is The Enforcer with Tyne Daly in tow as Harry’s partner as they take on terrorists. Here you get a director’s commentary and a featurette on cinema violence. Plus an “original featurette.” Next, Eastwood steps into the director’s chair for Sudden Impact where Harry gets sent away for a breather but things are never that easy, are they? New commentary again from Schickel and a featurette talking about Eastwood as a director. Last but not least, it’s The Dead Pool with celebrities getting knocked off in a game where people are gambling on the deaths. Another new commentary, this time with the producer and cinematographer, and a featurette on the crew of the five film series.

Frankly, these discs are good if you’re trying to snag just a film or two. They each come with new features (especially commentaries, and you know we’re all about the commentaries), so it’s not like any of them are a loss if you’re trying to snag the whole series–but if you are trying to snag the whole series, you’re nuts not to get the Ultimate Collection instead. You save a few bucks and there’s an extra documentary, a book, and more that comes with that. It’s $56 as I write this, so it’s really a better deal all around.


  • You couldn’t have posted this just 6 Hours Earlier?! Damn it!

    Sorry Final Trivia question was Name all five movies in which Clint Eastwood played Harry Callahan. Had I but glanced at this, I would have remembered more than Two, to my stupid shame.