As a sports fan, I’ve been into nearly every type of display of athleticism out there, from the more organized sports leagues like the MLB, NFL, NHL, and NBA, with a light dabbling of NASCAR, to even the melodrama known as the WWE. I find the displays of athleticism to be found in most sporting events to be truly amazing, from dodging groups of tacklers, to pitching a complete game, jumping off a ladder 20 feet high at an opponent, or sacrificing one’s body just to gain possession of a silly ball that is about to go out of bounds.
That said, I was never a fan of boxing. I just couldn’t get into it, perhaps due to the personalities, or the ridiculous paydays these fighters got. Without boxing, there had been a gap in my interest for the more violent of sports, that not even wrestling could fill, and that gap was easily filled by the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). The UFC, founded in 1993, started out as more of a barbaric league that drew negative attention from lawmakers, before implementing new rules, becoming more of an Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) exhibition than a blood sport.
‘UFC- Ultimate Comebacks’ is a solid compilation of fights from the promotion, with the theme of coming back from near defeat, to achieving victory, that can easily serve as an introduction to the brand for newcomers. Eleven matches are presented in all their violent goodness, including:
Since half of the fun is in watching the fights, not knowing the outcome, I won’t divulge any info whatsoever into these bouts, ie, this review is spoiler free. That said, though, most of the matches in this compilation are easily predictable, as there are only two matches that truly go back and forth, in a see-saw fashion. Most matches are one sided contests that have a miraculous comeback, a theme that does get a bit old. That said, there is nothing better than seeing a competitor, battered and bruised, come back to demolish the man who has been clobbering him. It showcases that anything can happen in these MMA leagues, that a cornered animal can be the most dangerous.
This compilation of brutality highlights a great range of fighting techniques, though most of the competitors are strikers, who seemed a bit inept at the submission holds, as the commentators would constantly point out that they had holds on wrong/inefficiently. Naturally, the fierce fights would be somewhat tame if there were no bloodshed, and there is plenty spilling of lifeblood to be found here. One match in particular, the Koppenhaver v Rollins fight, was absolutely (and disgustingly) bathed in crimson, as the two took turns bloodying each other, with Rollins receiving a gaping wound near his eye, while Koppenhaver got opened up on his head, which made the shots of him pouring water in his hair fairly gross.
Regardless of if you are a fan of wrestling or any of the MMA promotions, or are completely unexperienced when it comes to these ass kicking contests, ‘UFC: Ultimate Comebacks’ has something to offer. Those in the know can appreciate the fantastic displays found here, while newcomers can see the best of what there is to offer, and may become fans of the program. ‘Ultimate Comebacks’ is full of fantastic fights, with no filler. It’s just too bad that the video and audio qualities for this release aren’t up to the same high level of the fights.
‘UFC: Ultimate Comebacks’ is presented in a VC-1/1080i transfer that is a bit underwhelming. Yes, that says 1080i, which is the same resolution for the high def broadcasts of the MMA program.
The fights have some wonderful camerawork, that puts you as close to the action as possible at all times, zooming in, swooping around slightly, keeping the fighters in the center of the frame, all in all, putting the WWE’s camerawork to shame. The source is super clean, with a soft, irrelevant grain, and no spots of dirt or scratching. During the matches, skin tones, which start natural, get bloodied and bruised, and this progression is reflected nicely here, with red marks on fighters’ heads and torsos showing ever so clearly, while their legs maintain their original tone. The skin tones are fairly authentic during these beatdowns, though during the introduction segments, they run a bit hot more often than not.
There is an absolute load of negative elements for the picture quality, though, that cannot be ignored. Artifacts and pixelation can be pretty annoying from time to time, especially in the still frames advertising the upcoming matches. There is a bit of motion blur, and also some motion jaggies (which are obvious in the edges of the participants’ bodies, and in the barcodes on the center of the mat). The entire picture can stutter for two to four seconds at times, as well. Fine detail was a bit of a loss here, as most tattoos get blurred in the movement, and fine facial features are lacking. I would say more, but I’m afraid the disc will do a comeback of it’s own and kick my ass if I keep it up.
The audio for this disc is presented in Stereo Dolby Digital, with no alternate sound options, and no subtitle choices. The action in the ring often feels like it’s on mute, as the color commentary, and even audience noises, overpower the action without strain. Some swooshing and cold hard thuds can be heard, but they are never anywhere near as loud or powerful as they should be, and in some matches, the action is hardly discernible. Sometimes, when the audience truly gets into things, the sound can be a bit of a blur, just a wall of noise, and it doesn’t overlap well with the other sounds. The commentary has a few moments of feedback as well, as in a few instances when a winner is proclaimed, the announcing crew will get excited and the noise garbles (how’s that for a technical term?).
There is no bonus content for this disc. The only menu options are a Play All feature, and a Chapter Selection. Bios/profiles of the participants would have been nice, but as a compilation disc, there really isn’t much that could be done in the way of extras.
Fans of MMA action already know what UFC is about, but for those not in the know, ‘UFC: Ultimate Comebacks’ may serve as a nice introduction to the program, with it’s nice mix of matches, though it does get a bit redundant after the first few, as these are all “comeback” themed, so it’s not too difficult to figure out who is going to win. The video and audio qualities for this release are a bit lacking, though, and the utter lack of extras is the final stake in this coffin. For fans only.