Ventura Distribution // 2005 // 140 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Ian Visser (Retired) // April 7th, 2006
Isn't 52 sequels some kind of record?
Initially relegated to cheap ballrooms and hotel stages, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has become big business, attracting sponsors, birthing a reality show, and making stars out of its fighters. As a pay-per-view staple UFC attracts millions of viewers to its no-holds-barred combat inside the caged octagon. UFC53 -- Heavy Hittersis recorded from a live 2005 broadcast from inside the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall in New Jersey.
In contrast to early UFC matches, current fights now feature many restrictions which limit such anti-social activities as:
* Butting with the head
* Eye gouging of any kind
* Hair pulling
* Fish hooking
* Groin attacks of any kind
* Putting a finger into any orifice on an opponent
* Small joint manipulation
While the UFC has refined its policy of acceptable techniques (and gotten itself sanctioned by several states' athletic commissions) the fighters have grown increasingly well-trained and dangerous. Early UFC fighters were often out-of-shape brawlers or untested tough-talkers as likely to run for cover as pummel it out. By contrast, there's nobody featured in UFC53 -- Heavy Hittersthat you'd like to meet in an alley behind your local watering hole.
Eight fights are featured in UFC53 -- Heavy Hitters:
* Koji Oishi vs. Nick Diaz
* David Loiseau vs. Charles McCarthy
* Nate Quarry vs. Shonie Carter
* Forrest Griffin vs. Bill Mahood
* Kevin Jordan vs. Paul Buentello
* Matt Serra vs. Karo Parysian
* Rich Franklin vs. Evan Tanner -- Middleweight Championship
* Andrei Arlovski vs. Justin Eilers -- Interim Heavyweight Championship
The featured championship fights each have a limit of five rounds of five minutes, and the remaining matches a maximum of three rounds. Although the majority of fights end in the first round, several extend for 3 or 4 rounds and get increasingly bloody. Between matches we get short pre-fight interviews and summaries of the fighters and their histories. Chapter stops are plentiful on the DVD so viewers can skip the interview sessions and head straight to the next fight.
UFC production values are much higher today than in the infancy of the sport. Live broadcasts feature advanced light and music displays coupled with slick graphics and promotion to give the events a professional wrestling-type feel. Actor Joe Rogan (News Radio) is a constant presence at UFC events, providing color commentary for the matches. Although I find Rogan's frat-boy shtick a little tiresome, he knows his UFC facts and is clearly a fan.
The special features included on the disc are a limited batch. Aside from a highlight reel from the show itself, the majority of the extras are backstage vignettes of the fighters and their warm-up routines. There's not much here for anyone except die-hard fans, although I did enjoy watching the fighters try and sweat off any remaining ounces before weigh-in to make it into their respective weight classes.
UFC53 -- Heavy Hittersis presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and features a solid image with minimum graininess. As is expected from a recent release, there are few issues with color balance and there are no significant defects. The audio is nice and aggressive, even with a 2-channel Dolby Digital mix.
Better production values make UFC53 -- Heavy Hittersa more satisfying viewing experience over their earlier efforts, but the main difference is that the current UFC contestants are better fighters than their early counterparts. Fans of the UFC will find that UFC53 -- Heavy Hittersdelivers the action as they have come to expect.
Review content copyright © 2006 Ian Visser; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Ventura Distribution
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Fighters Cut Weight
* UFC 53 Weigh In
* Post Weigh In
* Autograph Session
* Fight Preparations
* Post-fight Interview
* UFC 53 Highlight Reel
* Official Site