Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC for short, has amassed quite a following in less than 20 years. It's become the most popular and successful mixed martial arts organization in the world, thanks to great marketing, word-of-mouth and, most importantly, a roster of highly talented fighters representing a variety of disciplines. Although UFC tries hard to distance itself from "rasslin'" organizations like WWE---since the fights are, of course, unscripted---it still occasionally falls back on personal drama to boost intensity, much like boxing or just about any other sport. Rivalries are formed, friendships are broken and personal vendettas make heated fights even more fierce.
Long-time fans of UFC should be familiar with Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, two of the most popular and successful fighters in the promotion's short history. Once upon a time they trained together. Soon enough, they just tolerated each other. Eventually, they grew to despise one another. Their polar opposite personalities played a major part: Liddell's reserved demeanor and built-in passion for fighting drove him to be a champion, while Ortiz's cockiness and love for money are what keep him going. Their rivalry is explored during Bad Blood, which traces a decade or so of heated competition between the two in just over 70 minutes. UFC president Dana White (who obviously sides with Liddell) participates in a handful of key interviews, while the remainder of the documentary focuses on Liddell and Ortiz' personal lives, behind-the-scenes confrontations and, of course, their encounters in the Octagon.
Bad Blood has a great story at its core, even though this documentary plays it mostly by the books. It's heavily biased toward's Liddell's point of view (mostly due to White's involvement), but the core of this documentary is as heavily steeped in competition, testosterone and jaw-jacking as the sport itself. Available in DVD or Blu-Ray formats, this newly-produced documentary is a fairly well-rounded package that fans of all experience levels should enjoy. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio and enhanced for 16x9 displays, Bad Blood looks good for the most part. Colors and black levels are consistent, though some of the older clips obviously look a little worn (and some of them, unfortunately, have been cropped to fill the screen). A few random digital eyesores can be spotted along the way---including edge enhancement, slight compression artifacts and interlacing during at least one sequence---but some of these problems could be source material issues. Overall, it's a watchable presentation that fans should enjoy.
As with past UFC releases (DVD and Blu-Ray alike), the audio is presented in a fairly straightforward Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix. Not surprisingly, the fights sound more subdued and distant than they ought to, even though this dialogue-driven affair doesn't always demand more. Not surprisingly, optional Closed Captions or subtitles are not offered.
Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging
Seen above, the lightly animated menu designs are simple and easy to use. This 72-minute documentary has been divided into a generous 22 chapters and no discernable layer change was detected during playback. This one-disc release is packaged in a handsome Digibook case with a handful of photos, stats and figures printed on the interior pages. A tight paper sleeve is all that separates this DVD from the packaging, so don't be surprised if it accumulates a few smudges and scuffs quickly.
The main attractions here are two Bonus Fights glimpsed during the main feature; they are, of course, both complete bouts in which Liddell and Ortiz squared off. Originally shown during UFC 47 (15 minutes) and UFC 66 (25 minutes), these are great fights and thoughtful inclusions...even if we know the outcomes already. As an added bonus, the Countdown to UFC 66 is also included (25 minutes), which provides plenty of hype and trash-talking from both sides. The main feature actually does a good job of standing on its own, but these helpful extras really round out the package nicely. Presented in 16x9 widescreen, they also include multiple chapter stops for easy browsing...but again, no subtitles or Closed Captions.
UFC's Bad Blood: Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz condenses a fierce rivalry between two of its most popular icons...and though it doesn't bring anything new to the table, the story pretty much sells itself. These are two very different fighters, charismatic and highly talented in their own way, and the added layer of drama intensifies what are already great confrontations. The DVD offers a modest amount of support, including a decent technical presentation and a few thoughtful bonus features. New and old fans alike should enjoy Bad Blood, no matter which side of the fence you're on. Firmly Recommended.
Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey based in Harrisburg, PA. He also does freelance graphic design projects and works in a local gallery. When he's not doing that, he enjoys slacking off, second-guessing himself and writing things in third person.