Rambo: First Blood part 2

"To survive a war, you gotta become war."    - John Rambo

release year: 1985
genre: action
viewing setting: home DVD 9/1/18 and 3/11/17 and 9/7/15 and 3/24/12 and 9/19/09 and 4/16/02 and 2/7/99, and home laserdisc 6/11/97, and several other viewings in the 1980s and 1990s

synopsis: War hero John Rambo is freed from prison to go back to Vietnam and look for POWs. When he actually finds some, the bureaucracy chickens out and won't let him rescue them. Guess what happens?

impressions: This is one of the iconic movies/events of the 1980s, full of action that's often patriotic and always entertaining. Unlike the original movie (which was more about the absolutely unfair treatment that returning soldiers got in the Vietnam era) this one is all about revenge and the righting of wrongs, and has more violence, explosions, and death. The bad guys are both foreign and domestic, and generally get what's coming to them.

acting: Stallone did more actual acting in First Blood but this time, he's a buff, efficient force of nature, and this role was both stereotyped and ridiculed then and now. Richard Crenna returns as his former commanding officer, who's an ally in this adventure. Charles Napier is the tie-wearing bureaucrat who uses other people and doesn't care that it's wrong. Julia Nickson is Rambo's inside connection, who ends up helping him and saving his life.

body count: 64 confirmed (8 by others + 56 by Rambo, but that doesn't count unseen deaths from the village, trucks, and enemy camp he blew up while flying the helicopter)

final word: This may be the ultimate action movie, and was surely a template for many others made in the 1980s. This is one of the first, though, and undoubtedly one of the best.

back to the main review page