First Blood Review
This the first of the Rambo trilogy, directed by Ted Kotcheff, is accepted by just about everyone and his dog to be the best of the three. Having a body count of only 1 this is far removed from the later pumped up Hollywood incarnations. The plot is a straight forward as they come. Rambo, an affected Vietnam veteran turned drifter arrives at the outskirts of a small “hick” town. The “friendly” local Sheriff informs Rambo that “his type” is not welcome and advises him to keep on walking. Deciding not to heed this advice Rambo is then arrested and taken to the local station where the over zealous officers welcome him with a less than friendly reception. Our man takes exception to this treatment and promptly escapes custody, setting off a chain of events that results in the National Guard chasing him about the local mountains, until a final showdown with the arresting officer is reached.I have to say in all honesty that I like and have always liked this film. It is an action type of film without the emphasis being solely on the action. Stallone is (dare I say it) well cast and portrays the wronged loner without over cooking it. Brian Dennehy is also tremendous as Sheriff Teasle who comes to realise that he may have bitten off more than he can chew. Only Richard Crenna as Colonel Trautman spoils things by hamming it up (as usual!). If by some miracle you haven't seen this film then perhaps you should.
Rambo:First Blood Pt II
This second outing for Rambo, directed by George Cosmatos, is far removed from the original film. Stallone and Crenna both return, joined by Brit Steven Berkoff as a sadistic Russian officer, in a film that did for U.S/North Vietnam/Soviet relations what
Paracetamol will do for a mis-judged tattoo. Set several years after First Blood, we find Rambo smashing rocks, chain gang style as hard labour punishment for his “crimes” in First Blood. Colonel Trautman arrives offering something of a reprieve. It is believed that POW's from the Vietnam War are still very much alive and in captivity. If Rambo can confirm their existence then a pardon is his. Once back in 'Nam however Rambo, not one for photo's and report, feels that returning with a live POW would be a better example of proof. After a daring rescue he drags both himself and a POW back to a designated pick up point, with the 'Cong in hot pursuit! What rotten luck, it turns out the Bureaucrats really didn't want the truth or the POW's. The pick up helicopter is called away at the last moment leaving our hero to be captured. As one who is feeling slightly undervalued, Rambo must annihilate every Vietnamese and Soviet soldier within a 100 square mile radius, and rescue a handful of POWS, before he can get to the real nitty-gritty of dealing with those responsible.Well I am (personally) not really sure that this film has any redeeming factors in all honesty. It is “A typical” of the majority of Stallone's films, if it were a Rocky film it would be Rocky IV. As a 1985 release it seemed much better to me as a 16-year-old, today however, I feel something approaching loathing for it. It is only my rose tinted glasses and knowledge that others actually like this that I mark it as such.
Released in 1985 (19 years ago!) and directed by a stand-in Peter Macdonald, the last of the Rambo trilogy did sterling, (although not the match of Rambo 2) business at the box office. But is it any good?We find our man John J retired to Thailand (following on from First blood 2) polishing his golden Buddha and carrying on like the peaceful monk he really is! Up pops Trautman with a request to accompany him to Afghanistan as those nasty Ruskies are causing all sorts of problems with the native population. Rambo declines this request as his rice has almost boiled dry etc. Trautman and his team are intercepted and captured by the Russians and due to the political climate no official rescue operation can be mounted. There is only one man for this job and no amount of Helicopters, Tanks, Heavy Artillery or plain old man power is likely to save the Russians. Whilst the Cinematography is in my opinion that of a very high standard, the film itself is no better than it's predecessor, possibly worse. It is Rambo 2 in the desert. Whilst I have every respect for the Special Forces etc, and would not wish to comment on a spilt pint with one of them, it is a wonder why the U.S has so many Soldiers, Tanks etc. Rambo, a retired (no less) Special Forces operative, seems to be able to take on entire Armies with only a horse and a sharp stick - whatever!