Instead of heading to your local gun shop (or, in NYC, the neighborhood park) to pick up a pair of high powered machine guns and mow a path through thy fellow man, I suppose temporary (if mind-numbing) release can be found through the stupid slaughter of Rambo: First Blood Part II. It's ignorant, but certainly conforms to expectations. It's the Bernie Goetz of Vietnam movies.
Former Green Beret John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone, who originated the character in First Blood) is enlisted to bring our prisoners of war back home on a government-funded rescue mission, but who would trust shifty-eyed company man Murdock (Charles Napier) and his orders to "take pictures" of the POW camp? (Murdock later reveals his stupidity when pulling out his choppers before Rambo can escape Vietnam; Rambo defined "I'll be back" revenge before The Terminator recreated his hop-on-cop violence). This leads to Rambo's inevitable capture at the hands of the Viet Cong, followed by torture at the hands of a Mad Russian General (Steven Berkoff, Beverly Hills Cop).
Once Rambo gets loose, the bullets fly and the audience bloodlust is satiated -- they bear witness to dead Vietnamese, dead Commies, and humiliated U.S. government officials who don't understand Rambo's existential crisis. No one will ever confuse this for a quality film, that's for sure. It's a macho fantasy created to convince Americans that we could have won Vietnam if only we'd trusted John Rambo. This muscle-bound killer ties a red handkerchief round his sweaty brow, picks up his high-powered rifle (or missile launcher, or jumbo knife, or rack of lamb) and kills the enemy. Boy, do we feel better now!
Hey... I'd sell you a bridge, but Rambo already blew it up.
Followed by a final sequel, Rambo III.
Rambo enthusiasts will want to run -- don't walk -- to pick up the new four-disc DVD set of the three Rambo movies (plus a disc full of extras). Admittedly, this isn't The Godfather collection, but each film has been carefully restored and enhanced with Dolby Digital and DTS audio, as well as a commentary track. Various documentaries pepper the movie discs and of course the extras disc, offering close to a full 24 hours of entertainment. And in pure Rambo style, it's all wrapped up in an impressive book-like package and bound in a metal case. As John Rambo himself might say: "Auuugggggrrhh!"
Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd May 1985
Box Office Worldwide: $300.4M
Distributed by: TriStar Pictures
Production compaines: TriStar Pictures, Carolco Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 23
IMDB: 6.4 / 10
Director: George P. Cosmatos
Producer: Buzz Feitshans
Starring: Sylvester Stallone as John J. Rambo, Richard Crenna as Col. Samuel Trautman, Charles Napier as Marshall Murdock, Steven Berkoff as Lt. Col. Podovsky, Julia Nickson as Co Bao, George Cheung as Capt Vinh, Andy Wood as Banks, William Ghent as Capt. Vinh, Voyo Goric as Sgt. Yushin, Dana Lee as Gunboat captain, Baoan Coleman as Gunboat captain II, Steve Williams as Lifer, Don Collins as POW #1, Christopher Grant as POW #2, Martin Kove as Ericson
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