Before single-handedly taking on the Vietnamese army in a handful of dreadful sequels, John Rambo was a tormented Green Beret who only wanted a little something to eat. First Blood, which introduced Rambo to an audience hungry for a "real American hero," reminds me of a time when Sylvester Stallone could be taken seriously as an actor. Remember, he'd taken home an Academy Award for Rocky a few years earlier (not for acting, but it was a feather in his cap nevertheless).

This lean, mean fighting machine strolls down the street, unassuming and weary in his army jacket, having just found out that another of his veteran friends who made it through the 'Nam died shortly after coming home. Guy just wants to brood for a little while. Cut him some slack. A few minutes later, our unlucky hero gets hassled by a mean-spirited small town sheriff (the inimitable Brian Dennehy) who advises him to take a bath and clean himself up. What would you do if a smug local yokel hiding behind a badge told you to get out of town when you didn't even do anything? You'd pull a Rambo and get arrested for... for... for walking back into town. "Okay, now you're resisting arrest!" the sheriff gloats.

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