Rambo: First Blood Part II Preview

“This how you got there?” the gangster squad says looking into the prison tunnel where Jamie and Patrick first got to the BMTverse and met Nic Cage, “didn’t peg you for a criminal.” Patrick just shrugs somberly. He can’t stop thinking about Sticks and Stones. A dangerous pair for him and Jamie together, let alone on their own. “Well we better get down there before they find us,” Patrick says, but the gangsters put a hand on his shoulder. “Woah there, big guy, you don’t think we’d let you go down there alone. Who knows who or what is waiting for you on the other side. We got you a guide. Someone who knows the terrain, someone who spent some time as a prisoner in the BMTverse. He’ll help you get down there and find you brother and if he don’t we’ll kill him,” they laugh as they grasp Patrick’s hand. “Thanks,” Patrick replies, realizing that these gangsters are his friends. Ever since he and Jamie made it big on the Rich and Poe series he had forgotten what it was like to have a friend and he smiles. Just then his guide emerges from the tunnel “You ready to go?” he growls and Patrick is stunned. “Woah! Sly? What are you doing in the BMTverse? You don’t belong there. You’re the best! The best!” But the man shakes his head. “No, the name’s Rambo. And I’ve spent my fair share of time in the BMTverse,” he says looking into the distance, “You better believe it.” As Patrick attempts once again to enter the tunnel he’s even more shocked to see three more Rambos emerge from the tunnel of varying ages. “You better believe it,” they all growl in unison. That’s right! The third BMT Live! Of the year is upon us and it’s an extra special Rambo extravaganza. We waited with bated breath for Rambo: Last Blood to officially qualify and once it did we realized that Rambo: FIrst Blood Part II, Rambo III, Rambo, and Rambo: Last Blood all qualify for BMT. Ohhhhhhhhh boy. Let’s go!

Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) – BMeTric: 19.1 

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(Amazingly, low 5’s is actually really rather low. That is a genuine people-think-this-movie-is-bad rating. And then it rises all the way to mid-6’s which is a genuine average score. I think this is a rare film where public sentiment has officially shifted towards irony. To be ironically bad is to be good, whatever that is worth I suppose.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Comic-book action saga of one-man army who goes to Cambodia in search of American MIAs and finds he’s been duped by Uncle Sam. Never boring but incredibly dumb; if one were to take it seriously, it would also be offensive, as it exploits real-life frustrations of MIA families and Vietnam vets. 

(Oh snap, Leonard spitting fire at Rambo. I do like the sound of never boring, but yeah … I think Rambo goes a bit off the rails right after it immediately abandons the PTSD-focused storyline of the original. But I’m ready for some ‘splosions.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQGJAIYtWD4/

(The initial muscle shot is sooooooo good. It is actually how they start the Rambo transformation scenes in the cartoon Rambo: Freedom Force. And what a soundtrack, obviously just filled with baggers. I’m amped, let’s go!)

Directors – George P. Cosmatos – (Known For: Tombstone; Of Unknown Origin; Future BMT: Shadow Conspiracy; Leviathan; The Cassandra Crossing; BMT: Cobra; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Notes: His son, Panos Cosmatos, is also a director. He directed Mandy with Nic Cage.)

Writers – David Morrell (based on characters created by) – (Known For: First Blood; BMT: Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: He has a character credit on the porn parody Rambone XXX: A DreamZone Parody.)

Kevin Jarre (story by) – (Known For: Tombstone; The Mummy; Glory; Future BMT: The Devil’s Own; BMT: Rambo: First Blood Part II; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Notes: Son of Brian Kelly who starred in Flipper. Was adopted by composer Maurice Jarre.)

Sylvester Stallone (screenplay by) – (Known For: First Blood; Creed II; Rocky; Creed; Homefront; The Expendables; Rocky Balboa; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Rocky II; The Lords of Flatbush; Paradise Alley; F.I.S.T; Future BMT: Staying Alive; Rocky V; Rocky IV; BMT: Driven; Rhinestone; Cobra; Over the Top; The Expendables 3; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: His staunch refusal to allow Rocky to move forward without him starring apparently inspired Paul Reubens to hold out for Tim Burton with Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.)

James Cameron (screenplay by) – (Known For: Alita: Battle Angel; Titanic; The Terminator; Terminator 2: Judgment Day; Avatar; Aliens; Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines; True Lies; The Abyss; Strange Days; Future BMT: Piranha Part Two: The Spawning; Terminator Genisys; BMT: Rambo: First Blood Part II; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Notes: Has been working on his Avatar sequels for years now. The second one is supposed to involve a lot of underwater filming.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: First Blood; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; Creed II; Rocky; Creed; Escape Plan; The Expendables; Rocky Balboa; The Expendables 2; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Cop Land; Rocky II; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Antz; Bullet to the Head; Death Race 2000; Nighthawks; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; D-Tox; Escape Plan 3; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Backtrace; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Demolition Man; Notes: The big news story of the week is that apparently he tried and failed to seduce Princess Diana in 1993 as a party thrown by Elton John.)

Sylvester Stallone Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director, and Worst Actor for Rocky IV in 1986; Winner for Worst Screenplay, and Worst Actor for Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1986; Winner for Worst Actor in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1989 for Rambo III; and in 1993 for Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Winner for Worst Supporting Actor for Spy Kids 3: Game Over in 2004; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; Winner for Worst Actor of the Decade in 1990; Nominee for Worst Director for The Expendables in 2011; Nominee for Worst Screenplay in 1985 for Rhinestone; in 1986 for Rocky IV; in 1987 for Cobra; in 1989 for Rambo III; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1994 for Cliffhanger; and in 2002 for Driven; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1987 for Cobra; in 1988 for Over the Top; in 1990 for Lock Up, and Tango & Cash; in 1991 for Rocky V; in 1992 for Oscar; in 1995 for The Specialist; in 1996 for Assassins, and Judge Dredd; in 1997 for Daylight; in 2001 for Get Carter; and in 2014 for Bullet to the Head, Escape Plan, and Grudge Match; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Driven in 2002; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn in 1999;

Richard Crenna – (Known For: First Blood; Body Heat; Sabrina; Hot Shots! Part Deux; Wait Until Dark; The Sand Pebbles; The Flamingo Kid; Marooned; Breakheart Pass; Un flic; Table for Five; Future BMT: Death Ship; Leviathan; Wrongfully Accused; Summer Rental; A Pyromaniac’s Love Story; Jonathan Livingston Seagull; BMT: Jade; Rambo III; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Rambo III in 1989; Notes: Trautman was supposed to be in the fourth film, btu Crenna died of heart failure in 2003.)

Charles Napier – (Known For: The Silence of the Lambs; The Blues Brothers; Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me; Philadelphia; Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery; Lords of Dogtown; The Manchurian Candidate; The Cable Guy; Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron; Supervixens; Beyond the Valley of the Dolls; Beloved; Married to the Mob; Something Wild; The Grifters; Swing Shift; Melvin and Howard; Maniac Cop 2; Miami Blues; Original Gangstas; Future BMT: Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Jury Duty; The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; Annapolis; Loaded Weapon 1; The Kid & I; Last Embrace; BMT: Steel; Ernest Goes to Jail; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Notes: He apparently played in two Kentucky high school state basketball championships, and was in the Air Force.)

Budget/Gross – $25.5 million / Domestic: $150,415,432 (Worldwide: $300,400,432)

(That is a huge success. Sylvester Stallone and early 80s action really was something to behold at the time. It must have been wild to see him just slowly descend into madness.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 37% (15/41):

(Do I have to write a consensus? With a mixed message, and Stallone-as-caricature instead of character it is easy to see this as a bad movie … but then why do I like it so much? Reviewer Highlight: So powerful and intoxicating is this kind of movie hero that when we see him operating in a flaw-riddled movie like ”Rambo” we realize that heroic action can override almost any script. – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune.)

Poster – Poe: First Sklog Part II (A – I mean.. It’s amazing and there’s nothing you can do to make me change my mind…. Sure the font isn’t very good…. OK and the spacing is real weird with the large border… and why are there so many words?… what’s with the fire?… and particularly the tiny Rambo next to the title? OK, nevermind. This is bonkers. C.)

rambo_first_blood_part_ii

(Patrick’s Shallow Fake: The hardest bit here was getting the lighting right on the face. I tried to add it post, but nothing looked as good as just shining a lamp on my face while taking a selfie. This is what I would call a “full poster” where I altered everything to fit a new “fake” movie starring myself as Poe.)

Tagline(s) – They sent him on a mission and set him up to fail. But they made one mistake. They forgot they were dealing with Rambo. (C-)

(This is actually a funny tagline, right? Almost a spoof. I also love the idea that they “forgot” they were dealing with Rambo… as if he’s world famous. He starts the movie in a prison. Too long. Not clever. But hilarious.)

Keyword(s) – propaganda; Top Ten by BMeTric: 84.2 Police Academy: Mission to Moscow (1994); 70.0 Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (2008); 60.6 Tell Your Children (1936); 50.7 Teeth (I) (2007); 49.3 2016: Obama’s America (2012); 46.0 Li hai le, wo de guo (2018); 43.7 Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016); 40.3 Rambo III (1988); 39.1 Iron Eagle (1986); 34.7 The Clonus Horror (1979);

(Ha! Sounds about right. Kind of amazing Rambo III even makes the list. Let’s see, Iron Eagle will be watched (the entire series). I’ve seen Neighbors 2 … I don’t see how that is propaganda. This does remind me we have to finish off the Police Academy series at some point.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 10) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Sylvester Stallone is No. 1 billed in Rambo: First Blood Part II and No. 1 billed in Expendables 3, which also stars Jason Statham (No. 2 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 1 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 10. If we were to watch The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 8.

Notes – Co-writer James Cameron claims that he only wrote the first draft of the script, and that Sylvester Stallone made many changes to it. Cameron had originally paired Rambo with a humorous sidekick, and had fleshed out the prisoners of war with elaborate backstories that were to be revealed over the course of the film. However, Stallone reportedly didn’t like that the sidekick got all the cool dialogue, and also scrapped most of the POW’s backstories to the point where Cameron claimed that “they might as well have gotten to the jungle to pick up a six-pack of beer”. When the film was released, the political content of the movie was considered controversial, with many feeling that the Vietnam War was altered to look and sound heroic. Cameron commented that he only wrote the action, and that Stallone wrote the politics. (Sounds about right)

At the time of filming (1985), there were close to 2,500 Vietnam vets still Missing-In-Action.

The only film in the Rambo series to be nominated for an Oscar. (Wow. The original is quite good, so that is surprising)

The original title was First Blood II, but Sylvester Stallone decided he wanted the series to be named after the lead character, just like the Rocky series. So he re-titled it “Rambo: First Blood Part II” so he could name the third film Rambo III (1988) instead of First Blood III. (Sounds about right)

To prepare for this role, Sylvester Stallone did eight months of training for four hours a day. He also took SWAT combat, archery and survival courses.

James Cameron’s original screenplay began with Colonel Trautman finding Rambo in a psychiatric hospital instead of a prison. The psychiatric hospital concept was instead depicted in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). (Awesome idea. James Cameron is a national treasure)

Dolph Lundgren was initially signed as the Russian Lieutenant Colonel Podovsky (played by Steven Berkoff), when Sylvester Stallone realized that it was the same man who was going to be in Rocky IV (1985), so they paid off the contract.

James Cameron wrote a treatment/screenplay not only for this film, but at the same time also for Aliens (1986) as well as additional drafts for The Terminator (1984) while production on the latter was being delayed. He worked at a different desk on each script to keep the projects separated.

Sylvester Stallone said of the first draft: “I think that James Cameron is a brilliant talent, but I thought the politics were important, such as a right-wing stance coming from Trautman and his nemesis, Murdock, contrasted by Rambo’s obvious neutrality, which I believe is explained in Rambo’s final speech. I realize his speech at the end may have caused millions of viewers to burst veins in their eyeballs by rolling them excessively, but the sentiment stated was conveyed to me by many veterans…. [Also] in his original draft it took nearly 30-40 pages to have any action initiated and Rambo was partnered with a tech-y sidekick. So it was more than just politics that were put into the script. There was also a simpler story line. If James Cameron says anything more than that, then he realizes he’s now doing the backstroke badly in a pool of lies”. (Okay … literally parroting speeches by veterans isn’t actually “neutral”, at least I don’t think so. No offense meant, but I think this is precisely why people like James Cameron thought the politics were a little off. Stallone is a brilliant writer for action, especially in the 80s where he literally rewrote the genre, but his dialogue and vision for his protagonists are straight up bad. End rant.)

Rambo’s stats, as given in the film: “Rambo, John J., born 7/6/47 Bowie, Arizona of Indian-German descent. Joined army 8/6/64. Accepted, Special Forces specialization, light weapons, cross-trained as medic. Helicopter and language qualified, 59 confirmed kills, two Silver Stars, four Bronze, four Purple Hearts, Distinguished Service Cross, Medal of Honor.”

According to the documentary We Get to Win This Time (2002), the producers considered teaming up Sylvester Stallone with his Staying Alive (1983) protégé John Travolta (who was once considered to play Rambo himself in the first film) as Rambo’s young partner in rescuing the American POWs. Stallone nixed this idea when he decided it would be better to make the film a solo project. (That documentary sounds awful. What an awful title)

First film to appear in 2,000+ U.S. theaters. (That’s cool)

Despite its anti-government stance, the film had a big fan in then-President Ronald Reagan. (I don’t think it is really anti-government. It is anti-anti-war governments basically, or like … against an imaginary strawman version of people who “lost the Vietnam War”)

Lieutenant Colonol Padovsky is the only villain to have any lines in English. (Extremely good choice)

In the movie, John Rambo’s birthday is July 6, 1947. Sylvester Stallone’s birthday is July 6, 1946, exactly 1 year earlier. (He made himself one year younger)

When Sylvester Stallone ranked his preference of the Rambo films on the UK chat show Graham Norton, he ranked this one 4th, his least favorite, as it was “like a cartoon”. (That is interesting, I think it is the best actual action film of the bunch)

All of the shots of the military base were done on a Mexican Air Force airstrip. The logos have been painted over or obscured, and the real crew always have their backs toward the camera or are far enough away from the camera so no one would notice.

In scenes where arrows are being shot, they are attached with wire so they land in the right spot without hurting anyone. (Ah the same thing magicians do)

Remarkably this film has a great deal of foundation in fact. In the early 1980s US Delta Force commandos prepared for a possible mission to rescue US prisoners of war held in Southeast Asia just as they do under Colonel Trautman. However their efforts were stymied by Colonel Bo Gritz, like John Rambo a much decorated former Green Beret and Vietnam War veteran, who launched his own abortive attempts to stage a private rescue raid. A subsequent government inquiry headed by Senators/Vietnam veterans Bob Smith, John Kerry and John McCain (himself a former POW who was held and tortured for 5 years) concluded there were no prisoners left behind and vilified individuals perpetuating the idea as attempting to defraud desperate families. (Lol … so basically explicitly shitting on the entire idea of this film)

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing (Fred J. Brown, 1986)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Buzz Feitshans, 1986)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1986)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone, James Cameron, Kevin Jarre, 1986)

Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Original Song (Frank Stallone, Peter Schless, Jerry Goldsmith, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress (Julia Nickson, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (George P. Cosmatos, 1986)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (Julia Nickson, 1986)

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