Rambo: First Blood Part II Recap

Jamie

Rambo is back, Jack! And he’s ready to get out of jail and rescue some POWs like the goddamn hero that he is. But when he’s abandoned behind enemy lines he starts to suspect that there’s something fishy going on with the top military brass. Can he rescue the prisoners and stop the evvvviiiilll general before it’s too late? Find out in… Rambo: First Blood Part II.

How?! Rambo is crushing rocks in a prison camp and Gen. Trautman knows that that’s a crying shame. Those glistening muscles should be crushing bad guys in the name of America. So he makes a deal, Rambo helps them find out if there are any remaining POWs in Vietnam and he gets a full pardon. Sounds good to Rambo, except when he gets to Thailand he’s getting a bad feeling about the gman in charge, Murdock. Almost from the jump things go awry when he loses his equipment while parachuting behind enemy lines. But this is Rambo and his muscles and big ol’ brain keep him moving to his target. Meeting up with his contact, Co (a beautiful woman no less) he is taken up river and almost immediately is like “Woah, there are totally POWs here.” He won’t stand for it and rescues one of them as proof for the government. But when he gets to the pickup location Murdock is like “shit, we didn’t even want to find the POWs” and leaves Rambo to be taken prisoner by the Vietnamese and Soviets. Trautman is furious and Rambo is definitely going to get tortured to death… psych! He’s Rambo! And with the help of Co he totally blows up everything and everyone and rescues the POWs. They get in a helicopter and blow up a bunch of other stuff before heading back to the US camp in Thailand where he convinces Murdock to save the POWs. Rambo then goes off into Thailand to live his days in peace… or does he? (bum bum bum). THE END. Big Question: Has Rambo had sex? We basically see him in jail or running around Vietnam up to the point of his one and only kiss with Co. From that moment he spends his life mourning the loss of her and living his life like a monk… so… I think the answer might be no. Rambo has never had sex despite what his rocking bod might suggest.

Why?! You get the sense that Rambo is totally disillusioned and really only takes the job because it’s his only way out of jail. But once he realizes that there really are some POWs to rescue he’s all in on winning. The general really just wants to be able to go back to the government and say that they don’t need to do anything more in Vietnam, but when he realizes that Rambo is the best ever and won’t let him do that he tries to sabotage him… to no avail… because it’s Rambo and he’s done gonna root out that corruption.

Who?! Wow, this is the second film in a short while (along with Black Dog) that had a major onset accident. While Black Dog got away with only some serious injuries, in this case Cliff Wenger Jr. was killed in an onsite explosion during filming in Mexico. The film ended up being dedicated to him. It’s always so sad to hear about these things.

What?! It is fun when product placement actually plays a role in the film. Here the bad guy general is always sapping on a delicious Coca-Cola. Why? Because he’s supposed to represent the misguided, consumerism-driven America that has forgotten what winning is all about. Does Rambo want a Coke? No thanks, bro. Winning is all the refreshment he needs.

Where?! I’m not sure where Rambo is in jail at the beginning of the film. Maybe Washington where his original crime was committed. But the rest of the film is split between Thailand and Vietnam. I think this is an A. Can’t be set anywhere else given the context.

When?! Uh… after the Vietnam War, duh. But really I didn’t get much beyond that. Looking at the timeline of all the films I do believe they take place in the years that they are released. Like the first film is seven years after Rambo is discharged, which makes sense with the end of the war in 1975 (film released in 1982) and this takes place three years later (1985). But that’s all I got. D.

The first time I watched this, I did not like it at all. My mistake? Watching it right after watching the first one, which is so far a superior film that it kinda spoiled the fun. This time I still thought the beginning was trash and the directing wasn’t very good, but the latter half of the film is actually a great action film. It even holds up by today’s standards in that it’s just Rambo running around the jungle setting traps and owning the bad guy. Lots of fun.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! We made a horrible mistake and had to watch four Rambo films in a week. Luckily two of them are bonkers 80s films. This is one of those. Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I really really liked First Blood. I think it is a really interesting and smart action film. It handles an idea of a Vietnam veteran getting triggered and during a PTSD flashback he is basically assaulted by a police force, and this idea is very cool … they then obviously threw that in a bin and made it all about how Rambo just love America so much it makes him … a maniac? It seems that way. I was excited to be proven wrong. What were my expectations? For this to be an amazing bad movie I needed the most American Rambo ever. I need him to look me in the face and tell me explicitly: if you hate Rambo, you hate America, period. That’s what I need.

The Good – The middle bit of this film is an incredible action film. Rambo sneaking through the jungle, saving some POWs, flying a helicopter and blowing things up … it’s basically what you think of when you think Rambo. Right up until the end I liked Rambo as a character, it is a very interesting look at Vietnam vets / PTSD when linked with the first film. Stallone gets sillier as the movie goes on, but he’s solid in the first half of the film. Basically, the film is an amazing action film … right up until the ending. I will also say, despite being a cartoon character, the bad guy is pretty amusing in all of his PB&J eating and Coke slurping glory, a transparent caricature.

The Bad – The ending. Stallone claims that he got annoyed with James Cameron (who co-wrote the film) because Cameron was making the script too political. He went on to say that his script wasn’t political, all of Rambo’s dialogue was actual things Vietnam vets said … that doesn’t make it non-political!! The entire film is basically “Why doesn’t America love his war machine killer? Look at all of the amazing murder he has done and can do for America! All he wants is for America to love him as much as he loves America!” It is pretty gross. Now, I will gladly ignore this in the future when watching the film, but it is the one big knock against it in my opinion. It makes it tough to show to, say, a teenager without prefacing it with “by the way, Rambo simplifies a bunch of issues in favor of pretty explicit propaganda … but just ignore that, the action is fun”.

The BMT – I think this is too good of an action film to be a bad movie. Maybe 80% of this film is a really great action film. The other 20% of the film is the ending where Stallone kicks in the door of the mustache-twirlingly evil military bureaucrat and declared that all he wants in the world is for America to love him as much as he loves America … and that is gross. Did it meet my expectations? Nope. Which might seem weird considering I just said Rambo has a giant crazy AMERICA speech at the end, but it was too little too late. This is just a half-decent weirdly patriotic (jingoistic really) action film from the 80s. No more, no less. It just isn’t bad enough.

Roast-radamus – I guess Setting as a Character (Where?) is in play, but it is a bit unclear where they are once they fly out of Thailand (I would guess Vietnam makes the most sense). I think of all of the classic Coke product placements, this is one of the best Product Placement (What?) I’ve seen, since it informed the patriotic facade the evil military bureaucrat was wearing during the film. The twist in the film is actually good, so nothing there. But I would say this is plausible for a shout out at Good because this is a pretty good 80s action film.

StreetCreditReport.com – Not surprisingly this film isn’t on any lists. And not surprisingly I can’t really say this should be on any bad movie lists, since I thought it was a genuinely good film. The credit from this film just comes from the later Rambo films. Specifically it comes from the fact that Rambo (2008) was a complete catastrophe. Sometimes some BMT films are just BMT films because they are homework for other BMT films. Get it?

You Just Got Schooled – This will be quick … you see I watched four films this week and there is no way I could actually inform myself about anything outside of Rambo films. But shout out to UHF starring Weird Al Yankovich which includes a number of Rambo parodies. The main one involves him saving the POW Michael Richards, complete with exploding arrowheads. It is great. And I might as well pop this in all of the recaps: Jamie’s podcast Mac East 2nd Floor Studios Presents Submersion did an episode on the animated Rambo series Rambo: The Force of Freedom (Episode 79). And the episode features me as well. We talk about muscles, patriotism, and America.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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