Rambo: First Blood Part II Quiz

Hmmm the last thing I remember I was being sent into Vietnam on some mission because I’m the best and super muscular. But I did get electrocuted a bunch and receive multiple blows to the head by some eeeevil Russians. Do you remember what happened to me in Rambo: First Blood Part II?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) In First Blood John Rambo was just a disenchanted soldier with some PTSD who ended up messing up a little town in Washington. How many years does he have left in his prison sentence at the beginning of the sequel?

2) Turns out Rambo can get one of those sweet Presidential Pardons, if he goes on one tiny mission (he’ll barely even realize he’s gone). What is this mission?

3) Why doesn’t the eeeeeeevil Murdoch want Rambo to succeed / bring back a rescued POW?

4) What do the Russians want Rambo to tell his American handlers (i.e. Murdoch) while they are electrocuting him and other eeeeevil junk?

5) How does Rambo defeat the last eeeevil Russian General?

Answers

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Rambo: Last Blood 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: Last Blood (2019) – BMeTric: 2.8 

(I don’t tend to post the graphs for films that literally came out. There won’t really be a fair assessment of this film for years to drown out the massive influx of Stallone-heads which are currently giving it 7/10 on IMDb. I would imagine it’ll settle in the mid-6 range though.)

RogerEbert.com – 1 star –  Pretty much a rip-off through and through (it clocks in at just under 90 minutes, at least 10 of those dedicated to an end credits sequence featuring highlights from all the previous films, including the one that just concluded), “Rambo: Last Blood” is junk from start to finish.

(Oooof. The guy is quite down on it. I didn’t want to spoil my experience, but basically hoped Rambo would get an appropriate send off in the sequel to 2008’s Rambo … and now he kind of hopes Stallone does another one to give it another shot.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPuhNtG47M0/

(Actually a really good trailer. Gives you just enough to tell that’ll you’ll get all the gore you want in a Home-Alone-esque final sequence, and suggests a bit you’ll get closure for the character. All of that makes sense.)

Directors – Adrian Grunberg – (Known For: How I Spent My Summer Vacation; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Mostly a second unit director for things like Apocalypto and Jack Reacher 2 … I’m starting to see a trend with these Rambo films where it is almost like Stallone himself might be directed them alongside the second unit directors he hires …)

Writers – Matthew Cirulnick (screenplay by) – (Known For: Paid in Full; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Wrote a few television shows prior to this. Now has two more in production including Run Away with Me which seems to have Amber Heard attached.)

Sylvester Stallone (screenplay by & story 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: Has five children. We saw Sage in Daylight. Sistine is a model / actress.)

Dan Gordon (story by) – (Known For: Wyatt Earp; The Hurricane; Murder in the First; The Assignment; Future BMT: Surf Ninjas; Passenger 57; The Celestine Prophecy; Let There Be Light; Gotcha!; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Served as a captain in the Isreali Defence Force during their war with Lebanon.)

David Morrell (based on the character created by) – (Known For: First Blood; BMT: Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: While Rambo is by far his most famous series, he has a few others including the Abelard Sanction series.)

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; Demolition Man; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Was married to Brigitte Nielsen for two years.)

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; 

Paz Vega – (Known For: Sex and Lucía; Kill the Messenger; Spanglish; Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted; Talk to Her; Acts of Vengeance; Los amantes pasajeros; Novo; 10 Items or Less; La vida inmoral de la pareja ideal; El otro lado de la cama; Angels of Evil; Sobreviviré; Future BMT: The Spirit; All Roads Lead to Rome; Grace of Monaco; Not Forgotten; Cat Run; Burning Palms; Fade to Black; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Born in Spain, her father was a bullfighter and her sister is a Flamenco dancer)

Yvette Monreal – (Known For: Lowriders; BMT: Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Is going to feature in the upcoming DC television series Stargirl.)

Budget/Gross – < $50 million / N/A

(I think the expectation is for this to make $100 million. That is about what the fourth made and it was declared a success. I don’t really get that, the math doesn’t really make much sense to me, but perhaps it is because they go for a cheaper limited showtime run because of the gore or something? It is unclear. It might make it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 31% (25/81): Like the sequels that preceded it, Rambo: Last Blood is content to indulge in bloody violence at the expense of its main character’s once-poignant story.

(Somehow this ended up being one of the worst reviewed of the entire series, which is pretty surprising considering how much people slam Rambo III online. Reviewer Highlight: “Rambo: Last Blood” features what’s easily the most violent movie scene of the year. It’s awesome. – Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post)

Poster – Poe: Last Sklog (B-)

rambo_v_ver3

(I like a little more color on my posters, but this does have a pop and the font is just barely unique. Got some artistic flair. Amazing that all the way through the series we get Stallone centric posters every time. Even when he’s like a million years old and is starting to look like a monster.)

Tagline(s) – N/A (F)

(I don’t see these taglines on the poster… which is generally how I judge which one to grade. So I’m gonna give this an F and leave it. I’m sure some taglines were used in trailers and stuff but who has the time?)

Keyword(s) – fifth part; Top Ten by BMeTric: 91.2 Scary Movie 5 (2013); 71.2 Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach (1988); 69.1 Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013); 68.2 Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015); 67.9 Seed of Chucky (2004); 61.6 Transformers: The Last Knight (2017); 59.9 A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989); 58.9 A Good Day to Die Hard (2013); 58.1 Rocky V (1990); 55.6 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989);

(I mean … yeah, I’m going to watch all of these films for BMT at some point. Makes me think we need to do more series. These all seem like they would be super fun.)

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: Last Blood 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 – On December 6, 2018, Stallone stated that this would be the last “Rambo” film, saying that his character would “finally find what he assumes to be peace.” However, at Cannes 2019, Stallone stated that he would continue to play the character of John Rambo, should “Rambo: Last Blood” prove to be successful. (Noooooooo)

Stallone stated on his personal Instagram account : “Great day! We got our HARD R rating today! What’s coming is going to be unlike anything you have ever seen…” (Gross)

The plot to this movie was intended for Rambo (2008) but changed. It was also partially used for Homefront (2013) with Jason Statham. (Which, yeah, Stallone wrote)

The first Rambo movie that Sylvester Stallone doesn’t have long hair as in the previous films. (Good choice, although I kind of secretly wish in the fourth he had a glorious flowing mullet and everyone could be like “wow, old school” and he could be like “are these out of fashion or something? I’ve been living in Thailand for like two decades wrangling snakes by myself.”)

At 89 minutes, this is the shortest film in the ‘Rambo’ series. (Glory glory)

Rambo (2008) 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 (2008) – BMeTric: 9.3 

RamboIMDb_BMeT

RamboIMDb_RV

(It is kind of stunning to see the rating so high here. I’m going to be honest, I’ve heard nothing but bad things about this film. That it is gore for the sake of gore and just not in the spirit of the Rambos that preceded it. I guess I’ll see.)

Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars –  Stallone is a bit long in the tooth to be reprising his Rambo character, but here he is in the series’ fourth installment (and first in two decades). This time around, everybody’s favorite whacked-out Vietnam veteran-action hero emerges from a peaceful retirement in Thailand to rescue come captured missionaries and doctors in Myanmar (Burma). Needlessly bloody and unintentionally laughable. Stallone also co-scripted.

(This is literally the only thing I’ve ever heard about this film, that it is needlessly bloody. So much so that it makes you feel gross … I don’t like feeling gross so I’m not looking forward to this.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CRjdwRYQbU/

(Them not showing Julie Benz basically at all in this trailer is insane. She’s basically the entire motivation for the film. Looks dumb though, like … this trailer is the same regardless of whether this was even released to theaters. Looks like a straight-to-video Van Damme film sequel basically.)

Directors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: The Expendables; Rocky Balboa; Rocky III; Rocky II; Paradise Alley; Future BMT: Staying Alive; Rocky IV; BMT: Rambo; Notes: Stallone has all but confirmed Expendables 4 in recent interviews, although it seems doubtful Schwarzeneggar will return.)

Writers – Art Monterastelli (written by) – (Future BMT: The Hunted; BMT: Rambo; Notes: He was a television writer for decades, and then reeled off three features right at the end of his career. This is his last writing credit.)

Sylvester Stallone (written 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: Apparently is a strong supporter of gun control despite being a well known conservative)

David Morrell (character) – (Known For: First Blood; BMT: Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Born in Canada he became an American citizen in 1993)

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; Demolition Man; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: Apparently he broke his neck while filming The Expendables, and was in intensive care for four days after asking Dolph Lendgren to punch him as hard as he could in the chest.)

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;

Julie Benz – (Known For: As Good as It Gets; Circle; Due occhi diabolici; The Brothers; Future BMT: Jawbreaker; Saw V; Havenhurst; Life on the Line; Supremacy; The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day; Black Sheep; Inventing the Abbotts; Answers to Nothing; BMT: Punisher: War Zone; Rambo; Notes: You would know her as Rita from Dexter. She competed in the 1988 US Ice Dancing Championship, placing third. Her older brother and sister represented the US internationally in the sport.)

Matthew Marsden – (Known For: Black Hawk Down; Bounty Killer; Shiner; Future BMT: DOA: Dead or Alive; Tamara; Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; Resident Evil: Extinction; The Young Americans; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Atlas Shrugged: Part I; Rambo; Notes: An avid superbike racer having been taught by Ron Haslam, and has a black belt in Taekwondo.)

Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $42,754,105 (Worldwide: $113,244,290)

(This is apparently considered a big enough success to suggest at the time that a fifth film would be made. I don’t really see how that could be, it seems by any account this would be a net-zero film roughly. But there maybe is some strange accounting for a hard-R film starring Stallone which means the production gets more money from foreign ticket sales.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (56/149): Sylvester Stallone knows how to stage action sequences, but the movie’s uneven pacing and excessive violence (even for the franchise) is more nauseating than entertaining.

(Much more borderline that I remembered it. I do remember that this was just considered gross when it came out which made me immediately have no interest in it. Reviewer Highlight: Well-shot and well-edited violence porn. – Mike Thomas, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Poe (2008) (B+)

rambo_ver3

(I like the green tone and finally they have a unique font. Not loving the close up on the face. Makes the poster a little jarring, but probably the best of the bunch.)

Tagline(s) – Live for nothing, or die for something. (C)

(This would grade higher if it wasn’t so cliched. This happens sometimes where you get a tagline that sounds super great, but then you realize that it could apply to 50% of all movies ever. So hard to grade.)

Keyword(s) – surname as title; Top Ten by BMeTric: 91.2 Gigli (2003); 60.7 Seed (2006); 47.9 Winchester (2018); 47.5 MacGruber (2010); 44.4 Blueberry (2004); 38.3 Stratton (2017); 36.5 Jobs (2013); 36.0 Shaft (2000); 34.2 Sgt. Bilko (1996); 33.1 Dahmer (2002);

(I kind of love this list. We’ll be watching Shaft this year I think. And Sgt. Bilko will be fun to revisit some time. But what’s this? … MacGruber is one of the best films ever made so I don’t really get that.)

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 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 – Rambo was banned in Myanmar (formally Burma), and bootlegs are a hot item. Burmese Freedom Fighters have even adopted dialogue from the movie as battle cries, most notably “Live for nothing, or die for something.” Sylvester Stallone said “That, to me, is one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had in film.” (Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh)

Sylvester Stallone specifically wanted the film to be set in the midst of the most brutal ongoing global conflict that was basically ignored by the public and media. After ruling out established (and well-known) conflicts in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa, Stallone talked to international experts who told him about the Burmese junta’s mass murder of the Karen people. He then set the movie’s storyline in the middle of this genocide. (No comment)

Rambo’s knife in this film is a primitively built golok made out of a slab of metal as opposed to his expertly crafted survival knives in the other films. Sylvester Stallone actually stayed up all night filming the scene of him forging the knife like you see in the film, although due to time constrictions, he had to do it all at once without cooling the blade. They went through about seven pairs of heat protective gloves due to this. Sly claims after making the knife, he had a rather warm handshake.

Maung Maung Khin, who played the Burmese dictator Tint, fought for the Karen Rebels in real life. He was afraid his family would be murdered if he took this role, but he took it anyway.

Originally, Rambo was supposed to hold the M2 .50-cal. machine gun in his hands and fire it, but when fully assembled the weapon weighed 120 pounds. Sylvester Stallone was still capable of holding and firing it, but it was too cumbersome for quick movements, so it was mounted on the back of a Jeep instead. (It would also be absurd that he could hold onto it while it is shooting actual bullets)

When asked what his take on the film was, First Blood writer David Morrell said:”I’m happy to report that overall I’m pleased. The level of violence might not be for everyone, but it has a serious intent. This is the first time that the tone of my novel First Blood has been used in any of the movies. It’s spot-on in terms of how I imagined the character – angry, burned-out, and filled with self-disgust because Rambo hates what he is and yet knows it’s the only thing he does well. … I think some elements could have been done better, [but] I think this film deserves a solid three stars”. (Wait … wait … he agrees with the direction Stallone took the character? This is giving me a ton to think about)

The first Rambo film where Rambo works with a team, rather than going solo. (Rambo: The Expendables)

Sylvester Stallone described the Burmese River as “the most difficult terrain I’ve ever had to navigate, including Cliffhanger (1993).”

On the first day of shooting, Sylvester Stallone tore part of his quadriceps running through the jungle. (He looks so slow running through the forest, I swear to god they sped up some of the footage)

This was the first non-“Rocky” film that Sylvester Stallone directed since Staying Alive (1983). (Huh that is interesting)

Rambo III 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 III (1988) – BMeTric: 40.3 

RamboIIIIMDb_BMeT

RamboIIIIMDb_RV

(Wowza. I actually think this is going to go the same way as Rambo II! This is going to eventually be considered (ironically) good by general audiences, but somehow critics think it is worse than ever. Go figure.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  A definite improvement over part II, this one remains firmly footed in the genre of Idiot Action Movies, as our brawny hero goes behind Russian-dominated battle lines in Afghanistan to rescue his friend and former superior (Crenna) from a prison fortress. Lots of explosions to keep things lively – and some (unintentionally?) hilarious dialogue too. Followed 20 years later by Rambo.

(Kind of amazing that he thinks the third is the best. That actually is the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, but online I’ve seen the opposite, that most fans of Rambo seem to think the third is the only truly terrible one of the bunch.)

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

(WHO IS THIS JOHN RAMBO? Him exploding the helicopter (and them putting that in the trailer) is some of the craziest shit I’ve ever scene. This looks so dumb.)

Directors – Peter MacDonald – (Future BMT: Legionnaire; Mo’ Money; BMT: Rambo III; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Rambo III in 1989; Notes: Appears to be a wildly successful second unit director, including for Guardians of the Galaxy and three Harry Potter films.)

Writers – David Morrell (characters) – (Known For: First Blood; BMT: Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Rambo: Last Blood; Notes: He wrote a single episode of one television series. He wrote Habitat in the series Monsters, a horror anthology show.)

Sylvester Stallone (written by) – (Known For: First Blood; Creed II; Rocky; The Expendables; Creed; The Expendables 2; Rocky Balboa; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Homefront; 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: Is producing an Action/Drama television show with Dolph Lendgren called The International. It has a pilot order at CBS.)

Sheldon Lettich (written by) – (Future BMT: Legionnaire; Double Impact; A.W.O.L.: Absent Without Leave; Russkies; Max; Bloodsport; BMT: Rambo III; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Rambo III in 1989; Notes: Became a very successful director through Jean-Claude Van Damme. He apparently discovered Mark Dacascos.)

Actors – Sylvester Stallone – (Known For: First Blood; Creed II; Rocky; Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2; The Expendables; Creed; The Expendables 2; Rocky Balboa; Escape Plan; Rocky III; Cliffhanger; Escape to Victory; Rocky II; Cop Land; Bullet to the Head; Spy Kids 3: Game Over; Death Race 2000; Antz; The Lords of Flatbush; Future BMT: Escape Plan II; Staying Alive; Rocky V; Escape Plan 3; D-Tox; The Specialist; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; Avenging Angelo; Backtrace; Ratchet & Clank; Collection; Assassins; Oscar; Rocky IV; Rambo: Last Blood; BMT: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot; Driven; Zookeeper; Rhinestone; Get Carter; Judge Dredd; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Rambo III; Rambo; Cobra; Over the Top; Daylight; The Expendables 3; Tango & Cash; Grudge Match; Lock Up; Demolition Man; Notes: Was part owner of Planet Hollywood back in the day. Unlike the Hard Rock Cafe it eventually went out of business.)

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; Hot Shots! Part Deux; Body Heat; Sabrina; Wait Until Dark; The Sand Pebbles; The Flamingo Kid; Marooned; Un flic; Breakheart Pass; Table for Five; Future BMT: Death Ship; Leviathan; Wrongfully Accused; Rambo: First Blood Part II; Summer Rental; A Pyromaniac’s Love Story; Jonathan Livingston Seagull; BMT: Jade; Rambo III; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Rambo III in 1989; Notes: Won an Emmy for his starring role in the television movie The Rape of Richard Beck.)

Marc de Jonge – (Known For: Empire of the Sun; Future BMT: Un indien dans la ville; BMT: Rambo III; Notes: Died in a crazy accident in which, after forgetting the keys to his apartment, he attempted to scale the building and fell to his death.)

Budget/Gross – $58–63 million / Domestic: $53,715,611 (Worldwide: $189,015,611)

(Again, a smash hit worldwide. I would actually say this is kind of the start to Rambo being much more of an international sensation than a domestic hit. The budgets tend to be recouped via strong international numbers.)

#25 for the Travelogue – Middle East genre

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(Not surprisingly the Middle East wasn’t much of a Hollywood setting prior to 2001, the late 80s was kind of a small initially bump. It is now a pretty consistent staple for, presumably, action films.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (13/34): Rambo III finds its justice-dispensing hero far from the thoughtful drama that marked the franchise’s beginning — and just as far from quality action thriller entertainment.

(Online the general consensus seems to be that Rambo III is the worst of the sequels. Ironically that is the only one that didn’t qualify for BMT up until recently, so at the time I would imagine critics generally disagreed. Reviewer Highlight: Mr. Stallone has by now made Rambo parody-proof, since the character is every bit as laughable as he is grandiose; that’s part of the fun. – Janet Maslin, New York Times)

Poster – Poe III (C-)

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(Oh boy… that’s really the poster? That might be the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. This is what happens when the poster is just the star and nothing else. Probably had whoever making it like “what else should I put on the poster?” and everyone was like who cares… just Stallone and so they threw a bunch of garbage on it.)

Tagline(s) – The first was for himself. The second for his country. This time it’s to save his friend. (A+)

(Pretty much perfect. Hard to be more concise than this for a three part tagline like this so I’ll let that slide. Just really nice.)

Keyword(s) – navajo indian; Top Ten by BMeTric: 60.6 Skinwalkers (2006); 40.3 Rambo III (1988); 29.4 Windtalkers (2002); 23.0 Room 237 (I) (2012); 19.9 The Trial of Billy Jack (1974); 19.1 Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985); 17.0 Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory (1990); 16.3 Nightwing (1979); 16.3 Stay Away, Joe (1968); 14.2 Billy Jack (1971);

(Multiple Billy Jack films? These are *checks notes* apparently a series of films starring Tom Laughlin from the 70s? How quaint.)

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 III 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 – Sylvester Stallone asked for a Gulfstream jet (cost: twelve million dollars) as part of his pay for the film. He got one.

With its 63 million dollar budget, this was the most expensive film ever made at the time of its release. (Wow)

The last Rambo film to star Richard Crenna as Colonel Sam Trautman. He passed away on January 17, 2003, before a fourth film could be made. The fourth film, Rambo (2008), was dedicated to his memory. (Wouldn’t have made sense for him to be in it anyways)

Director Peter MacDonald stated in the DVD commentary that for the scenes involving Rambo and Colonel Trautman inside the Monks’ Temple, the temple itself was a real temple in Thailand undergoing renovation at the time of filming. Also, many of the Monk extras were in fact real Monks from that very temple who were paid to appear as extras for those scenes (along with additional extras who were merely dressed as Monks for the scene).

Original director Russell Mulcahy was replaced after two weeks of filming by Peter MacDonald due to creative differences. Three cinematographers also left. (This sounds like Stallone actually directed this film …)

Working title was Full Circle: First Blood Part III (Oof)

Five years later, Richard Crenna parodied his role in the spoof Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993). Just like Colonel Trautman, his character personally sought out the main protagonist (played by Charlie Sheen) in a location somewhere in Southeast Asia to ask for help, and was also captured by the enemies forces, this time the Iraqis. (Cool)

One scene has Rambo playing a game on horseback. In reality, Sylvester Stallone has been riding horses since childhood and even competed in his first polo match at age eleven. (But … why can Rambo ride horses as well as these guys? Riddle me that. I guess he just like rode a lot in Arizona, but he’s been living in Thailand for years at this point)

Extra dialogue was filmed but cut from the scene where Griggs informs Rambo of Trautman’s capture and then tells Rambo that he is really sorry. In the deleted footage, Griggs firmly tells Rambo about the impossibilities of sending a rescue force in after Rambo asks why he won’t do anything about it. Some of this deleted dialogue however can be seen in the trailer. (I think this is back in the remastered edition)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone, 1989)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Buzz Feitshans, 1989)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (Richard Crenna, 1989)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Peter MacDonald, 1989)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Sylvester Stallone, Sheldon Lettich, 1989)

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.)

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(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)

Gangster Squad Recap

Jamie

Mickey Cohen is a menace to LA and police officer John O’Mara ain’t letting it fly. No way, no how. He’s tasked with assembling a squad of police officers to clandestinely take apart the evil gangster’s criminal empire. Can they stop Mickey before it’s too late? Find out in… Gangster Squad.

How?! John O’Mara don’t take guff from nobody, especially those that aim to dirty his beloved LA like gangster Mickey Cohen. Unfortunately he also doesn’t take guff from nobody so O’Mara is tasked with creating a misfit squad of gangster hunters (what to call them, though?) whose smarts and toughness will combine to take even less guff than Cohen (if you can believe it). Will they go out and murder Cohen right away? No! That would be too boring. Instead they aim to dismantle his empire while keeping him alive and figure out what his dastardly plot is to take over the West Coast (hint: it doesn’t matter). The squad goes about punching and shooting people to great effect, while also totally getting with Cohen’s main squeeze. Cohen is obviously none too pleased with this and he proceeds to punch and shoot a bunch of people until he figures out who the gangster squad is. After that it’s all out war and they punch and shoot some more until one of the squad is dead and their families threatened. All seems lost, except remember… no guff. O’Mara scrapes together a warrant for Cohen’s arrest and there is a big showdown at the Plaza. Shooting. Punching. Punching. Shooting. O’Mara takes Cohen down and cleans up the streetz. THE END. So the big question: was Mickey Cohen’s downfall because he took too many guffs or maybe, just maybe, he didn’t take enough (yah dig?).

Why?! I mean, Mickey Cohen is a psycho. No need for more explanation on that front. As for our boy John and his gangster squad, well they just want to do good in a world where people too often let money dictate their morals. Other cops are being bought, but they didn’t fight in WWII to let their home descend into crime. No! Not the Gangster Squad™.

Who?! Anyone who’s anyone knows that Ryan Gosling was part of the Mickey Mouse Club and so he’s got those dancing and singing chops for days. Lesser known is that he’s an actor-turned-musician (my favorite) and released an album as part of the rock duo Dead Man’s Bones in 2009. According to wikipedia he performed under the alias Baby Goose… OK.

What?! As I looked at the beautiful chiseled features of Josh Brolin I of course wondered to myself, “Is there a way that I could look like that granite rock of a man?” and the answer is yes. I can wear the very gun holster that he wears. Now if only I can figure out how to sound just like Nick Nolte (hint: it involves smoking cigarettes and gargling whiskey for 5000 years).

Where?! This feels like it’s the most LA movie ever. They are talking all kinds of Hollywood stuff all day. We see the Hollywoodland sign, they are talking about the movie biz, and references to Brentwood are dropped in as if the audience would be like “Jeez, Brentwood, amiright?” and nudge each other whenever it’s mentioned. A.

When?! Secret Holiday Film Alert! In the beginning you’re like “wait… is this set around Christmas?” And then the film slowly becomes more and more christmasy until we have Sean Penn screaming “Here comes Santy Claus!” as he shoots up a christmas tree in slow motion. It’s actually pretty hilarious. B+.

Overly stylized, very dark, choppy at times, and steered heavily into cliche. But I also didn’t think it was all that bad (if that makes sense). I let it wash over me like a sultry LA night and had a fine time watching it. I think the acting was pretty great (other than Penn who legend says is still chewing the scenery) and the story interesting. So all in all: not the worst. As for Future Kick, I actually really liked it. Super weird and fun production involving robots and a colony on the moon and virtual reality and organ harvesting. And there’s really nothing more beautiful than an ending that asks the question, “maybe everything you just watched was meaningless.” I’d gladly watch any film that implies that the whole thing was a dream. My one big critique: we needed more martial arts. Somehow T.N.T. had way more impressive martial arts than this one did. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Jamie and I threw away our official LAPD Cobra Division badges in prep for this film. We’re off the books! Time to murder a bunch of people! Let’s go!

P’s View on the Preview – I remember when this come out this was a very exciting film for some corners of the internet. It checks off a bunch of boxes: a group of guys smashing up some gangsters, the late-40s/early-50s west coast period piece, and a crazy cast. And then it just fizzled out to rather lackluster reviews. I guess we’ll see if it ages well? What are my expectations – I want Sean Penn to basically be Nic-Caging all over the place. I want him to actually eat some scenery during a scene, like literally break off pieces of the set and eat it.

The Good – I like the period setting. The story is interesting. Emma Stone is excellent as always, and I really like the group of actors they got for the Squad. I really couldn’t ask for much more from what the film promised: a bunch of cops are going to bust up some gangsters, the end. There isn’t really much more to expound on here, but be assured that I actually liked this film quite a bit.

The Bad – I can definitely see why Sean Penn’s performance sunk the film for critics, he is so over the top it is very very distracting. I also think the story ends up pulling a punch or two and just retreating to the safety of what is ultimately a very predictable series of events. The biggest crime is killing off Ribisi which is by far the most obvious choice of how to “shake up” the Squad during the film. The outside shot is to kill off Brolin, and then making Gosling dry himself off to lead the Squad to victory. Apologies if somehow all of these events are part of the “true story” that it is all adapted from … I doubt it. Finally, the film is just kind of directed / structured sloppily with the least interesting bits, somehow, being the bits involving the Gangster Squad.

The BMT – It is certainly a weird BMT. Long ago we were rather insistent that we were going to do Amelia starring Hilary Swank … and then we just didn’t. Straight dramas don’t tend to fit into our traditional cycle genres. So it is nice to do a straight drama that is considered bad. Did it meet my expectations? Not really. I didn’t think Sean Penn was that bad, even though I can see why people hated it at the time. And that is really what it needed. Once you think that is fine … the movie isn’t that bad, so no, I don’t think I’ll be sending this over to people as a bad movie recommendation.

Roast-radamus – I think we have a very strong Setting as a Character (Where?) for Los Angeles (we can’t let Mickey Cohen take our city!!!) and Secret Holiday Film (When?) where the entire end of the film takes place during Christmas complete exploding Christmas display in slow motion. Other than that I could maybe see a nod for Good from me specifically, but I guess we’ll see.

StreetCreditReport.com – Finally! We finally are back in the zone where people actually have lists. And indeed this film is on the AV Club list (number 8) and on the IndieWire list (number 14). And I think it would end up on a worst of gangster film, and worst of films set in the 40s lists if you really pressed it. Pretty good cred, critics really hated this film!

You Just Got Schooled – Lightning quick one as a semi-endorsement of The Flophouse Podcast which did this film all the way back in 2014. They’ve come a long way since then in how the podcast is structured (this was back when they all lived in New York still and Elliott was Dan’s boss at the Daily Show), but overall I thought it was a funny listen. Just the right level of Elliott Kalan random asides to make what isn’t a very interesting bad movie interesting. And ultimately I agree with his assessment: if I saw the film on television I would probably be fine with watching it, and it is actually maybe closer to a good good movie than a bad bad movie (but definitely not a good bad movie).

Bring a Friend Analysis – And as with any Sean Penn film you just have to watch a Chris Penn feature alongside it. This time? It’s the very promisingly named Future Kick, which I know for a fact I’ve seen as a vhs tape on the Red Letter Media studio’s shelves. I think the film throws a lot at you to consume in the first 25 minutes of the film, with a dystopian world with a Elysium-like moon base, and escaped automaton bounty hunters, the last of which is played by Don “The Dragon” Wilson. For a bit there I was kind of barely holding onto the story (which seems to be a trend with 90s straight-to-VHS features, just incomprehensible). But by the end it saves itself with strong and entertaining performances by Wilson and Meg Foster. The end is also very amusing as it (spoilers) goes for the classic “this entire film was a dream” ending. I’m going to give it a B+. I wish it was a bit clearer in premise and martial arts action early, but the back half is, I think, a rather fun balls-to-the-wall ridiculous straight-to-video feature.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Gangster Squad Quiz

It’s time to kill some gangsters, seeeeeee. But the thing is? I kind of got ‘sploded by a stick of dynamite while chasing these gangsters, got a concussion, and can’t remember a thing. Can you remember what happened in Gangster Squad?

Pop Quiz Hot Shot!

1) Let’s start with a straightforward one: describe the Gangster Squad, who is in it?

2) What is the Gangster Squad’s plan to take down Cohen? Like … they aren’t going to go up and shoot him in the face right?

3) What event makes Gosling become a full-throated member of the Gangster Squad.

4) What is Emma Stone’s presumed job with Mickey Cohen? In reality she is naturally just his girlfriend. Why does Emma Stone eventually run away and then turn on Cohen?

5) How does the Gangster Squad get the arrest warrant for Mickey Cohen?

Answers