Mercury Rising Preview

Patrick and the Rambos climb through the air vents of The Square. The Rambos bodies are well-greased and gleaming as they slip and slide their way around. “Here,” the eldest grunts pointing through an opening and Patrick gasps as he sees Jamie being carried by Vampiro and some scantily clad ladies. Patrick puts on his glasses to take a closer look and confirms that they are some bodacious babes. Patrick looks to the Rambos for help but they’re already moving. They drop into an area filled with glass cages. The Rambos start knocking on a few of the cages. “My god,” Patrick whispers, “The Baldwins.” Stephen, William, and Daniel Baldwin peer out from deep in their cages but they don’t recognize those names. They are Brian McCafferty, J. J. Hendricks, and Weed. Patrick is truly through the looking glass on this one. “Where?” grunts the youngest Rambo and the Baldwins look on with fear. Weed’s teeth chatter as he points to the ground, “Here.” Suddenly the door opens.

Buford Vampiro and his Beach Bunnies lead the way with Jamie in tow. Things were already looking dire, but they get even worse when Sticks and Stones join them with… Alec Baldwin? But he introduces himself as Kudrow. Jamie shakes his head. They all seem agitated about Patrick, but Sticks and Stones insist that he’s somewhere here and they could use Jamie as a trap. Not likely, Jamie thinks as he flexes his biceps. They enter a room full of glass cells and Jamie is left alone. He sees even more Baldwins around… he must be in some kind of Baldwin jail. Jamie smiles. Do you know what’s better than waiting for Patrick to save him from jail… waiting for Patrick to save him from jail with a whole mess of Baldwins. That’s right! We are going into a Baldwin extravaganza for the Bring A Friend entry in the Bring A Friend cycle. We are partaking in the classic thriller Mercury Rising. Big time thriller for Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin and I’m pretty excited because it’s about puzzles and we’re puzzle maniacs. As for the friends we tried to pick the worst of the worst from the other Baldwin bros. We settled on the truly terrible looking Dead Weekend for Stephen, Fallout (about space ships) for Daniel, and Backdraft 2 (yes they made a sequel) for William. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Let’s go!

Mercury Rising (1998) – BMeTric: 29.4 

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(I remember when this came out. I don’t remember it being particularly poorly received … and 6.1 is pretty high for a 30 BMeTric film. 60K votes! That’s a lot.)

Leonard Maltin – 2.5 stars –  An autistic nine-year-old boy innocently cracks a top-secret government code; cold-eyed bureaucrat Baldwin orders him killed, while over-the-hill FBI agent Willis tried to protect him. Except for the boy’s autism, a routine suspense thriller, but well made and interesting throughout. Willis’s standard action hero character shows a softer side here, while Baldwin plays out-and-out heavy.

(Sounds like kind of a boring rote thriller, but with maybe a boring performance by Willis and an insane performance by Baldwin … which is basically all I could ask for.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-L7Gbh4u0I/

(Yeah looks potentially pretty boring. BUT … I do like both Willis and Baldwin, especially in 1998, so sock it to me. Let’s do it.)

Directors – Harold Becker – (Known For: Sea of Love; Taps; Malice; Vision Quest; The Onion Field; City Hall; The Big Town; The Black Marble; The Boost; Future BMT: Domestic Disturbance; BMT: Mercury Rising; Notes: He started out as a still photographer, and was mainly a commercial and documentary filmmaker through the 70s. Most of his feature films were made in the 80s. He’s 90 years old.)

Writers – Ryne Douglas Pearson (novel) – (Future BMT: Knowing; BMT: Mercury Rising; Notes: Apparently Art Jefferson, the character Bruce Willis plays, is part of a series he wrote. Mercury Rising is the fourth Art Jefferson book.)

Lawrence Konner (screenplay) – (Known For: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Planet of the Apes; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Jewel of the Nile; Mighty Joe Young; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Mercury Rising; Notes: Wrote on The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire as he’s mostly done television work since around 2000.)

Mark Rosenthal (screenplay) – (Known For: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Planet of the Apes; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; The Legend of Billie Jean; The Jewel of the Nile; Mighty Joe Young; Flicka; Future BMT: Desperate Hours; The Concierge; Mona Lisa Smile; BMT: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace; The Beverly Hillbillies; Mercury Rising; Notes: He’s the long time writing partner of Konner, although he hasn’t done the same amount of television work, and mainly seems to work with Konner on features.)

Actors – Bruce Willis – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Motherless Brooklyn; Split; The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part; The Fifth Element; The Sixth Sense; Sin City; Die Hard; Twelve Monkeys; Unbreakable; RED; Looper; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For; Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle; Moonrise Kingdom; Ocean’s Twelve; The Expendables; RED 2; Die Hard: With a Vengeance; Die Hard 4.0; Future BMT: Look Who’s Talking Too; Vice; The Cold Light of Day; The Prince; Extraction; Lay the Favorite; Precious Cargo; Breakfast of Champions; First Kill; Reprisal; Cop Out; Once Upon a Time in Venice; Acts of Violence; The Bombing; Marauders; Fire with Fire; Perfect Stranger; Striking Distance; Rock the Kasbah; Rugrats Go Wild; The Story of Us; Blind Date; Billy Bathgate; Loaded Weapon 1; Surrogates; Sunset; The Jackal; Last Man Standing; Tears of the Sun; Hostage; Glass; Grand Champion; Four Rooms; 10 Minutes Gone; BMT: North; A Good Day to Die Hard; Color of Night; The Whole Ten Yards; G.I. Joe: Retaliation; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Hudson Hawk; Mercury Rising; Death Wish; Armageddon; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screenplay for Hudson Hawk in 1992; Winner for Worst Actor in 1999 for Armageddon, Mercury Rising, and The Siege; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1992 for Hudson Hawk; in 1995 for Color of Night, and North; and in 2019 for Death Wish; Notes: Apparently Ashton Kutcher (who married Willis’ ex Demi Moore) apparently was convinced his then-girlfriend January Jones had an affair with Willis on the set of Bandits in 2001 … they have a really weird relationship.)

Miko Hughes – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Pet Sematary; Apollo 13; Kindergarten Cop; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare; Zeus and Roxanne; Future BMT: Spawn; Clockstoppers; Cops and Robbersons; BMT: Baby Geniuses; Mercury Rising; Notes: Still vaguely makes appearances, but not many. He was the son of a gynocologist in Kindergarten Cop who says a bunch of inappropriate stuff and has acted since he was 22 months old.)

Alec Baldwin – (Known For: Beetlejuice; A Star Is Born; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Motherless Brooklyn; The Departed; BlacKkKlansman; The Aviator; Notting Hill; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; The Hunt for Red October; The Good Shepherd; The Royal Tenenbaums; My Sister’s Keeper; Rock of Ages; The Boss Baby; Concussion; Glengarry Glen Ross; Blue Jasmine; Rise of the Guardians; Working Girl; Future BMT: Aloha; Thomas and the Magic Railroad; Andròn: The Black Labyrinth; Hick; Along Came Polly; The Juror; My Best Friend’s Girl; The Getaway; Fun with Dick and Jane; Pearl Harbor; The Shadow; Running with Scissors; Heaven’s Prisoners; Elizabethtown; Blind; BMT: The Cat in the Hat; Pluto Nash; Mercury Rising; The Marrying Man; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for The Cat in the Hat in 2004; Notes: He is going to have his sixth child soon. He had one child, Ireland, with Kim Bassinger, and now will have five children with his second wife.)

Budget/Gross – $60 million / Domestic: $32,935,289 (Worldwide: $93,107,289)

(That is pretty rough given the budget, an out and out disaster financially.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (6/35)

(I’ll have to make a consensus! Here goes: Boring without much action between the two leads. Only a scenery chewing heel-turn by Alec Baldwin saves this from complete disaster. Reviewer Highlight: If a 9-year-old kid can break your code, don’t kill the kid, kill the programmers. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)

Poster – Mercury Sklogging (B+)

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(Gah! If only they had some interesting font. Otherwise I think this is what we’re looking for. We got the stars of the film presented in an artistic way with a bold color scheme… maybe a little hint at what the film was about would also help. Not bad though. Patrick’s Shallow Fake: I think this is the best one I’ve done. The color on the face isn’t quite right, and neither is my eyeline. Great fake tagline from Jamie though. A-)

Tagline(s) – Someone knows too much. (D)

(Terrible. So vague. Almost sounds like they did it as a joke but then forgot to replace it before printing the poster. At least it’s short.)

Keyword(s) – autistic child; Top Ten by BMeTric: 64.0 The Darkness (I) (2016); 29.4 Mercury Rising (1998); 24.4 Dear John (I) (2010); 16.1 Silent Fall (1994); 15.6 Redwoods (2009); 10.6 Triangle (2009); 9.6 Hurry Sundown (1967); 8.6 Tully (2018); 6.8 X+Y (2014); 6.1 El faro de las orcas (2016);

(It is plausible this is the best example of this keyword ever made! I’ve never seen The Darkness though, so maybe an autistic child is a major part of that film as well … Wait, doesn’t Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close feature an autistic child?)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 16) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Bruce Willis is No. 1 billed in Mercury Rising and No. 1 billed in The Whole Ten Yards, which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 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 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 16. If we were to watch Last Man Standing, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 10.

Notes – Actor Miko Hughes spent time with many autistic children at a special school to understand how to portray an autistic child. Bennett Leventhal, head of the child psychiatry department at the University of Chicago, spent six weeks before the shoot tutoring Hughes at a school for autistic children. Leventhal, a big doctor on autism, complimented Hughes at the film’s premiere and said “Even I believed you.”. (Good for him, it was a much more unknown thing at the time I feel like)

The plot bears a striking resemblance to a real event in history as reported by Bruce Watson on DailyFinance’s Website on 24 December 2009: ‘…In December 1955, Sears Roebuck ran a newspaper ad with what they claimed was Santa’s direct number. Unfortunately, the phone number they offered was one digit off; instead of Sears, it linked to a top secret line at CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command. When Colonel Harry Shoup, the command’s director of operations, answered the phone, he expected to hear about a missile strike against the US. Instead, he got a little kid who wanted to talk to Santa. Although the conversation ended with the child crying and Shoup fuming, the Colonel eventually came around and began giving the children updates on Santa’s travels through the night sky. The following year, CONAD offered a new, non-secret, phone number that children could call. In 1958, when CONAD became NORAD, the new command continued the tradition…’ (Holy shit, I’ve heard of that! That is a crazy origin story if it is true)

Alec Baldwin appeared in this film due to a contractual obligation to Universal Pictures. Baldwin had previously backed out of a film for Universal and signed an agreement promising the studio another film. Years later, this film was presented to him and he did it to avoid further litigation.

The wine that Art opens in Kudrow’s basement is Chateau Petrus from Pomerol (identifiable by the red seal at the bottom left corner of the label), is probably the most expensive Bordeaux red wine, and contrary to what Art said in the movie, even young Petrus costs much more than 75 dollars per bottle. (Fun fact)

This movie marks the second time Bruce Willis has battled a soldier believed to have died years before the events of the movie take place. The first was “Die Hard 2” (1990).

Chad Lindberg, who plays James, would go on to appear in The Fast and the Furious (2001), another movie from Universal Pictures, three years after this movie was released. Also, like his character in this movie, Lindberg’s character in The Fast and the Furious, Jesse, also gets killed. (Ha!)

Awards – Winner for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Bruce Willis, 1999)

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)