Expendables Week #4: 20 Thoughts on Rambo: First Blood Part 2

Hey folks. With The Expendables finally making its debut tonight and since I had some time to sit around this afternoon, I wanted to watch a film from The Expendables’ head honcho Sylvester Stallone. At first, I seriously considered watching Oscar (anyone who doesn’t like that film hasn’t appreciated Tim Curry’s performance as the title character’s speech coach.), but instead I thought that action was more apt and turned instead to Rambo: First Blood Part 2. This jingoistic little gem is a supreme slice of what the ’80’s action film was. I may have watched First Blood more times over the years, but First Blood Part 2 was the first one I saw growing up. Since this is a film that I think a lot of people have seen, I thought I would kind of do a similar format to last week’s Jackie Brown.  

1. The opening pre-title sequence. I mean seriously, they put Rambo in a labor camp breaking up rocks. That is hardcore. Plus, Richard Crenna  is back as Trautman and on the receiving end of the infamous line “Do we get to win this time?” all in the first  couple minutes. 

2. It’s sometimes stunning to see how many great genre actors are in this film. Practically the second scene features Martin Kove, Crenna, Stallone, and Charles Napier. 

3. Rambo can’t even manage to jump out of the plane before something goes wrong. He may be a badass, but things always seem to go way worse for him before they get better (if they do at all). 

4. Director George P. Cosmatos would go on to direct another classic film with an all star genre cast, 1993’s Tombstone as well as one of my favorite Sly films Cobra

5. Co Bau: “Is that why they picked you because you like to fight?”
     Rambo: “Nah, cause I’m expendable.”

6. So the army sends Rambo to take pictures of a supposed POW camp. Pictures. Did any of them actually think he was going to take pictures?

7. Rambo: First Blood Part 2 was such a success that it spawned a children’s cartoon in 1986. 

 8. The total body count was 67, but Rambo only accounts for 57 of them himself. What a slacker. 

9. Every time I see this film, and it doesn't matter how many times, I can't help getting pissed when the extraction team leaves Rambo and the POW he finds high and dry. 

10. Let the torture begin! First off, let's soak you in leeches, but then for the real torture Steven Burkoff is going to show up and do a Russian accent. 

11. "You may scream, there is no shame"- Lt Podovsky

12. An electric box springs. That brings magic fingers to a whole different place. 

13. You gotta love the lightning crash that happens just as Rambo tells Murdock (Charles Napier) the jerk that trapped them in Vietnam, "I'm coming to get you."

14. The whole escape sequence is great, and this is the moment when legendary composer Jerry Goldsmith's score really shines. 

15. If you think you might love John Rambo, don't tell him. You will just get shot in the next scene. However you will inspire his choice in headbands for the rest of his life. 

16. However if you are any way connected to the killing of Rambo's new (but shortly lived) main squeeze, be aware he is going to kill every last one of you. 

17. First Blood Part 2 was the first film to debut on 2000 screens, In comparison, The Expendables makes it's debut on 3200 screens today. 

18. Guns are passe. There really need to be more heroes armed with bows and arrows. 

19. Luckily, unlike Rambo III, politics mostly take a back seat to action in First Blood 2. Sure there are some pointed moments in the film, but for the most part it stays less political than similar fare like the Missing in Action films. James Cameron who wrote the script has been quoted as taking credit for the action notes and blaming all the politics on Stallone. 

20. It's not the classic that First Blood is, but it doesn't have the problems of the next film. The series wouldn't hit another high point until Stallone released the singularly titled Rambo in 2008. 

Well that's it for today. I'll be back sometime tomorrow with a review of The Expendables. I hope lots of you go and and see it tonight and come back and let me know what you thought!

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  1. I love this film. It's definitely the epitome of an 80s action film. Sly was king back in the day. I am SO looking forward to The Expendables. Great post.

    By the way, anytime I put on a headband, that's actually how I do it. LOL

  2. I just got back from The Expendables and had a blast! Everyone was into the movie, cheering Sly on, laughing at the jokes, etc, etc. The movie was great fun! I hope you enjoyed it.

  3. Thanks for reminding me about the Rambo cartoon. I remember they had the corresponding toys as well with Rambo's rocket launcher causing his figure to be recalled.

  4. This movie is awesome. Still remember seeing it in the theater.


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