Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

I revisited this movie recently, I watched this one in the office during my lunch breaks over a couple of days. In fact I watched it twice, first the movie as-is, then again with the commentary by the director, very interesting.

The concept of Rambo may be a bit passé these days but I tried to appreciate the movie as if I was watching it when it was released (as such).

In general I was impressed by the movie, the acting was not terrible and the action made up for it in more ways than one. The story was plausible and does get you into the movie quickly, it is easy for you to understand the motivations of the characters very quickly.

Sylvester Stallone looks good in this movie, the commentary indicates that the guy spent over 4 hours a day training to get the physique for the roll, the dedication by Stallone pays off. Steven Berkoff plays the evil Russian commander perfectly, he is a cool and calculating instrument of torture that gets your blood boiling and you want to cheer when he gets blown up by Rambo.

The other bad guy is Marshal Murdock played by Charles Napier (you’ll know him when you see him), I like this dude, he plays the character in a way that makes you want to hate him but you understand that he is really a grunt following orders but he doesn’t have the balls to do the right thing. Richard Crenna is the rock that keeps Rambo going and his greatest ally, he is the father figure that gets Rambo to do the mission and fights for him when things get out of hand.

The action is punctuated with a couple of tender moments with the female lead Julia Nickson-Soul, she plays a sympathetic Vietnamese who gets Rambo to the site of the POWs. It was obvious that she would die and cause Rambo to go haywire but she does add that something extra to the movie that lets you see the softer side of Rambo (even though it’s only for a few minutes).

The thing to remember with this movie is that this was really the first movie of its kind and most other movies of this genre followed the same paradigm, i.e. the lone warrior fighting for honor and glory over insurmountable odds. The set pieces with Stallone firing the automatic weapon in the air, trashing the control center, killing the bad guys one at a time silently in the jungle have been copied time and time again.

So the bottom line is that anyone who enjoys a good action movie and is willing to get over the fact that they have probably seen something similar in the past (albeit a take off on this movie) should enjoy the movie.


Overall rating: 8/10 (For action)
Special effects: 9/10
Acting: 6/10
Music: 6/10
Where seen: DVD (in the office)
Perceived length: Medium



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