Dir: George P. Cosmatos, 1985
Firmly entrenching itself in the onslaught of over the top 80’s action movies, Rambo: First Blood Part II is up there with Commando, as Sly and Arnie battle it out for the coveted top spot.
Foregoing any morals or messages that it’s predecessor attempted to portray, this action packed sequel is out for thrills and nothing else.
Being sentenced to hard labour for the events that occured in First Blood, Rambo is approached by the US government to enter Vietnam and photograph POW’s, alleged to be held by the Vietnamese and Russian military. In exchange for the operation being successful, Rambo will be pardoned and granted his freedom.
With each entry in the series, Rambo loses a little bit more humanity from his almost arid well. Here, there is even a spark of romance but, in true underdog fashion, he’s not allowed to savour the taste of real happiness.
First Blood could be seen as an anti-war story. With its depiction of PTSD and the awful treatment the soldiers received at the hands of the US government, David Morell’s book and Ted Kotcheff’s movie is a tale of morality and a demonstration at the callous politics of America.
Part II, on the other hand, does away with all of that and sends our imbalanced hero on a killing spree, gleefully taking out anyone he sees fit. Knives, explosive tipped arrows, machine guns and a rocket launcher, are all employed by the peace seeking veteran.
But, that’s flippancy. Deep down, Rambo: First Blood Part II is a character study. John Rambo is a man of violence. He knows nothing but bloodshed and pain. Unable to feel, the ex-green beret is emotionally paralysed, using only what he knows to be right and wrong to guide him.
Broken beyond repair, the one man army butchers and slaughters his way through the jungles of Vietnam, without a sense of remorse. More of a robot, than anything else.
Co-written by arsehole of Hollywood, James Cameron, it’s incredibly difficult to deduct how much of Cameron’s script ended up being used as Sylvester Stallone is notorious for tinkering with the script and direction of his films.
As an action movie, Rambo: First Blood Part II delivers the goods. A tough as nails, unstoppable hero that you can root for, plenty of thrills and fast paced. The characters are a tad over the top, with perennial overacter Steven Berkoff being the main culprit. The mole-headed Englishman, chews up his dialogue and spits it in the face of everyone involved.
It is in this depiction of Rambo, that the image of the ideal action hero has come to fruition. Sporting a head band, mullet and bare chest, Stallone slurs his way through his lines, forever cementing his position as a caricature.
For a UK ’15’ certificate, this sequel is rather violent, especially in a time when the British censors were routinely cutting violence from ’18’ rated fare.
Fun and exciting, Rambo: First Blood Part II is a winner and even better than its 1982 predecessor.