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First Blood (1982)
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July 2002                                                         SITE MAP   SEARCH
Rambo: First Blood II
cast: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, Steven Berkoff, Martin Kove

director: George P. Cosmatos

91 mins (15) 1985
widescreen 2.35:1
Momentum Take One DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Stephen Lee
This is the second film of this DVD trilogy starring Sylvester Stallone wearing his Rocky II body, well directed by George Cosmatos, who has managed to catch all of the stallion's muscle definitions using a variety of well-staged action poses. Stallone, who co-writes with James Cameron, follows Rambo's adventure in First Blood, which was a far better movie, using the same character and includes his C.O. played once more by Richard Crenna.
   This enjoyable yarn takes our all American hero with his Tarzan hairstyle out of prison and back to Vietnam for a mission to photograph POWs if he can find any. Quickly losing his camera he decides instead to re-fight the war by himself in comic book style. Rambo: First Blood II is about the veterans of the war who are lost, trying to find answers and some recognition as patriots. Stallone shows our hero used, abused and deceived by both sides before returning to the cheers of some while striking fear in others. John Rambo makes a speech on behalf of all disgruntled 'Nam-vets and walks off toward another sequel to the strains of 'It's a long road, when you're on your own.' But is that all?
   Well, no, it's not - I believe the film means more to the Yanks than any of us can possibly imagine as we Brits just see it as another highly entertaining action adventure. While writing this, the news reports Clinton's visit to Vietnam for the first time (he dodged the draft so never fought in the war) as supreme chief of American armed forces - a contentious move in every respect as he's the only President in history to have had the army ordered to salute him. Would he bring up the issue of American service men missing in action? (MIA was the title of a rival movie about POWs, with Chuck Norris, made a year earlier - but Rambo is the better movie.)
   Remember back in 1985, when this was made, some superstars (Coburn, Shatner, Eastward and Redford among them) reportedly funded a mission to find American POWs. Did Rambo prick the conscience of a nation? Watching the star interview in the special features section, it's clear this was Stallone's intention. It also appears to be the norm in this disc's extra features to show the same clip or item over and over under different headers. Very annoying when one expects much trivia.
   My favourite moment is when he camouflages himself in a mud wall only to open his sly eyes to take out another bad guy.
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