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Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) *Favourite Review*

 No effin' shit
No effin' ... Holy wow

Genre: Action Adventure War Serial

Starring: Sylvester Stallone (Deathrace 2000First Blood), Richard Crenna (The Sand Pebbles Un flic)

Directed By: George P. Cosmatos (Tombstone • Leviathan)

Overview: Vietnam veteran John Rambo, serving time for his previous fiasco, is offered a mission to save P.O.W.s still in Vietnam.

When I used to think of glorious American films where people did the right thing for the right cause, John Rambo was one of the guys who was out there doin 'em.  Now, looking back, Rambo is a far more painful reminder of an era lost to the ages. First Blood was the story of a man forgotten, insulted, painted into a corner and driven to reliving a horrible past.

Somehow, rather than leaving the story to be a poignant comment on the short memory we have for our veterans, Hollywood gave the green-light to letting loose a disturbed psychopath in the jungle, giving him free reign to go into foreign lands and create an international incident.

The only thing more offensive than a Vietnamese woman speaking engrish like Tarzan would be the murderous hack-and-slash fest that Rambo performs upon the scores of nameless Vietnamese soldiers. By nameless I mean only one Vietnamese individual was credited in the cast list.  How did they manage to have so few credited Vietnamese in a film about rescuing POWs in 'Nam you ask? Remember, it's Reagan's 80s.  The real enemy is the Russians, and of course, somehow, they're the ones ultimately responsible for keeping the evil afloat in Rambo: First Blood Part II.

Anyways let's skip the psycho bit and get to the nitty gritty:

Trautman: The same as it always is! Money! In '72 we were supposed to pay the Cong four-and-a-half billion in war reparations. We reneged, they kept the POWs... and you're doing the same thing all over again.
Murdock: And what the hell would you do, Trautman? Pay blackmail money to ransom our own men and finance the war effort against our allies? What if some burn-out POW shows up on the six o-clock news? What do you want to do... start the war all over again? You wanna bomb Hanoi? You want everybody screaming for armed invasion? Do you honestly think somebody's gonna get up on the floor of the United States Senate, and ask for billions of dollars for a couple of forgotten ghosts?

With this exchange of dialogue, an attack on American honour values, we step out of what would otherwise be a rich man's Delta Force and mask the glorified America-on-Foreign-Bastard violence by pointing the 'why did we let this happen' finger. 

But Rambo: First Blood Part II is more than a hackneyed sequel of its 80s incursion propaganda counterparts. It's actually kind of pretty. Sure Rambo never changed his magazine once, sure all the baddies are mean but dumb and would rather gloat at a passed out Rambo than huck a couple more rockets at him and make sure the job is done, and yeah, when Rambo hits that helicopter rocket launch button at a grass hut, said hut explodes like it was filled with nukes, but hey, Schwarzenegger's Commando did the same thing and came out the same year.  It was well received enough... by my childhood at least.

What I'm getting at is this: we will not see films like these anymore, they are part of a breed of machismo that was folded up with a blood-soaked flag. War films today don't glorify heroics, they accuse its heartlessness, its hypocrisy, they make you repulsed and shocked at the vile display.

That's a good thing. It says too much about America's mindset back then.  For as perfect as the sound work was, for as nice as the shots were, for as chiselled ideal 80s masculinity has in Sly Stallone, Rambo will not survive in the surf of the coming tides.

Oops! I was wrong! Thanks Bush! Warmongering has never had it so good!

You took advantage of a world that loved you well
I'm going to a town that has already been burned down
I'm so tired of you America

- Rufus Wainwright

I like this one.  One eye goes one way, the other eye goes the other way...
I like this one. One eye goes one way, the other eye goes the other way...

Overall Rating: 70% (Part Of A Past We Should Forget)

Like it or not, Rambo: First Blood Part II is major Americana Classic film and for as much as it smacks of propagandism, people bought it when Hollywood sold it, and looking back today, it's nice, it's flashy, sometimes it's even cool, but for the reasons listed above, it's just not right.

If you think about it, frightening as it is, the only difference with Jason Vorhees and John Rambo is the flag. 

Wait. Jason knows no race, he kills everyone for his territory. That's sobering...

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