What a film. Following on from First Blood (1982), where we meet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) for the first time, Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985, dir. George Cosmatos) tells of Rambo’s further adventures during a covert mission into Vietnam to collect information on a camp of abandoned American prisoners of war.
I have to put my thoughts on this film in a numbered list because I literally can’t gather enough mental energy to write a whole post on this big, explosive mess. Keeping that in mind, here are some of my thoughts on Rambo: First Blood Part II.
- I haven’t ever seen the first Rambo film, but from what I hear it actually is a kind of poignant piece about how Vietnam veterans were treated when they came home from the war. At least, that’s what I’ve been told, it may just be another schlocky action film.
- This film was ridiculous.
- Just, the entire storyline was dumb. Rambo (I keep typing his name as Rocky for some reason… who knows why) has to go to Vietnam to take photos of some trapped POWs who, in 1985, are still being held by some Viet Cong-style armed forces, even though the Viet Cong finished up around 1976. So stupid. The logistics and purpose of this are never really explained. Just one of many logical inconsistencies that are never addressed.
- Who sends Rambo, knowing his violent tendencies, into a conflict zone to take photographs? The American military, apparently. There’s some plot about double crossing and/or sabotage so Rambo can get killed off but my brain had imploded from the stupidity at that point. Rambo breaks out and attacks everyone in true Rambo-style.
- There are lots of explosions, enough to satisfy Michael Bay’s compulsive pyromania.
- Sylvester Stallone cannot act.
- Probably one of the worst things about this film was Rambo’s Vietnamese girlfriend who could only speak pigeon English, e.g. “What you want?”, “What bring you luck?”, and whose performance was even more wooden than Stallone’s. And also vaguely offensive.
- When Rambo’s Vietnamese girlfriend said, “You not expendable Rambo”, all I could think of was The Expendables. I see what you did there, Sylvester Stallone. Good cross-promo.
- In a way I kind of love ridiculously cheesy action films like this, even though paradoxically I hate them for being stupid. They’re designed to delight and thrill people, and I think Rambo: First Blood Part II probably achieved this, even though it seems to have received a lot of negative reviews back in the day. It would probably have been a lot of fun to watch this in a cinema full of people.
- One good thing about this film was the interesting direction and cuts as Rambo is getting tortured via electrocution. I think this film was nominated for a Razzie Award for worst direction back in the day, but that moment was pretty well-directed with lots of quick cuts during the electrocution sequence, which built a lot of tension.
- Probably the best-worst bit about this film was the song below, which was played over the credits. Hilariously bad. ‘Peace In Our Life’ was written and sung by Sylvester Stallone’s brother Frank, and is filled to the brim with patriotism; to the point where you’ll be crying bald eagles and American flags out of your eyeballs in no time.
Watch this film at Amazon!