Thoughts on… Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

NECA-Rambo-First-Blood-Part-2What 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.

  1. 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.
  2. This film was ridiculous.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. There are lots of explosions, enough to satisfy Michael Bay’s compulsive pyromania.
  6. Sylvester Stallone cannot act.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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!

18 comments

  1. You know what, I never connected that expendable line with The Expendables. Good thinking!

    1. Haha, thanks! I wonder if Stallone could even remember it given how many times he’s been smacked in the head in his films.

  2. LOL Anna!! Nice!!

    Since you weren’t even born when this came out and I went and saw it in the theater, this came out a time when movies like this where extremely popular and no one gave a shit about acting. American patriotism was very high and Ronald Reagan was running the free world. I’m sure this movie is pretty dumb but, at the time, it was a big hit!

    Love,

    ei

    P.S. The last Rambo is the best of the bunch!

    1. Sounds like the good old days! One day I’ll see the entire Rambo series. This was a pretty interesting introduction though! #stallonies

  3. Only saw the first one and the one where he was old. Never checked this one out….

    1. You missed out on a fine piece of camp action cinema! One day I’ll get around to watching the rest.

  4. It’s so 80s! Watched it long ago, when I was at an age soft & tender enough to appreciate this sort of rubbish. Ah, 80s…
    As a fan of Moonraker, I thot u might like to see this tribute to Richard Kiel:
    http://bradscribe.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/towering-influence/
    Cheers!

    1. That is such a lovely tribute to Richard Kiel and thank you for passing it on! I have to say that when I heard the sad news, the first thing I thought of was the “Well, here’s to us” moment from Moonraker. What an amazing guy.

      1. You’re welcome, Anna! Glad u liked it!
        He was a real star – so menacing on film, yet so friendly & approachable off-screen!
        Saw no obit blog anywhere so felt compelled to do my own.
        Cheers!

  5. I could copy and paste ipc’s comment because that’s exactly my experience. I’ll add that the difference between this movie and the first is vast. Assuming you’ve seen the Die Hard flicks, you know how John McClane has gradually become less and less of an actual human being as that franchise progresses? That happens to Rambo in the space of one movie. Check out the fourth installment, simply titled Rambo. It’s the best/worst of them all.

    1. That’s such a great simile! I love that first Die Hard film so much and McClane does become a bit of a caricature by the later films. Still pretty interested to give the rest of the Rambo films a go though. Normally I find films like this boring, but the campiness was quite entertaining.

  6. I watched the first Rambo a few months ago on TV and was really surprised by how good it was. This, on the other hand, sounds shite.

    1. It sure is! It’s funny because I just assumed all of the Rambo films were as schlocky as this one. Finding out that the first one is quite complex, and actually has an interesting comment on society, is slightly mindblowing.

      1. It’s a shame the first one was impacted by the daftness of the sequels!

  7. While I kind of enjoy the nonsensical charm of the film, it is not the film I would recommend if you are looking for 80’s action. Frankly the first film is the only one I would say is a must-see from this series. The most recent one (number 4 if I remember correctly) is not bad either, but more in a “Rambo killed how many people? That is just silly ” way.

    1. Haha! That’s kind of how I felt about this one – the suspension of disbelief was pretty much thrown out the window once he defeated two foreign armies and survived being electrocuted as well as being bashed every five minutes by another assailant. Good times. I can almost respect these films for being so shameless!

  8. Jagermystro · · Reply

    This is possibly the most pathetic shitty ridiculous film ever. Only the yanks could make drivel this bad, Dickhead dodgy haircutted steroid head Stallone takes on the whole Russian army with a bow and arrow and a survival knife hahahahaha. He is as animated as a stale dog shit in this and his buttpal colonel troutbucket constantly kissing and bumming his toughman pal. Haha the only war yanks could win in reality is a friendly fire count in this shit film they are now friends with the Taliban not waging war on them. Possibly the most twattish far-fetched yank patriotic excrement of a film you wouldn’t wish your enemy to sit through this trash 0/10

    1. I concur! It’s a pretty ridiculous film, and now that I’ve seen how good the first one is, it’s also kind of insulting.

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