Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

The next film in the DailyView binge is from the new Showtime channel I picked up on Prime Day. It is listed as leaving Showtime on June 30th so I decided this was the best time to give it a watch. It is the sequel to First Blood, which sent John Rambo back into Vietnam to find evidence that some POWs are still there. Rambo: First Blood Part II seemed to embrace the ideas and philosophies of the 1980s, where as the original was more of the 1970s.

John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is serving a prison sentence doing hard labor when Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) arrived to present him with a mission. The government wants to send him back into Vietnam to investigate whether or not there are American POWs in a prison camp. Rambo’s mission was not meant to be one with confrontation, but when he discovered that there was a POW there, Rambo was not going to let it go.

When the project head Murdock (Charles Napier) found out that there was an actual POW there, he ordered Rambo to be left behind. Bad choice.

Rambo: First Blood Part II is a step down from the excellent First Blood. That movie had more to it than this does. This one is about creating a super hero, someone who can fight and gain revenge for the slights of the world. The original movie was more about an idea, a philosophy. This is all about violence and revenge. The PTSD from First Blood is replaced with the unstoppable warrior looking for vengeance.

That does not make this a bad movie, just a different one. One that less depth, but more over-the-top action.

I have to say that the weirdly accented Russians that show up midway through the plot are a strange addition. Of course, the reason is that the Russians in the 1980s were more of the villains to the US than the Viet Cong were. Unfortunately, they sounded more like British or perhaps German Russians instead of Russian Russians and it was funny.

The action of this movie would wind up inspiring a lot of the type of movies from the 1980s. It stretches credibility a long way and it is difficult to buy that Rambo is as much of a indestructible force that he was. This took this franchise away from the message film to the shoot-’em-up, blow-’em-up movie, where the number of explosions are the most important.

Again, that does not make this a bad movie. It has its place.

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