• It’s a different film than 1982’s First Blood– this is more like a straight revenge (simple, over the top) 1980’s action B-movie. First Blood is trying to say something and strikes a more specific mood— creates an actual character—this is weaker in that respect
  • the title hurts my head to think about
  • Stallone has almost always been chasing the Eastwood star/actor/director (or artist) playbook—here there is a lot of Eastwood from his spaghetti Leone “Man with no name” stares and the plot is pretty close to a 1-man Dirty Dozen
  • Iconography—the serrated knife, that stiff bodybuilder walk, the muscles, the machine gone grunts, the bandanna—the line “Do we get to win this time?”
…muscles, bandanna …
….serrated knife– iconography in Rambo: First Blood Part II
  • James Cameron with a half-credit on the screenplay—he’s great at broad tropes and tapping into universal simple themes. He’s also good at giving you awful lines like “I always thought the mind is the best weapon” (from Rambo no less)
  • “If you accept that Rambo is not the same kind of movie as First Blood and watch it on its own merits, it’s a badass action movie.” – this is perfect from Tom Breihan from the AV club
  • The DP Jack Cardiff actually shot Black Narcissus like 40 years before this
  • The torture scene is trying to channel Deer Hunter, and the overly out of control repetitive action to end the film is trying for The Wild Bunch but yeah— it’s not close
  • “I’m expendable”
  • The score is really good- the great Jerry Goldsmith (Patton, Planet of the Apes, The Omen, LA Confidential)
  • Siskel from the Chicago Tribune “In short, Rambo is very good at what it does, but what it does isn’t always that good”
  • Recommend but closer to the fringe than the top 10