The Age of Commercialism
Don't Believe the Hype
Absolutely the worst movie.
John J. Rambo, awarded the Congregational Medal of Honour for services in Vietnam. Back on US soil his friends are nearly all dead, he feels unwanted and the abuse he suffered during war has turned him into the shell of a man. In today's world he might be diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, paranoia, violent tendencies. As he wanders through small backwater towns looking for any friends who may have survived he is the victim of abuse from a small town sheriff and he his troops. He's locked up and starts having flashbacks to the torture he received during war. Something snaps in him. He escapes with only a hunting knife and heads into the wilderness, pursued by his taunters. He is forced to survive at any means necessary which he does to great effect with his years of training and past experiences. The Rambo character was big in the 80's, becoming a cult icon and spawning spin-off's, cartoons and merchandise. However that was in the 80's, today's audiences barely just remember "Rocky" and probably aren't too familiar with Rambo. This isn't at all a family friendly film, it's more of a macho bloodthirsty action film rather than anything deep and inspiring. Stallone does a decent job as John Rambo showing that he's an onion with layers of passion and pain. The supporting cast is good and believable, especially Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna and even David Caruso. The score is effective and drives the movie on. It gets a little cheesy in places, especially towards the end but that doesn't sour the film one bit. Like the subject of the film this is dark and misunderstood. Not the kind of film I'd watch with kids, family or a lover. While audiences have moved on to a different kind of film this offers a bit of 80's nostalgia. Worth a watch, but you wouldn't be missing a masterpiece if you skipped it instead.
First Blood is the first in a great series of movies.John Rambo is a Vietnam veteran still haunted by the demons of the war the soldiers weren't allowed to win. The transient Rambo goes to see one of his former friends and fellow soldier only to find out he died from exposure to agent orange.While passing through a small town, the local sheriff spots him and decides their quiet community isn't the place for people like Rambo. After refusing to leave, Rambo is arrested, tortured, and ultimately escapes into the dense forest.The rest of the movie is a cat and mouse game between the local sheriff's department, state police, national guard, and Rambo, with Rambo ultimately becoming the cat and the police the mice.Rambo is fast paced with action and the last several minutes of the movie are unforgettable, as Rambo breaks down and perfectly gets across the demons that still haunt him.
Sylvester Stallone stars as John Rambo: a lonely, alienated, and troubled Vietnam vet just trying to move on with his life until he gets unlawfully provoked over a misunderstanding, and finds himself in a war against a sheriff's department and the national guard. The fight doesn't seem fair, mostly because Rambo is outnumbered, but all bets are off since he's a former Green Beret, and he's had a really hard time moving on with his life. Unlike the sequels, this one is (for the majority of the run time) more of a dramatic survival story and not a balls-out action film. I really loved the focus on stealth and guerrilla tactics over pure brute force. It's a great character study with focus on vet's rights, PTSD, and intolerance. It does get kinda preachy, but nevertheless is still very compelling and gripping. Sylvester Stallone is wonderful. He shows off his action skills, and he's great as expected, but where things really shine is with the character and the acting. The action is a main part of who he is, but he's still a flawed and rounded character. Stallone really has to act here at times too, delivering what's still the most dramatic monologue of his career that actually sees him breakdown in tears. It's not often you see something like this, much less have it actually be really powerful and moving. Bravo. For supporters, we get a young David Caruso that's kinda fun to watch, but the main support that really holds the film up is with Brian Dennehy as the determined narrow minded sheriff and Richard Crenna as Rambo's mentor- perhaps the only one capable of bringing the senseless conflict to an end. Both are great, and this is some of their best work. You sort of sympathize with the sheriff a bit, but probably not as much as you should. The film really paints it as Rambo good, everyone else bad, and that's a shame that they didn't go for a bit more complexity or moral ambiguity in that area. Things fare better with Crenna's character, but he too could have been a tad more developed. That's really my only major issue here: the film is a bit too one sided, and towards the end, things just kinda start crumbling. I get how Rambo said that if they kept pushing he'd really ramp it up, but when this all happens it just took me out of it all somewhat, and seemed a bit inconsistent. Fortunately things don't crap out too much, and the film does conclude pretty satisfactorily. It's just the lead up to the climax where it has its stumble. The film is well shot, the locations are great, there's pretty strong direction, neat ideas, and, probably most effective next to the acting, we get Jerry Goldsmith's absolutely thrilling and brilliant score. I still get chills every time I hear the opening notes to the main theme. EVERY time. Definitely check this one out.
Today at 2017, there is nothing new about this concept. But, 35 years ago when I went to see it in a theater (that no longer exists by the way), with my neighbor, it was a big hit.This is not a very intelligent movie, and nothing to look forward to now days. But back then it was original.