RAMBO WARRIOR MOVIE REVIEW: “Rambo: First Blood Part II” stars Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Richard Crenna (Judging Amy [TV series], Jade), Charles Napier (The Silence of the Lambs, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery), Steven Berkoff (A Clockwork Orange, Octopussy), Julia Nickson (China Cry: A True Story, Life Tastes Good), Martin Kove (The Karate Kid, Tapped Out), and George Cheung (Rush Hour, Starsky & Hutch ). It is directed by George P. Cosmatos (Cobra, Tombstone) and written by Kevin Jarre (Glory, The Mummy ), Sylvester Stallone, and James Cameron (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic). Having been released from prison by the government, John Rambo (Stallone) is hired for a recon mission in Vietnam when a small village is suspected of holding American POW. What the government doesn’t understand is when you send in Rambo to do recon, he won’t leave a man behind.
“Murdock, I’m coming for you.” Was I surprised John Rambo returned to Vietnam? No, no I wasn’t. In fact, it only makes sense. Where else would a drifter go when his country doesn’t want him? Back to the place that molded him (and unfortunately it wasn’t the dark). I didn’t expect “Rambo: First Blood Part II” to be much of anything. The first flick had a solid theme and emotional ending that essentially hammered in what Rambo was all about. To try to go from that is risky, mainly because it’ll be so easy to fall into the entrapment of just making a shoot em up action piece. Low and behold, they did it. Sure, there’s the occasional riff on the government for trying to cover their rear ends while lives are on the line, but all in all “First Blood 2” is pretty much watching Rambo go into an enemy camp, out of the camp, into the camp, out of the camp, and back into the camp to then leave the camp. It was a recon turned rescue mission, and boy did it go back and forth. After a while, it became quite tiring to see Rambo build up only to be knocked down, but then again there wasn’t much of a story to sink your teeth into. Most of the empty space was filled with gruesome action of Rambo trying to save POW as well as his own skin; it was both awesome and grueling at the same time. If there’s anything to be said when it comes to how the sequel improved over the original, it was action set pieces. The filmmakers had a lot more to work with this time around, and were able to make Rambo more of a badass than ever before. I’ll even admit that I was entertained and pumped to see the ripped Stallone take out baddies with a big gun, bow, or knife in hand. It’s cool stuff for any dude looking for a killer movie experience, and there’s plenty to be offered in “First Blood 2” in regards to that. The only downside is, the story itself is lacking. I liked the moments that showed the conflict of the government covering their tails, but there weren’t many of those scenes, as quite a bit of time was used just to show Rambo running around with a Vietnamese woman as they tried to infiltrate a camp. Rambo isn’t a talkative character, so all the sneaking around he does is usually quite and void of any deep character development or writing. That’s not to say that this franchise is the place for that; it’s clearly not. If you want an all-out action piece, “First Blood 2” is good for you, but I will say that after a while the action can just get tiresome. I think the longing for a deeper story is what makes me pick at it more. With “First Blood,” we had a lot of build-up before Rambo was running from the police, with moments sprinkled throughout showing what kind of a guy he is and how messed up the situation is getting. “First Blood 2” tries to replicate this, but it just becomes either too familiar or too light, instead opting for the big action stunt. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun watching Rambo tear people to pieces; I just didn’t think it was that great of a movie because it was not heavy in every other area of the story. The performances were solid, as was the score and cinematography. The location itself was cool to see, and I thought that the different methods Rambo used to get the kill was also sweet to watch. Overall, “First Blood 2” is what you’d expect it to be: an action-packed entertainment fest with the sole intention of just keeping your eyes glued to the knife kills and explosions. Thankfully, there was enough development and conflict to keep this from being a purely mediocre endeavor. FINAL SCORE: 68%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: