Review for Rambo: First Blood Part II
Now when people think of Rambo they think of rapid machine gun fire killing hundreds of people. If you read my review of First Blood you will see that this is not how Rambo started off. However, with the sequel it seemed that someone informed the writers (I will get to this in a second) that the best parts of the movie was all the action and just do that for ninety minutes. This is what Rambo II is all about. Literally.
Written by star Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron (Yes, Aliens, Terminator, Titanic James Cameron) Rambo is visited in his prison camp by Colonel Trautman with an offer: Join him to help find Prisoners of War in Vietnam and he will receive a pardon. His mission is simply to observe and 'take photos' of the camps. This does not go to plan and Rambo finds himself being taken hostage by evil Russian military. He also finds the American POWs, but finds that the government agent who was overseeing the entire operation was hoping for the mission to fail. It is once again up to Rambo to take out the entire army guarding the camp and get himself and the POWs out alive.
I don't even know where to start with this film. Did I enjoy it? Yes. I did. I really did, but I don't know why. It was just insane, wall to wall action, bullets, bloodshed and nothing more. There are long periods in the film where there is no dialogue just action and more gunfire. Nothing in the film is subtle and even the evil Russians couldn't have been more cliche if they tried. The leader is played wonderfully by Steven 'Diplomatic IMMUNITY!' Berkoff and when Hollywood finally get around to making their Putin film he will surely be first in line to play him.
Stallone is a chiselled and perfect for the role as he ever was. It is a shame that all the humanity that made his performance in First Blood so captivating has been changed into just the grunting action that he soon became known for. He 'won' a Razzie for his performance with the film also getting Worst Film and Worst Screenplay. I would not say the film is that bad especially when the boring Revolution and Stallone's Rocky IV was also nominated.
Throughout the film I sat with head in hands at how much this was a typical 1980s action film. It felt like it ticked every box. Superhuman Hero who cannot be killed. Check! Impossible Mission. Check! Fifteen people all shooting and missing one target who then takes them all out in one spray. Check! Hot female who is only there to seduce the hero. Check! It was a blueprint that was on most films of this nature drew from. Without this film we would probably not have had half the Chuck Norris filmography. For that alone we must thank this film for existing.
The film is full of extras which are a mixbag. The Commentary by Director George P. Cosmatos is fine in general. If you are a fan of the film he has some interesting stories about how it was made, but like most solo commentaries it gets a bit dry at times and could do with a second person to chat to.
There are three featurettes looking at the making of the film including the second part of Rambo Takes the 80s which would have been better as a longer documentary with all three parts, but is still a great look at how Rambo really had an impact on the decade. The other two featurettes are good and look at certain aspects of the film which is nice. What is lovely (and so out of left field) is Sean Baker-Fulfilling a Dream which was a moment when someone who had a terminal illness was invited to the set of the film and we see Stallone swimming with him and this is such a nice moment to watch.
Rambo: First Blood Part II is not the bad film that everyone says it is. However, this is not a great film either. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the absurdity of it all and if you want to shut your brain off and watch some all-out testerone loaded action, then this is the film for you.