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First Blood
Rambo: First Blood / Rambo 1

USA 1982
produced by
Buzz Feitshans, Mario Kassar (executive), Andrew G. Vajna (executive) for Anabasis, Elcajo Productions/Carolco
directed by Ted Kotcheff
starring Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy, Bill McKinney, Jack Starrett, Michael Talbott, Chris Mulkey, John McLiam, Alf Humphreys, David Caruso, David L. Crowley, Don MacKay, Charles A. Tamburro, David Petersen, Craig Huston, Patrick Stack, Stephen E. Miller, Raimund Stamm, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Dimopoulos, Bruce Greenwood, Earl Klein, Danny Wozna, Peter Lonstrup, Mike Winlaw, Donald Adams, David Menzies, Frank Richter, Grahman L. Galativk, Ian Hutchinson, Amy Alexander, Gary Hetherington, Alex Kliner, R.G. Miller
screenplay by Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim, Sylvester Stallone, based on the novel by David Morrell, music by Jerry Goldsmith

Rambo

review by
Mike Haberfelner






All drifter John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) wanted to do when he entered a rural small town in nowhere, USA, is to get a bite to eat - but he's intercepted by Sheriff Teasle (Brian Dennehy) who escorts him out of town, as he claims people like him aren't welcome in a community like this. But Rambo is stubborn, and re-enters the town - to be arrested for vagrancy. The arresting officers aren't exactly gentle with him, which awakens memories from his time in the Vietnam war - and he beats the lot of them to a pulp and escapes into the neighbouring woods. Now Sheriff Teasle isn't one to let things like this go lightly, so he and some of his deputies try to track him down. And one deputy, Galt (Jack Starrett), whom Rambo had been especially rough on, tries to shoot and kill Rambo from a helicopter - but falls from the helicopter to his death when Rambo throws a rock at it in pure self defense. So now, at least for Sheriff Teasle, Rambo's a murderer and this now officially is a manhunt. Thing is. Rambo's very capable when it comes to fighting enemies outnumbering him, and he puts up traps to incapacitate Teasle and his men without killing them, in an attempt to convince Teasle to give up - but fact is, Rambo only makes things worse, as Teasle calls on the National Guard and sheriff departments from neighbouring counties to help with the search - and he receives a visit from Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), the man who trained him for the war a s a Special Forces operative, the man who has seen to it that he's the fighting machine Teasle and company have witnessed. Trautman offers his assistance, but initially, Teasle isn't interested - and soon enough it seems Rambo's finished when a squad of the National Guard blow up the entrance to a mine with Rambo inside. But Rambo has survived the blast and is quite capable finding another exit from the mine, and now it's payback time: Rambo steals an army truck, blows up a gas station, incapacitates the town's power supply, and zeroes in on the Sheriff office, with Teasle inside ...

 

Now Sylvester Stallone was one of the action superstars of the 1980s, and the Rambo-series sure helped to cement his status - and yet the series' first chapter First Blood is less reminiscent of action mainstream from the 1980s and actually more with the previous decade's New Hollywood: Sure, John Rambo, supersoldier, doesn't exactly sound like a 1970s anti-establishment character, but his image of an outsider and anti-hero, a man driven and tormented (both externally and internally), along with a certain kind of realism later films of the series lacked and a one-against-society attitude all starkly contrast the usual 1980s action fare. But that said, the film's still exciting enough and ticks all the boxes when it comes to action - but it can also be seen as a character study, and Sylvester Stallone really fits the role of the stoic veteran, and is supported by a rather first rate cast.

Totally worth a look, even (maybe especially) if the later films of the series are not your thing.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD