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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.77%
Worth A Look: 28.07%
Just Average: 21.05%
Pretty Crappy: 3.51%

2 reviews, 45 user ratings

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Rambo: First Blood Part 2
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by Slyder

"Misses the Point, and it’s lame"
1 stars

I guess Sylvester Stallone was in dire need for a hit again, his latest output after First Blood, Rocky III, a rather formulaic sequel became a hit, but it wasn’t as big as he hoped. Then he directed and starred in two of the worst films ever made, the John Travolta vehicle Staying Alive, and then playing a nobody turned country singer thanks to Dolly Parton’s breasts in Rhinestone. So, Stallone being Stallone went back to the OTHER well that had made him as success, the John Rambo character. First Blood was an effective action movie which also under its layers of explosions and gunfire was a rather heartbreaking story about the current mental state of affairs that several Vietnam veterans suffered and still suffer to this very day and how isolated many of them had become from society due to both internal and external factors. In the original novel, Rambo was killed because of the things he was forced to do after being bullied one last time, yet in the movie, he was allowed to live, and go to prison. That was all the excuse Stallone and his cronies needed to unearth a sequel, and since Stallone was a Reagan-supporting Republican, he proceeded to take the original film’s anti-war message and dump it in the garbage can and give us this rather stinking piece of crap of a film. Rambo First Blood Part 2 is nothing more than a rather ignorant, insulting and apologetic excuse to try and justify the USA’s failure over the Vietnam War, all disguised as a rampant, bloody action film.

I saw this film for the first time while growing up. I was barely 11 years old, and had little knowledge of Rambo other than the fact that he was this big musculous action hero who was lethal with guns, knifes and his bare hands. I heard much about the movies, and how action-filled it was. I never managed to see the first film until way later when I came to the States, and I always regretted not seeing the first film when it was aired just once in my time back in Mexico (perhaps there was other airings, but I was never aware of it; TV back in those days was more challenging in the fact that I was too lazy to get a TV guide). I saw both Part 2 and 3 in those days, and I enjoyed them for that they were: bloodstained action flicks, full of guns and explosions and fistfights. It was Rambo the good guy versus the Bad Guys the Communists. I was barely starting to learn about World History to know what the USSR and Communism was, let alone Vietham, and for all of you out there who were in 5th or 6th grade, you know what I mean.

Like I’ve mentioned before in several reviews, one grows up, and begins to read and take knowledge of these events and you begin to understand them, and films that you before just saw as mindless entertainment, soon began taking a more construed shape either for better or for worse. Regarding John Rambo, I finally managed to understand this characters’ tortured soul when I saw First Blood for the first time. This movie, along with films like Platoon and The Deer Hunter and Born in the Fourth of July gave me an insight about what life was for the Vietnam Vet and the damage he suffered and what the war inflicted both at the front and at home.

Unfortunately and amazingly (and as mentioned before in my earlier review of First Blood), Stallone simply lost sight or misunderstood that original message that was the heart of the movie, and simply decided (like other filmmakers who were influenced by First Blood’s technical standouts) to use the action sequences that were just the mechanics that made that movie flow, and place those at the heart of this sequel, along with a misguided sense of self-righteousness. And the results just show how far off the mark this film is compared to the original.

So, John Rambo (Stallone) is in prison, paying his sentence for the events that occurred in Hope, Oregon several years back. Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) comes with an offer that Rambo cannot refuse: there’s an American operation involving the rescuing of American POWs in Vietnam, and of course, the computer selected his name in order to be (get this) a reconnaissance operative to take pictures, and see if there is grounds for this rescue mission to take place. Of course, Rambo being Rambo is not going all the way into Vietnam just to take pictures for fuck’s sake, so after conveniently causing a ruckus in his plane and getting rid of al his gear save for his knife, bow and arrows, Rambo goes in and with the help of Vietnamese contact named Co Bao (Julia Nickson-Soul), he obviously is going in to -surprise, surprise!- rescue at least one of the hostages held in that Vietnamese camp that was supposed to be empty. When Rambo (and Trautman for that matter) is betrayed by Marshall Murdoch (Charles Napier), who’s the head politician in charge of the supposed “operation” by ditching him there at the mercy of the Viets, Rambo soon plans his escape from captivity (again), and once his soon to be love interest Co Bao is killed, Rambo goes on a rampage, kicking Russian and Vietnamese ass left right and center and bring back those POWs to safety.

The tone of this film is so absurd that it’s comparable to a bratty child who refuses to admit defeat even though he was beat in his favorite game fair and square. The film sets this up the moment that Rambo utters the line “Do we get to win this time?” What follows is your typical bitter Republican wet dream, which states that if we have had more soldiers like John Rambo, we could’ve won the Vietnam War. This selfish an absurd statement completely obfuscates whatever other points the movie later tries to make, such as the case of government self-ignorance over the confirmed existence of American POWs still alive in Vietnam and Laos, and the importance of giving due respect to the soldiers that fought and died there instead of resorting to discrimination. No, this film is simply determined to show the almighty muscular John Rambo do the job that the US Marines weren’t able to do the first time around. And when you think about that statement, not only is it ridiculous, but also insulting, because it offends and trashes the memory of the US soldiers that fought there since it's underhandedly calling them a bunch of INCOMPETENT fops who became easy prey to the yellow man. And that is just fucking low and revolting.

Cinematically, it’s your typical by-the-numbers action movie. Director George P. Cosmatos goes on autopilot, rehashing the old action sequences that Ted Kotcheff used so effectively back in First Blood, but whereas Kotcheff managed to mold his set pieces around a perfectly good story, Cosmatos is simply given nothing to work with, and has to rely on his action set pieces to tell the story regardless of how paper-thin and predictable it is and boy is the screenplay ever so. Consider the rather cumbersome scene where Rambo and a POW try to get to the Landing point in order to get picked up by the rescue helicopter; the scene plays out in such a melodramatic way that it feels like it goes on forever, making you roll your eyes out in despair. The screenplay (credited to Stallone, James Cameron [!] and Kevin Jarre) is also more full of logical fallacies and holes than your average beach hammock as well as we see Rambo and Co Bao elude capture apparently well enough to take some time to rest and have an intimate moment even though a couple of scenes ago they were firing rockets up their asses and being chased by soldiers all over the place. Then later the Vietnamese and Russian soldiers show astonishing incompetence in spotting Rambo or any of his booby traps that they get easily picked off one by one. And then in that “village scene” he manages to completely burn and destroy a good bunch of them with those little explosive arrows, which is cool, until you start thinking that there wasn’t any indication before in the scene that any of the villagers there left the area at all. So good going Rambo, you definitely obliterated the enemy completely, civilians an all.

Not that there’s anyone to feel sorry for, since there are no characters in this movie, only stereotypes. John Rambo is less a character and more of a one-dimensional cartoon; gone is the depth and mental complexity he had in the first movie and reduced to nothing more than a war machine that can only do three things, hunt, kill, and be tortured… oh, and show his pectoral muscles whenever he can (which hints for some people the fact that this movie is rather gay). Richard Crenna’s Trautman is reduced to a politically and morally correct mouthpiece while Charles Napier offers a counterpart, the cynical and disgusting bureaucrat who will do anything to prevent the truth regarding POWs to be known. Julia Nickson-Soul is completely non-existent as Stallone’s guide and later potential love interest; there’s nothing in her character that gives us insight to her reasoning as to why she wants to go to America, or why she even falls for Rambo, and therefore we don’t even feel sorry for her when she bites it. And then the film wants us to pull our emotional strings when that happens, since it’s one of the main baddies who killed her. Speaking of the baddies, they’re about as straightforward as they come. The Vietnamese Captain Vinh (William Ghent) and the Russian Commander Pudovsky (Steven Berkoff) are nothing more than your typical bad guys, hateful, remorseless shitbags (and Communists of course, lest we forget). No insight is given to these men, unlike Will Teasle a movie ago. No, these guys are just the bad guys and they are there to do things that bad guys do that will piss the audience off and make us all root for Rambo to cap their asses.

The most laughable piece in the movie in my opinion happens when we are first introduced to the Russians (whom obviously are the guys behind the Vietnamese puppets) as they show up to the camp… IN AN AMERICAN HUEY HELICOPTER! Only of course, it’s painted with Russian insignias and everything. I mean seriously, I couldn’t help but bust out in giggles when I saw that thing, especially when you look at the backside of the helicopter towards the tail rotor and you can clearly see the US Air Force star completely faded as if the Production Crew either didn’t have time taking it off that they just tried to spray paint it off as much as they could. It’s such an unintentionally hilarious prop and an absurd one considering that they could’ve shown the Russian Helicopter used later on in the climatic final battle for that intro, but no! I guess they had to save that helicopter in order to keep the surprise factor. And of course, you KNOW that Rambo will later on in the movie seize that Russian controlled Huey in order to use it to blow up to smithereens the Vietnamese camp; American Huey+Rambo = total carnage! Oh what a wonderful sight! And then later on (spoiler be damned), when Pudovsky in his Russian gunship has apparently Rambo’s Huey where he wants him, Rambo produces out of nowhere a LAW launcher blowing him straight to Hell. This deus ex machina moment sums up rather nicely the utter ludicrousness of this film.

Ugh, by the time the show was over, I pondered about opportunity that this movie had wasted so stupidly. American Journalist Sydney Shanberg (yes, that Sydney Shanberg, the Sam Waterston character from The Killing Fields) wrote extensively about the US Government’s refusal to classify as reliable evidence the dozens of POW sightings that came out of Vietnam, Laos and Thailand over the course of the years in the aftermath of the war. I believe that he should’ve also written about Hollywood’s utter incompetence in helping to shed some light in the matter. Between November of 1984 and May of 1985, Hollywood saw the release of Chuck Norris’s Missing In Action and this flick. Instead of trying to reach out to audiences and put some consciousness on the matter, Hollywood instead decided to use conservative propaganda in order to make the point (and why not? Reagan was in power!). The results of course were disastrous, because not only these two films turned out to be rather awful and ridiculous, but they also managed to simply shun the main point that both supposedly wanted to show, and replaced it with mindless action-fests with the attention span of a 12 year old.

With no brains to show for (and of course, the audience that dares watch these films better check their brain at the door), they turned out to be nothing more than apologetic crapshoots about a war that Americans should not have gone to fight in the first place. 1-5.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1258&reviewer=235
originally posted: 06/29/09 14:17:45
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell good action DO NOT take it seriously 3 stars
11/29/14 D. The R. In many ways, even more contemptible than The Green Berets - and I'm a Vietvet! 1 stars
8/15/10 bored mom There's a reason why the NES game is based on this instead of the original First Blood. 2 stars
6/29/09 Sugarfoot Slyder's review is somehow even dumber than Rambo II, and that says something. 3 stars
6/29/09 JR Slyder, this an embarrassing review. “Way later”?How old R U? & whats with u & "like"? 4 stars
4/19/09 dacog1 BEAST GREAT MOVIE 5 stars
3/30/08 Arcane Good movie...until the escape scene from the russians. Then rambo becomes unhittable. Blah. 3 stars
3/26/08 Tim The worst of the series - laughable, campy, and a little offensive 2 stars
2/05/07 action movie fan one of the best. the definitive stallone and cosmatos film 5 stars
10/18/06 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
9/11/06 Indrid Cold They don't make them this dumb or exciting anymore. 4 stars
7/07/06 JM Synth A Classic of the genre + its influence on pop culture cannot be denied 4 stars
1/01/06 cody a very good sequel with lot more action and stallone gives better perf. in this one 4 stars
8/18/05 ES Completely destroys the credibility of the character created in 1st blood= sad 1 stars
8/15/05 Klondo with the exception of tank vs. helicopter, part 3 is better 4 stars
7/28/05 tony platoon with sylvester stallone and thats it. 1 stars
6/30/05 Eddie A very good acting job by Sly a great movie 5 stars
3/12/05 Ronin Hmm actually I used to like it. A lot. IMHO it IS a classic of the genre. 5 stars
2/15/05 Sugarfoot I remember liking it when I was 16, and now enjoying it drunk. Go figure. 3 stars
2/05/05 Tom Benton Though in no way brainy, "Rambo" is the true definition of a man's movie. 3 stars
1/07/05 Al Guy Good action movie. 4 stars
6/08/04 Monster W. Kung A laugably retarded PIECE OF SHIT 1 stars
11/27/03 John rather disturbing in its simplicity and stupidity - horrendous sequel to a great film 1 stars
7/26/03 J Rambo rules!! 4 stars
7/13/03 Sam Moszynski Dumb and unintentionally funny, which makes it entertaining! 3 stars
6/23/03 Jack Bourbon Loved it (in 1985). 4 stars
5/17/03 Andrew Carden So Bad, It's Good. Stallone Gives An Energetic Performance. 4 stars
4/21/03 Dana Carvey must DIE!!! James Cameron associated with this shit? 1 stars
3/09/03 Jack Sommersby Decent, but there's little in the way of heart here. 3 stars
3/08/03 jack b nimble Propoganda rambo sees vietnamese rambo kills vietnamese 4 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent Not as good as the first but sill awesome 4 stars
5/17/01 Monster W. Kung So bad it's hilarious. 1 stars
5/13/01 R.W. Welch OK action flick, check your brain at the door. 3 stars
4/24/01 viking Stallone looks completely stupid now 3 stars
1/14/01 Sklorsh Rambo! The war is over dammit! (count how many times he reloads - 0) 4 stars
11/27/00 Cristopher Revilla an ok movie, ending was good 4 stars
10/21/99 rania Best movie ever made 5 stars
7/23/99 Hagbard Celine This film makes me want to go out and burn an American flag. Ronald Reagan sucks!!! 1 stars
4/26/99 Lucas jackson if you like torture,blood and a large body count get RAMBO 4 stars
11/04/98 RAMBO I RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
11/02/98 Johny Just an excuse for a body count, but it entertained me when it came out 3 stars
11/02/98 Silent Rob If only they could make a Sgt. Fury movie this good! 4 stars
11/01/98 Vick Di Brecci I liked this movie a lot when I was a kid so four stars for nostalgia's sake 4 stars
11/01/98 Negative Creep One of the Highest DeathCounts in a film ever, halfway decent flick. 3 stars
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  02-Jul-1985 (R)
  DVD: 23-Nov-2004


  02-Feb-1986 (M)

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