When the chance arose to put all 5 Rambo movies on Blu-ray (even though I’d never seen one before), I jumped at it. So I decided to start a series of franchise films in 2021 to get me through May, and I decided to start with the Rambo films, the first of which was First Blood in 1982.
I must have read the First Blood roundup a dozen times, but there was no way it prepared me for what I saw. Given that this film is almost 40 years old, the plot seems terribly topical, given that in 2020 there will have been a significant backlash of police violence. Seriously, the opening scenes with the MPs lighting up Rambo (especially after the short flashback during which the ex-soldier is tortured in Vietnam) are very difficult to watch, and I was very close to giving up the film. What do I really care? Not so long ago, I would have had a hard time believing cops could do something like that, but after the last few years…. It all seems too real now. The people called to protect us can be monstrous. I know this isn’t all Rambo does in retaliation, but come on, did you see what they did to Rambo? It’s so confusing!
The whole film is a not so subtle message about PTSD and what happens when you subtly turn a person into a killing machine for the army, and then send him into a civilian life that (apparently) doesn’t care about him or herself or what he or she experienced during his or her shift. Knowing that, I sympathised with Rambo from the beginning, especially because he makes it clear that he just wants to move on and be left alone. All the chaos that occurs at the climax of the film is due to the fact that the smart sheriff Rambo couldn’t leave him alone. I have no sympathy for Chisle, he caused all this, even after many warnings to let him go.
And then there is the character of Colonel Troutman, who recruited Rambo and trained him to what he became. He seems to be the only voice of reason in this crazy story, but I think Cheadle was right about one thing: Troutman knows he’s partly responsible because he trained Rambo in the first place, so I think he’s unconsciously protecting himself before anything else happens. But at the same time, I think Troutman is sincere in his desire to help Rambo, and if you want to see good acting, look at Troutman’s reaction to Rambo’s breakup at the end of the film.
I also liked the scene in which Rambo is trying to chase the delegates (more or less) who are trying to chase him into the forest (the ones who caught Rambo). It’s actually quite scary and intense, with a thunderstorm, and you never know when Rambo will show up or when the fall is going to blow.
First Blood is an intense film, but in the end I enjoyed watching it. It will be interesting to see how the series continues.
Let me know what you think of First Blood in the comments below and have a great day!
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