Sunday, July 27, 2008
Back in 1982 my uncle Ray wanted to go see a movie called First Blood that had just opened. His wife and kids weren't interested so I told him I'd go along. The movie starred Sylvester Stallone, who up to that point hadn't had a hit film that didn't concern rocky Balboa, so I didn't have high hopes for it. I ended up loving it. And of course it ended up being a huge commercial success and the name Rambo took on an identity of its own.
The first Rambo film had a reality about it that the next two movies in the series would lack. In First Blood John Rambo is a less a super human than he would become. He's a tortured, confused, lonely man who gets pushed too far until he finally pushes back and then there's hell to pay. A good solid story. The next two films strayed from the concept as Rambo became a camo-clad superman, mowing through armies of bad guys and basically doing impossible things. I watched both movies and enjoyed them for what they were but they didn't have the impact of first blood.
2008's Rambo manages to get a lot of the reality back. I watched it yesterday and was pleasantly surprised. Rambo has been pulled back to his roots. Still a loner. Still an outcast. And still not a man to push too far. And unless you count amazing accuracy with a bow or a handgun, this Rambo doesn't do anything superhuman. There's nothing in this one that a well trained former soldier couldn't actually do. Rambo is a dangerous human being, but he's human.
Now keep in mind, Stallone was 61 during the filming of this movie, You wouldn't think so to look at him. Sure he keeps his shirt on all through this one, but his arms are still well defined and when you see him running through the Burmese jungle you aren't going to think this guy is in his sixties. Check out the pic I included above to see what I mean. Go Sly.
Years ago when I was an auto parts salesman, one of the mechanics we did business with who knew I also taught martial arts and collected knives and handguns used to call me Rambo. I'm not much for nicknames but he always meant it in an affectionate way and from him I never minded. And once I owned a really nice replica of the knife Rambo carries in Rambo Three. Alas, it went missing in a burglary back at my old house. So as you can see, Rambo and I have some history. I'm glad he's back.