Sylvestor Stallone returns as John Rambo, one of his most notorious characters - behind Rocky, of course. This time around, Rambo is not restricted to injuring police officers in the Pacific Northwest - he is pitted against an entire army of Vietnamese and Russian communists. In this sequel, the body count is higher and so is the entertainment value.
Recently released in an "Ultimate" set that contains all three movies, "Rambo: First Blood Part II" is a fun and fast-paced action film. The original "First Blood" movies was more subdued as it tried to present action while lecturing the audience on how the country turned its back on Vietnam veterans; its sequel throws much of the deeper subtext out the window and focuses on Rambo's kick-ass nature. The movie does tackle the politics of war a bit, but "Rambo" is far and away a pure action movie. Rambo infiltrates Vietnam, is left for dead by the U.S., and is forced to kill a whole bunch of enemy troops to escape. It's as simple as that.
The movie is most definitely a man's movie, but it's a good one. Having never watched this movie up until now (2004), I had no nostalgic sentimentalities toward the "Rambo" films, an element that often clouds the minds when it comes to determining the quality of action movies from the 1980's. Most of the action movies that are considered classics of the decade would fail nowadays, whether it be because of our obsession with political-correctness, or merely a demand for more complicated plots. Regardless, "Rambo," twenty years later, withstands time very well; aside from Stallone's horrible hairdo, the film is still very crisp and entertaining.
The new "Ultimate" DVD really adds little to the mix, as its only special feature is "Survival Mode," a plethora of minor add-ons to the movie that can be accessed while watching the film. The disc for "First Blood" included a couple of deleted scenes, but all this one has to offer is an audio commentary; I would have at least liked to have seen the trailer.
The DVD for this second "Rambo" film isn't anything special, but the movie itself withstands the wearing of time very well. It's an entertaining and action-packed film that shows Stallone at the top of his game.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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