somehow i made it 29 plus years without ever seeing more than 15 consecutive minutes of any rambo movie until last night. i think i had a strong desire to see rambo when i was 10, but we had an unbreakable no-watching-rated-r-movies rule in my family. around that time i went to a birthday sleepover at my friend david miller’s. there was talk in school the week before the sleepover that we may be watching rambo 2. instead we watched commando starring arnold s and that girl who was on who’s the boss and is, according to a post from our sports blog, a huge dodgers fan. that’s the first rated-r movie i ever saw.
one of my roommates, a mister fu q. wee, swears by the rambo franchise. mostly he thinks its funny how the violence in each movie increases exponentially. according to him, the latest rambo movie is the bloodiest hollywood release of all time. but i can’t back up the claim. but it does sound pretty violent, according to fu q. wee.
here’s the limits of my rambo experiences: sunday i watched the last 15 minutes of rambo 2; last night i watched rambo, first blood in its entirety (almost).
first rambo 2. so rambo, i guess, frees all these p.o.w.’s on his own then busts into some army base, heads straight for all these computers and mows them down with his machine gun. this scene is super-sexual. a shirtless, sweaty rambo with his gun extending from his hip. it’s all shot in slow-motion. close-ups of both the bullets coming out and the discharged shells. (i don’t know anything about guns, but i think what i’m describing makes sense.) that’s funny. then rambo almost kills a general or something. then the movie ends with rambo saying something about wanting america to love him the way he loves america. i’m not sure what to make out of this ending. what kind of love is rambo talking about given that he just blew his entire (ammo) load?
rambo 1, or rambo: first blood, is something else entirely. one of the most interesting things about the rambo series is that the first movie pits rambo against a local police force that hassles him because they think he’s a hippy while the rest of the movies have him over seas saving pows and killing communists. so rambo was in the special ops in vietnam and was the best killer the usa had. now he’s hiding in the woods after beating the shit out of multiple police officers who tried to cut his hair. so you have the local cops and the national guard and rambo’s old officer hunting rambo down in the forest. they’ve got more manpower, better weapons and technology which they believe makes them militarily superior and it’s just a matter of time before they hunt down rambo. rambo has almost no weapons — other than a knife and guns that he steals from the cops — and uses stealth and booby traps to not only escape capture but also makes hunting rambo a dangerous proposition. at first, many of the people hunting rambo are just people from the town recruited (drafted) by the cops and their hunting dogs. (rambo kills all the dogs.) so this movie is reenacting the vietnam war: cops = america, rambo = north vietnam.
then the war moves out of the woods and into the town and rambo blows up the entire town. the end.