Six hours of monosyllabic John Rambo high jinks, best savoured in surround sound (for the bone-rattling explosions) and with your brain on pause (for everything else). Sylvester Stallone's second signature character, after Rocky, a seething ex-Green Beret killing machine, went from Viet-vet victim in the original picture, First Blood
, flipping out over the ingratitude of his beloved homeland, to a muscle-bound terminator in Rambo III
, mowing down Commies in the deserts of Afghanistan. The middle chapter, Rambo: First Blood Part 2
, written by James Cameron and directed by George Pan Cosmotos, is the most balanced and satisfying of the three films: Rambo is dropped back into 'Nam to rescue some POWs, and the action builds steadily in scale and ferocity. Each fireball seems to be bigger than the last. Of all the recent headbanger action movies, only the first Die Hard
offers more bang for the buck. The underrated character actor Richard Crenna (a standout sleazebag in Body Heat
), as Rambo's military mentor and staunch defender, is the series' secret weapon, providing some welcome human ballast. --David Chute
Box set containing the entire Rambo saga. In 'First Blood', disturbed Vietnam vet John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) spends his days wandering from town to town, searching out his old service colleagues. When he resists a local sheriff's attempts to make him leave town, he is arrested for vagrancy. While in prison Rambo is forced to endure the abuse of a sadistic deputy, until he escapes and takes to the woods, relying on his old army skills to survive. In 'Rambo - First Blood Part 2', Rambo is again serving time in a federal prison when his old commander, Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), arranges his release. A group of American soldiers are still being held as prisoners of war in Vietnam, and Trautman wants Rambo to return to the killing fields on a daring rescue mission. In 'Rambo 3', Rambo has entered a Buddhist monastery in a bid to find inner peace. However, when his friend and mentor Colonel Trautman is captured in war-torn Afghanistan, Rambo sets out to save him.