Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
an excellent film
on 5 June 2016
"First Blood" (1982) is a action film with psychological undercurrents. It stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, one of the defining roles if his acting career. It's a popular movie, and inspired three sequels. This first film in the saga is based on a bestselling novel, by David Morrell, which - in the midst of an action storyline - explores some of the difficulties faced by soldiers returning home to the USA after fighting in Vietnam, and the post traumatic stress suffered. The book introduced Rambo - although it was this film series that turned the character into a global phenomenon.
The film concerns John Rambo, who's living as a vagrant, being picked up by local police in a small town in rural America. The police don't particularly like Rambo's looks or attitude. In turn, Rambo doesn't seem to care about what the police think ... He's arrested, and while being detained is mistreated by some of the officers. During a moment of flashback - to an ordeal during the Vietnam War, when he was tortured - Rambo gets mad, fights the police officers and escapes. Hiding in the nearby mountains, Rambo is pursued by the police. It's then that the police learn that Rambo is an elite warrior - an ex-special forces soldier who's trained to evade capture, survive in the wilderness, and kill the enemy using any tactics. Ultimately, the police utterly fail to apprehend Rambo - and so now the military join-in the manhunt, led by Rambo's former commanding officer Colonel Sam Trautman. In the final act of the film, Rambo destroys the local town - and then, persuaded by Trautman, gives himself up.
This is a violent film. Yet it's not violence for its own sake, merely to titillate. Rather, the storyline is handled in a serious manner - and Rambo's tortured psyche is explored (being clearly depicted in the final scene, when he suffers an emotional breakdown). This is as much a drama about a man being mistreated, and refusing to simply accept such mistreatment, as it is an action film. Stallone acts well, portraying the central protagonist in a meaningful way. He's brilliantly supported by both Richard Crenna and Brian Dennehy.
This is a defining film of the 1980's - inspiring a host of copy-cat movies. The Blu-ray edition presents excellent quality video and audio. Unfortunately, it has few special features.