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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 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.
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on 25 August 2016
People often ask me why review old films that we already know are great. Ill tell you why. Because I love films and to do a quick review enables me to show a bit of affection for the movies I have loved all my life. One of of them being First Blood amongst many many others.

This classic is a pefect example of a Vietnam vet movie in which the very troubled Green Beret is still struggling with the civilian world many years after the war ended. John Rambo is still fighting a war.....in his head.

First Blood is by far the best charecter Sylvester Stallone has created since Rocky Balboa, bringing a real sense of vulnerability and depth that most actors perhaps could not with this type of film. Yes John Rambo did change slightly with the second and third film but was back to basics in the fouth film which I think is way up there with First Blood and one of the best action films ever.

First Blood though is simply wonderful and more of a drama than an action film when you look deeper into it. Stallone does a cracking job acting with pure conviction to the role. The ending is brilliant where John Rambo breaks down releasing his demons to Col Trautman. Some of the best acting I think Sly has ever pulled off. That scene even brings a lump to my throat.

The flash backs to Nam are realistic and horrific when you seevRambo being cut across the chest. And the scene where Rambo picks up the smashed bloody dead body of the police officer bully who falls from the chopper onto the rocks below. Sly looks disturbed as he stares into the dead eyes of the cop, with the music used in the flash back scenes building. What I love about that scene is that we don't get to see the image in Rambo's mind but Slys face says it all. God only knows what is going on in Rambo's head.

From the very first scene with the opening Jerry Goldsmith theme to the end credits with the fairly cheesy 80's balad the film never really let's up. Everything works perfectly.

So if you don't own a copy of First Blood then the Bluray is the copy to get because it's loaded with informative extras. The steel book is a nice edition and the limited edition granada box set with all four films is an absolute must.

I'm slighty mad as I own all of the films on steel book, the grenade, the DVDs with the original art work and a VHS box set of Rambo 1-3 that is still sealed.

I keep hearing that Stallone is going to make a 5th Rambo film called Last Blood. How true it is I don't know but fingers crossed.
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on 17 April 2016
A superb action film, much better than your average type.

John Rambo is a damaged Vietnam war vet travelling without purpose and trying to put his life into some kind of order when he is picked on by a group of bully policemen over what is basically a misunderstanding. Pushed too far Rambo fights back but will anything persuade him to stop?

The film features some great locations and some well directed action, the character also has a winning combination of hardness and vulnerability which helps the audience sympathies with his plight. Of course the premise is a touch absurd but is nothing compared to the sequels.

I suppose the character of Rambo could be seen as a metaphor of the trauma the whole of America went through as well as a critique of the way former soldiers are treated when they return back home with problems. The USA was deeply disturbed by what they went through in Vietnam and some of the defeated soldiers were seen as an embarrassment when they returned, with all their baggage, it didn't help that many were conscripts and unprepared for what lay ahead. When Rambo first appears in the film he is an unwanted, each person he meets tries to move him on, dismissing him as a drifter. The idea of a super solider turning on the country that has betrayed him is a chilling idea. Yet Rambo is our hero and the unfairness he undergoes continues as he faces an unfair fight, heavily outnumbered and outgunned. When first arrested the sheriff mistakes his state of trauma for stubbornness which only leads to greater bullying in order to try and break him down.

The film is shot in some beautiful mountainous woods in the winter with lovely cinematography, the mine scene was lit with just two matches but looks wonderful, the music adds a touch of softness to what might otherwise be a very hard character. The film has no female characters of any significance, this film is very much one for the guys.

Barely a single line of dialogue feels out of place or unnecessary. When the team hunting Rambo mention they left the first aid kit in the car, its shows how disorganized and not in control they have become, a stark contrast to their early pursuit of Rambo.

American Sniper drew a lot of attention to itself last year with it's exploration of PSD, but in a way First Blood was way ahead of the game. The film could have begun with Rambo being picked up by the Sheriff but instead it begins with him travelling to meet a fellow ex-solider who served with him all those years ago. This introduction shows Rambo is unable to relate to the outside world other than in an army context and just adds that touch of understanding to the character before it gets going.

The sun rarely shines in First Blood, it's only at the start that the light stretches out across the lake and the cheerful music plays as Rambo thinks he has found a place he'll be welcomed. As Rambo's vengeance reaches it's peak the story switches to night and even the lights from the buildings are shut down by Rambo. Stallone has very few lines in the film and it's a testament to his acting that we are able to identify so clearly with the character and his emotional state without needing a lot of dialogue, the original first cut of the film gave Rambo much more to do but the film makers cut a lot of this out, which in part helps build mystery around the character. Stallone also performed a lot of his own stunts and made suggestions with the script.

The antagonist in First Blood like many great ones, is a more complex character than he first appears, he is not "bad because he's bad" like in Rambo 3. At first he's just a law enforcement officer trying to protect his community, he senses trouble with Rambo and infers from Rambo's vague answers about his travelling plans that he plans to lodge in the town. The sheriff is not present when Rambo is beaten and abused and only knows that Rambo attacked his men and may well be crazy. His early pursuit of Rambo is mixed with caution, he berates an officer for trying to shoot Rambo in a crowded area and he originally wants to take him alive. It's hinted in the film in one scene that he may have fought in the Korean war where as Rambo served in the later Vietnam one. These wars mimic the strategy of the two men, the sheriff seeks to gather his full force together then hit his enemy with it, Rambo fights guerrilla war, leaving traps and trying to confuse and demoralize his foes. As the film develops though the Sheriff's frustration boils over and he becomes desperate to personally get Rambo. Unlike the sequels which follow where the enemy are Vietnamese, Russians and Burmese military, non-western types who are easy to dehumanize as a bad race, in First Blood however the enemy is Society and Rambo is at war with it, in the end the result is far more powerful.
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on 26 April 2017
This review applies only to the single DVD version (ASIN:B000050YLX). The average bitrate is 5436kbps. Picture and sound are both very good - much better than the previous DVD I watched.

It's a great movies and the only one of the Rambo movies worth watching (even though First Blood Part II continues the story). There is a powerful storyline. It's not just mindless action/violence as you might expect.
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on 28 November 2014
REVIEWED VERSION: 2008 Optimum UK DVD

Director: Ted Kotcheff

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy, Bill McKinney, Jack Starrett, Michael Talbott, David Caruso

SYNOPSIS

Returning Vietnam veteran John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is arrested for vagrancy by small town Sheriff Teasle (Brian Dennehy). When they abuse Rambo in jail, he escapes into the woods with the entire sheriff's station in pursuit. The hunters soon become the hunted as Rambo's survival instincts activate in an act of self-defense.

THE PROS & CONS

FIRST BLOOD shows the dispicable way many Vietnam veterans were treated after they returned. Think of the Vietnam war what you will, it was the government that ordered our boys there, if you blame anyone, blame the government. Freedom isn't free. Brave men fought an died so that we can enjoy our freedom. FIRST BLOOD is very critical of that era and has a very strong message, quite unique in the action genre.
The film is based on David Morrell's 1972 of the same name while the screenplay was written by Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim and Sylvester Stallone.
Excellent acting performances by Stallone as Rambo, Richard Crenna as Col. Trautman and Brian Dennehy as Sheriff Teasle. All three main characters are totally believable in their roles.
Superb directing job by Ted Kotcheff. Unlike the sequels, FIRST BLOOD does not rely entirely on action scenes and huge explosions. FIRST BLOOD is just as much survival/psychological thriller and drama and it makes this the superior film in the series, there is more substance to this film than there is to most action films of any time. It's incredibly well-paced with not a moment of boredom.
The stunningly beautiful cinematography (I need to get myself a Blu-Ray upgrade ASAP!) by Andrew Laszlo adds tremendously to the climax, so does the amazing score by Jerry Goldsmith.
The film received mixed reviews but nonetheless became a commercial success and a cult favorite. It grossed $47 million domestically, ranking as the 13th highest-grossing film of the year. It also was one of the most influential films in the action genre.
I personally would have preferred the original much darker but more realistic ending and did not care much for the ending in the final film. FIRST BLOOD still is one of the best action movies of all time and a definite must-own, even for non-Stallone fans like myself.

ON A SIDE NOTE

- filmed entirely in British Columbia, Canada, pretending to be Washington state

- based on a novel by David Morrell

- several famous actors were considered for the role of John Rambo including Kris Kristofferson, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, James Garner, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Jeff Bridges, Nick Nolte, Paul Newman, Ryan O'Neal and Michael Douglas

- Kirk Douglas and Lee Marvin were considered for the role of Col. Trautman

- another ending was filmed in which Rambo commits suicide but the test audience found it too depressing

- the first rough cut of the movie was 195 minutes long

DVD DETAILS

Feature running time: 89:39 mins. (uncut)
Rating: R (MPAA) / 15 (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 / 16:9
Audio: English 5.1, English 2.0
Subtitles: NONE
Extras: 2 Audio Commentaries, 2 Trailers (1:02) (1:12), A Look Back Featurette (4:06), Drawing First Blood Featurette (22:35), 2 Interviews w/ Sylvester Stallone (8:41) (15:52)
Region: 2 / PAL (locked)

Picture quality: 3/5
Audio quality: 4/5
Extras: 4/5

Good DVD with average picture quality (good given the age of the film) and good audio. Some really good extras, including 2 commentaries - not bad for a film of that age.
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on 26 July 2015
It is easily forgotten that Sylvester Stallone in 1982 was a highly thought of actor who produced a masterpiece in Rocky, and had a couple of worthy performances in F.I.S.T & Nighthawks. Later his career was pure trashy action flicks to rival his competitors such as Arnie and Dolph. First Blood is probably his last 'serious' film (until Copland), and it really is a cracker. Rambo at this point was a dangerous individual, and not the all American hero he would become in the sequels. Brilliant performance from Brian Dennehy, who almost steals the film from Sly, however no-one does the lone man fighter better than Stallone.
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on 27 March 2013
In short:

- The picture quality can't be better, although or especially because the movie is about 30 years old. Clearly defined colours and sharp resolution, even in dark scenes, let this movie become a new experience for all DVD-watchers.

- Only the German sound (5.1 dts) - and that's what is in my personal interest - is a bit tinny or muffled. One can virtually hear the lots of digital filters that made 5.1 from only Dolby Surround in the original film.

But, nonetheless, I would always prefer this timeless and uncut version again. Don't spend your money on the DVD-edition!

Für deutsche Kunden:

Kurz gesagt:

- Die Bildqualität kann nicht besser sein, obwohl oder gerade weil der Film schon 30 Jahre alt ist. Klar definierte Farben und gestochen scharfe Auflösung, auch in dunklen Szenen, lassen den Film eine ganz neue Erfahrung für alle DVD-Fans werden.

- Nur der deutsche Ton (5,1 dts) - und das ist, was mich persönlich interessiert - klingt ein bisschen blechern oder dumpf. Man kann praktisch die vielen digitalen Filter hören, die den 5.1-Ton aus nur Dolby Surround des Original-Films herausgeholt haben.

Aber nichtsdestotrotz würde ich immer wieder diese zeitlose und ungeschnittene Fassung bevorzugen . Vergeuden Sie nicht Ihr Geld mit der DVD-Edition!
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VINE VOICEon 2 December 2013
If you like to hear author's and/or actors discuss the story and movie making process then this is an excellent buy. I got it specifically because Sylvester Stallone (actor) and David Morrell (author) discuss FirstBlood. If you have listened to any of Stallone's commentaries before, you will know he is a contrast to the type of characters he plays on screen. He comes across as extremely knowledgeable, intelligent and very interesting, full of the kind of insight fans of these commentaries love. Likewise David Morrell is always honest, tells a great story and is never less than heartfelt. He comes across as a very nice guy, who is very pleased to have created one of the great action icons of the twentieth century. If you have any interest in fiction writing Morrell's books on the writing process are also excellent value for money.

As this is a blu-ray the image and audio are excellent but you can buy just that for less directly from the UK. The value of this is for the fans of the commentaries. Well worth the slightly elevated price.
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on 29 May 2015
I really enjoyed watching the original First Blood again, I had only ever seen it on TV or on VHS & both were badly framed 4:3 versions. Not on this Blu ray, here you get it fully restored to its original aspect ratio and the picture and sound are second to none, this is the best version of this film that I've seen. You also get a selection of extras: Trailer, commentaries etc. but for a film that is over 30 years old the picture & sound quality can not be faulted. I also have to say how much I like the cover artwork to my German region 2 copy.
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on 24 August 2017
Great Film.

On a recent family holiday, we visited the town of Hope in British Colombia, where this was filmed.

It reminded me of the film and I enjoyed watching it again.

Rambo, the original Bad Ass :-)
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