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First Blood

AKA: Rambo: First Blood
 
 
In 1972, America was going through a certain turmoil, disaffected students and activists protested over the war raging in Vietnam. Violence erupted on campus as riots broke out, resulting in civilian deaths at the hands of the police and President Nixon's establishment. It was at this time a young writer had an idea for a novel that would somehow bring the conflict in Vietnam back to his hometown.

David Morrell was a disillusioned student who unwittingly created an icon of the 80's and one of the most successful anti-hero's in modern cinema.

First Blood tells the story of John Rambo, a war veteran who is alienated from the society he has returned to and resorts to violence in order to free himself from the prejudice that engulfs him. Shot in British Columbia, the picture is a triumph and in may ways an initiation for the all-out action movie.

Directed by Ted Kotcheff, who took on the project after it passed through many hands. Sylvester Stallone was given the role after his success in Rocky and other films where his underdog persona was spotted by producers Kassar and Vajna. They decided to incorporate this into their movie and tone down the stupendous violence contained in Morrells novel (the death count being around 200 in the book).

After being ousted from a "small hick town" by an overbearing and brilliant Brian Dennehy with his team of deputies, including David Caruso (NYPD Blue, King Of New York, Kiss Of Death), Rambo is hunted by police, army and the national guard. Presumed dead, he returns to the town community and wreaks havoc and in an emotional finale surrenders to Richard Crenna's, Colonel Traughtman, his mentor and commanding officer in 'Nam.

Verdict?

An 80's landmark and superb action film, good performances from all involved and photographed with care showing the true nature of the wilderness adventure. the movie became the perfect vehicle for Stallone's testosterone fuelled career. Sequels followed but by now the true character of John Rambo was a parody of what David Morrell had created. Rambo 2 & 3 were a success worldwide but you can't help thinking that First Blood was the only realisation close to the original authors heart.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Great piece of early 80's culture. A true classic.

Weaknesses? Some would wrongly label this a 'stupi gung-ho warmongers movie', It isn't. Its message is anti-war.

Our rating: 9 out of 10


Review Written by Nik Allen:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Nik Allen
First Blood