Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)

rambo first blood part ii poster 1985 movie
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 9/10

Totally '80s movie where everything blows up big

Bad acting and story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Rambo:  First Blood Part II

Studio:  Anabasis Investments

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  May 22, 1985

MPAA Rating:  R

rambo first blood part ii montage sylvester stallone

To win a war, you gotta become a war!

John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is serving time in a hard-labor prison for his actions and been offered a second chance.  Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) has enlisted Rambo to work for Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier) who is doing reconnaissance in Vietnam to find missing POWs.  Ordered to photograph a base, Rambo is teamed with a local girl named Co-Bao (Julia Nickson), but when the plan goes sideways, Rambo learns getting out of Vietnam might be harder than he believed.

Directed by George P. Cosmatos, Rambo:  First Blood Part II was an action adventure movie.  A sequel to 1982’s First Blood, the movie featured a script penned by Sylvester Stallone and James Cameron.  The movie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Effects and Sound Effect Editing but won Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone…also for Rocky IV), Worst Screenplay, Worst Original Song (“Peace in Our Life”) with nominations for Worst Supporting Actress (Julia Nickson), Worst Director, and Worst New Star (Nickson).

rambo first blood part ii mud scene sylvester stallone

This works for Predators too

Often just called Rambo 2, the film was a real game changer for the franchise.  It was a film that everyone was talking about and kids at school who got to see it talked about all the kills (particularly Rambo coming out of the mud).  I can remember seeing First Blood after Rambo 2 came out and questioning why Rambo was insane.  The John Rambo presented in First Blood Part II is generally the Rambo that became an icon.

Rambo became an American hero in this movie.  The first movie dealt with the very serious issues of Vietnam vets trying to fit in after returning and pointed the finger at America as the problem.  Here, Rambo gets even…and became an American hero.  He is pleading for the everyman and big do-nothing government bureaucrats.  He fights the evil Vietnamese, Soviets, and the men not helping the US rescue their men.

Any acting chops that Sylvester Stallone demonstrated in Rocky and First Blood is pretty much discredited beginning here.  The movie is the movie which provided the parody of Sylvester Stallone and turned him into a joke.  He is invincible and just yells a lot.  He’s backed up by a supporting cast which delivers bombastic speeches about Rambo and what drives him.  It isn’t good and the actors come off as very one dimensional.

rambo first blood part ii charles napier sylvester stallone

He takes out bureaucrats too!!!

What sells Rambo:  First Blood Part II is that it is a totally awesome ’80s movie loaded with the action movie cliches of the time.  If you had to find the definition of an ’80s action film, I’d argue that Rambo:  First Blood Part II is the epitome of ’80s action.  The movie just has tons of kills, explosions, and gunfights (and an army of men with machine guns etc. that can’t hit one man).  Everything blows up in Rambo:  First Blood Part II…it doesn’t matter what it is.

Rambo:  First Blood Part II is virtually so-bad-it-is-good, but it is an interesting period piece as well.  Rambo became an icon of the ’80s and was even popularized by Ronald Reagan who used Rambo’s aggressive approach to combatting enemies as a kind of style of dealing with foreign countries.  Rambo:  First Blood Part II isn’t a good movie but it is highly entertaining and the lack of computer special effects leaves the movie looking rather natural.  Rambo:  First Blood Part II is followed by Rambo III in 1988.

Related Links:

First Blood (1982)

Rambo III (1988)

Rambo (2008)

Rambo:  Last Blood (2019)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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