Directed by: Ted Kotcheff
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna
It’s easy to make fun of Sylvester Stallone. Very, very easy. Still, when you watch movies like Rocky and this first Rambo movie, it’s easy to remember how he became the action star he turned into: Because people got distracted by the action stuff and missed out on the fact that what Stallone does well is play pitiable losers.
John Rambo is a Vietnam veteran who returns to the States to try and find the last remaining members of his special forces group. He’s pushed around by the local cops in the small town he goes into, treating him as a vagrant, and he starts getting flashbacks and completely flips out. Unfortunately for the police, Rambo is the greatest guerrilla fighter ever, and he easily avoids them and then takes them out. Rambo’s old colonel comes in to try and diffuse the situation, but is he TOO LATE?!?!!
There’s some cool action scenes in here, sure. And I can definitely see the appeal of the film for the types of people who collect knives and guns and fetishize war, blissfully unaware of the irony therein. For me, the best part of the movie is when Rambo just breaks down over how unfair his treatment has been coming back from Vietnam and how he can’t even get a job and etc etc. Stallone actually turns in a pretty powerful performance of a tough guy just pushed over the edge (but not in the standard action movie way of thinking of it), and it’s kinda too bad that it’s a clearly overlooked strength of his as an actor.