Bullet Points: First Blood
On October 22nd, 1982 the movie world was first introduced to the character John Rambo in First Blood.
I am not sure how companies that sell testosterone boosting products are still in business when all a man really needs to boost his testosterone is to put First Blood in their Blu-Ray player and hit play.
There’s so much machismo and testosterone in this movie a woman could become pregnant by simply watching it for more than 10 minutes at a time.
Here’s the Bullet Points…
- In The Beginning: The movie starts off rather simply, John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is making his way on foot through the Pacific Northwest looking for an old Army buddy. When he arrives at his buddy’s address he finds out from one of the few women in this movie that his buddy passed away last summer from cancer caused by the Agent Orange he was exposed to in Vietnam. Rambo’s plan for a reunion didn’t pan out so he goes on his way and that’s when things get interesting.
- Meet the Sheriff: As Rambo enters the small town of Hope, he is approached by Sheriff Teasle (Brian Dennehy). The Sheriff looks at Rambo and sees nothing but a drifter who will cause trouble for his sleepy little town, so he wants to do all he can to get Rambo on his way. He offers to drive him to the outskirts of town and get Rambo on his way to Portland. He may be the Sheriff but he certainly is not the head of the hospitality committee. After he drops Rambo off, instead of continuing on towards Portland, Rambo heads back into Sheriff Teasle’s town. Obviously Teasle is not pleased and the next thing you know Rambo is under arrest.
- Flashbacks: Rambo is not treated kindly by Hope’s finest. They rough him up, hose him down and disrespect him through out… this causes flashbacks to Rambo’s painful memories of his time in Vietnam and eventually causes him to snap and escape police custody and into the wilderness. We now have a man hunt on our hands! And as Rambo himself points out to Teasle, that Teasle may be the law in town, but out in the wild Rambo is the law.
- Who is John Rambo?: We learn that Rambo just isn’t another Vietnam vet. He was a Green Beret and the best damn Green Beret you could ask for. Which explains why he has been able to handle himself so well with the odds stacked against him. He was trained by Colonel Sam Troutman (Richard Crenna) who subscribed to the same philosophy as former Sooners head coach Barry Switzer… “when you recruit a player you recruit them for life”. When Troutman hears about the trouble Rambo is in, he is on the scene to try to talk Rambo down and bring him back with him. I guess you could say Rambo is a Sam Troutman Guy.
Most actors would be happy to say they had one iconic role in their lifetime, but Sylvester Stallone can boast that he had two. First with Rocky Balboa, second with John Rambo. Stallone excels at playing characters the audience can really get behind and First Blood is a great introduction to the character John Rambo.
Some comparisons can be made between the Rambo series and the Death Wish series. In both cases the original films are serious in nature. One addressing the plight Vietnam vets had when they came back from the war and the other the rise of crime in urban areas in the 1970’s. And both got more and more over the top with each sequel too.
First Blood is quite simply a first rate action film. Great story, great cast and good dose of adrenaline pumping action weaving it all together. Plus, you can watch this one over and over again, which to me is the highest praise you can give a movie.
Before I go, here are a few First Blood Bonus Bullet Points…
- Young David Caruso: Before he was taking his sunglasses off on CSI: Miami and even before he quit N.Y.P.D. Blue after one season to pursue a movie career that never really got off the ground, David Caruso was in First Blood. His character Mitch sums up the action in the wilderness perfectly when he points out that the cops aren’t hunting Rambo, he’s hunting them.
- Memorable Quote: Colonel Trautman describing Rambo’s skills, “You don’t seem to want to accept the fact you’re dealing with an expert in guerilla warfare, with a man who’s the best, with guns, with knives, with his bared hands. A man who’s been trained to ignore pain, ignore weather, to live off the land, to eat things that would make a billy goat puke.”
- Why Did It Have To Be Rats?: I like that as tough and skilled and deadly as Rambo is, he still got freaked out by the rats in the cave. Everybody’s afraid of something… even John Rambo.
- Rumor and Innuendo: Other actors considered for the role of John Rambo included Al Pacino, James Garner, Dustin Hoffman and Kris Kristofferson. There is even a story out there that role was originally Steve McQueen’s but due to his untimely death it never happened.
- Novel Approach: The Rambo character and his story were adapted from David Morell’s novel First Blood. The novel was released in 1972 and Morell almost immediately sold the film rights to Columbia Pictures. Over the course of the next decade it has been said the movie rights were bought and sold by three different companies before it was finally purchased by Andrew G. Vajna and Mario Kassar.