Review: First Blood – Rambo: First Blood (1982)

First Blood – Rambo: First Blood (1982)

Directed by: Ted Kotcheff | 94 minutes | action, drama, thriller | Actors: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy, Bill McKinney, Jack Starrett, Michael Talbot, Chris Mulkey, John McLiam, Alf Humpreys, David Caruso, David L. Crowley, Don MacKay, Charles A. Tamburro, David Petersen, Craig Huston , Patrick Stack, Stephen E. Miller, Raimund Stamm, Robert Metcalfe, Stephen Dimopoulos, Bruce Greenwood, Earl Klein, Danny Wozna, Peter Lonstrup, Mike Winlaw, Donald Adams, David Menzies, Frank Richter, Graham L. Galativik, Ian Hutchinson, Amy Alexander, Gary Hetherington, Alex Kliner, RG Miller

In the action movie ‘First Blood’ we see Sylvester Stallone for the first time as the taciturn war veteran, John Rambo. The first part is the best in the series, although it should be noted that the first hour stands out the most in terms of quality. For ‘Sly’ Stallone, ‘First Blood’ marked a new success story after breaking through six years earlier in ‘Rocky’ (1976). The tone of ‘First Blood’ is serious; there is no room for humor or other light-hearted entertainment. To illustrate, at the beginning we see a good-natured Stallone walking, who visits a war buddy of his only to learn a little later that he is no longer alive. The bad news is a harbinger and is immediately apparent in Stallone’s sudden grimace. The war veteran is in the wrong place at the wrong time when he meets the local police chief, Teasle (Brian Dennehy). Out of nowhere a power struggle develops between the two stubborn figures, both of whom do not give an inch to each other. The authoritarian Teasle (a good role by Dennehy) brings out something in Rambo that would be better left under the surface. The strength of ‘First Blood’ lies in the way America treats its war veterans, or rather: doesn’t deal with it. Rambo, who has been awarded several times, seems like a stranger in his own country, without work and prospects. Teasle and his colleagues seem to be frustrated provincials who have not forgotten the bad outcome in Vietnam and who do not know how to deal with someone who experienced the horrors up close. In fact, they challenge Rambo (with a razor) and humiliate him (nude in the shower in the corner with a pressure washer) at the local jail.

The role of Rambo seems to fit Stallone perfectly. For most of the film, the actor, born in the feisty New York neighborhood ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, has little text and lets his fists do the talking. Only at the end, when he is in the same room with his former Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna), does he let his emotions run wild and we see the Stallone we know so well from his other films: crooked-mouth talk and uncontrolled motor skills . You have sympathy for the wounded Vietnam veteran for a long period of time in the film, but as the death toll continues to rise, the protagonist’s empathy for and credibility diminish. The theatrical role of Crenna, who regards the unleashed Rambo as ‘his boy’, does little good either. The above does not alter the fact that ‘First Blood’ is full of action. For example, we see a cornered Stallone who panics and dives into a tree tens of meters high to escape from his assailants. Stallone, as usual, did the stunt himself and suffered serious injuries to his ribs. Also exciting are the scenes of the police trying to catch Rambo in the mountainous area around the town of Hope. Trained for these conditions, Rambo is hunted by a pair of cops, including David Carruso (“CSI”) and Michael Talbot (“Miami Vice”), in an ambiance reminiscent of the remote jungle from Walter Hill’s “Southern Comfort.” ‘ (1981).

‘First Blood’ is the first and perhaps best film in the series of ‘Rambo’ films. You are first introduced to the taciturn John Rambo, who is, as it were, forced to use violence against his attackers. Good roles from Stallone, Dennehy and Carruso. Only Crenna stands out with a role that makes him laugh as he continues to defend Rambo even as he burns half a city to ashes. Top of the action genre.

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