Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy, Richard Crenna
Directed by: Ted Kotcheff
Written By: Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim, Sylvester Stallone
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 33 min
Over thirty years after its initial release First Blood still resonates, and while it’s primarily a well made piece of commercial action entertainment, you’d be wrong to assume this was all mindless machismo dialog and huge explosions. First Blood has a lot more to offer, and asks the audience to consider the poor treatment of veterans returning home after years fighting in Vietnam.
As Rambo, Sylvester Stallone is perfectly cast. Credible as a ex-green beret as he throws himself physically into the part, and believable as a haunted Vietnam veteran mentally scarred after many years at war. Brian Dennehy is also good as Teasle, the xenophobic small town sheriff who takes on more than he can handle when he pushes Rambo too far. Richard Crenna as Colonel Trautman is really the only weak link in the cast. Not so believable as the commanding officer that supposedly trained Rambo, and nearly every line of dialog he had is delivered with all the weight and emotional resonance of a movie poster tag-line.
With the beautiful Golden Ear provincial park in British Columbia as backdrop, the movie looks amazing. Jerry Goldsmith’s score also adds a great dramatic tone to the film. The action is well staged, and never becomes over the top or cartoonish. It’s violent, but in a controlled way that serves the story rather than try to dazzle or shock the audience. First Blood is a true action classic.
If you’re looking for mindless over the top action nonsense, this movie isn’t for you. If you like your action films to be a little more than a huge pyrotechnic fireworks display, give this a viewing. You won’t be disappointed.
The British Columbia back drop is fantastic, and Jerry Goldsmith’s score is superb. If a screening was available at a theater near you then I suggest you take advantage. At home, a HD viewing brings out the best in this film.
Best elements for me:
Stallone’s performance and Jerry Goldsmith’s score.