Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier, Julia Nickson, Martin Kove, Steven Berkoff
Directed by: George P. Cosmatos
Written by: Sylvester Stallone, James Cameron
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 7 min
After the success of First Blood back in 1982, it seemed inevitable we’d get a sequel for Rambo. Which I believe the business savvy Stallone knew all along as he did reject killing off the character at the end of the first movie. Three years later it arrives, and while a lot of the same elements are present, the second installment seems more interested in all out action and box office receipts rather than communicating any horrors of the Vietnam war. Which is all well and good, and it’s certainly not the only film that ever used a real live war as a basis for movie entertainment. I just think the second installment could have taken itself a little less seriously.
As I said, most of the elements from First Blood are present in the sequel. Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) returns and is even more brooding and moody than before. Col. Samuel Trautman (Richard Crenna) is back as Rambo’s personal public relations agent, and in this installment Charles Napier is playing the part of the government stooge Rambo much teach a lesson to. This time around however, Rambo is sent back to Vietnam to supposedly find America prisoners of war. The problem is, he actually finds some when he wasn’t supposed to, which ends up giving the US government another fine opportunity to piss Rambo off! Cue the extreme pyrotechnics and bloody violence!
Rambo part 2 isn’t anywhere near as good as First Blood in my opinion, but it is somewhat of a guilty pleasure. It’s a simplistic and solidly made action film, that appeals to your inner child’s sense of justice. Because First Blood Part 2 operates on the same cerebral level as a G.I. Joe cartoon or WWF fight. Lots of big bad two-dimensional villains, a tanned uber muscular America hero taking them down, and plenty of fireworks. So while your adult persona is finding the movie cheesy, deep down that little kid that used to play soldier is having a blast and yelling – YES!!! GO RAMBO!!
If you’re going through this series for the first time, be ready for the shocking difference in tone and quality between the first and second installments of this franchise. First Blood Part 2 is just machismo action and big explosions, and has none of the depth of the original. It is also way more violent than the first movie.
With plenty of big action sequences, this movie would be fun to watch on a theater screen. At home a HD viewing on your TV is recommended. This film’s fun will be diminished if watched on laptop, tablet or phone.
Best Moment: << mild spoiler >>
I mentioned that childish sense of justice before. Well that’s certainly true when it comes to this scene. Rambo is captured and tortured, and is forced to get on the radio to call back to his home base and tell the Americans to leave the area. Rather than comply, Stallone grips the microphone with his sweaty meaty paw, and uses the opportunity to say something to the slime ball that double crossed him, Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier).
Rambo (in a low deep rumbling voice) : Murdock… I’m coming to get you!
Then we cut back to Murdock who looks like he just soiled himself – YES!!!