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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Rambo: Not just a violent movie

The first version of the Rambo series, called First Blood (Rambo) was released in 1982, and is now considered a good hit. It is a pretty violent movie, with one killing, gun shots, other ways of hurting people, and so on, and is fairly raw in the way that emotions are presented, but the movie overall is pretty impressive. It was also a big hit, costing around $14 million to make, and earning more than $125 million. The movie spawned 2 sequels, and made Stallone into a big star.
First Blood was based on a novel written by David Morrell in 1972 about a Vietnam veteran who has the war imprinted into his psyche, and has developed a number of skills not suitable for living in society. A war veteran of a war that was not liked by a significant section of society would face a lot of hatred, and coupled with the pain and emotional distress suffered during the war, could easily turn back into a killer even in a normal society.
The story of the movie has certain twists and warts, for example, the mistreatment of a detainee in a police station is not all that common. However, this is a fairly simple story. John Rambo is a Green Beret, a special soldier dedicated to special operations, and also part of a team with a low survival ratio because of their nature of missions. They are trained to be elite soldiers, being able to survive in the wild, kill using different ways, and so on.
John is now back in the US, searching for a friend in Washington state. He finds out that this friend, the last surviving member of his unit, died of cancer. He enters a town of Hope, but the sheriff, Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) is not impressed by his looks and wants to run him out of the town, saying that they do not like drifters. He drops him out of the city limits. John returns to the town, and is immediately arrested by Teasle for vagrancy and for carrying a concealed weapon.
In the jail, John has a bad time. He is traumatised by one of the sheriff's deputies, and they they want to clean him up for the judge. The overall treatment reminds John of his treatment at the hands of the North Vietnamese, and the sight of a razor pushes him over the edge. He manages to make his way out of the jail after beating up a lot of the officers, and is then chased by Teasle. This chase extends the full length of the movie. He first steals a motor cycle, and is pursued by Teasle in a car. Eventually, they get inside the jungle, and he is being chased by dogs.
Trying to elude them, he is spotted on a cliff drop, and is being threatened by the deputy with rifle on a helicopter. He drops of the cliff, into trees, but eventually manages to throw a rock at the copter, causing the deputy to fall down to his death. The sheriff is mad, and takes his team into the woods to chase Rambo, but this is where Rambo is able to exhibit his special skills, as he disables them one by one. The sheriff calls in the National Guard, and this also brings in Rambo's former colonel, who advises the sheriff to let it be, they will be able to catch Rambo later much more easily; good advice, not accepted
The National Guard find Rambo in a case face, and they fire at him with a rocket launcher. He is assumed to be dead, but is not. He is now going to take the fight back to the sheriff. Stealing a army truck from the National Guard, he re-enters the town, and proceeds to blow up a number of things. He finally corners the sheriff, but is stopped from killing him by his colonel (Richard Crenna). After a dialog where there is an outpouring of emotions from Rambo at his unit's death, the condemnation of the soldiers by society, and so on, he surrenders.

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