John J. Rambo is a former United States Special Forces soldier who fought in Vietnam and won the Congressional Medal of Honor, but his time in Vietnam still haunts him. As he came to Hope, Washington to visit a friend, he was guided out of town by the Sheriff William Teasel who insults Rambo, but what Teasel does not know that his insult angered Rambo to the point where Rambo became violent and was arrested. As he was at the county jail being cleaned, he escapes and goes on a rampage through the forest to try to escape from the sheriffs who want to kill him. Then, as Rambo's commanding officer, Colonel Samuel Trautman tries to save both the Sheriff's department and Rambo before the situation gets out of hand.Written by
Engrossing action thriller about John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), a Vietnam vet and Medal of Honor recipient, who is now a drifter haunted by his experiences in the war. While traveling through a small town in Washington, Rambo is arrested by Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) for being a vagrant. When a sadistic deputy abuses Rambo, he lashes out violently and escapes custody, fleeing into the mountains. As a manhunt is underway to capture Rambo, his mentor and former commanding officer Colonel Sam Trautman (Richard Crenna) shows up to try and prevent a bloodbath.
Probably the best Stallone movie behind the first Rocky. Great action, yes, but also a terrific script and some really good performances that elevate this above so many other action movies. I've read David Morrell's original novel and I have to say this is a case where the movie adaptation is just superior in every way. In the book, the Teasle character is more of the good guy and Rambo is a psycho killer that has to be put down like a dog. So kudos to Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim, and Sylvester Stallone for making the changes they did to the plot and for all the quotable lines their script gives us. As for the acting, there isn't a bad note anywhere in this. Even the supporting players are excellent. Stallone and Dennehy knock it out of the park. Richard Crenna has arguably his most famous role here as Colonel Trautman. He gets many of the best lines.
Great score from Jerry Goldsmith with a memorable theme song. Ted Kotcheff's direction is solid. The action is fantastic but, as I said, it's so much more than just a popcorn movie. It has something to say about the Vietnam war and how the soldiers were treated when they returned home. This won't sit well with all types but I appreciate what they were going for here and thought they did very well with it. Had there never been another Rambo movie, this one would still be a classic. But there were more sequels to come, all action movies of varying degrees of quality but none quite as good as this one.
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