In my opinion Sylvester Stallone has made a few good movies over the years. However, the movie we are going to talk about today, Rambo: First Blood Part II ain’t one of them. This movie is what happened when Hollywood looked at history of the Vietnam War and thought to itself, “man that ending needs a re-write.” That being said, it’s a great way to kill 96 minutes, just make the jump and see for yourself.
Who wants steroids?
Because Rambo is a sequel to the movie First Blood, it starts where the other movie ends. John Rambo is in prison after blowing the hell out of a little town that didn’t love him the way he loved them. Rambo is working in a prison quarry, breaking big rocks into little rocks with a sledge hammer. The other convicts are using modern tools like jackhammers. Why isn’t Rambo? Because He’s John F-ing Rambo, that’s why. Look, if you are looking for anything resembling common sense, this is the wrong picture for you because Johnny Rambo isn’t a ball of fire in the thinking department. Besides, nobody ever got lats like a bat by thinking.
John’s old CO, Colonel Troutman (Richard Crenna) shows up and offers Rambo a chance to get out of jail early. The government wants Rambo to go back to Vietnam and try to find the POW’s that the dirty commies never gave back at the end of the war. John’s not too eager because he’s learning a trade here, but finally he comes around.
The next we see of Rambo, he’s getting out of a helicopter at a super secret military base in Thailand, wearing Jennifer Beale’s sweatshirt with the neck cut out of it from Flashdance. Rambo’s first clue that maybe he should be worried is that the guy who is there to greet him is the Cobra Kai sensei from The Karate Kid. He takes Rambo to meet the head honcho of the operation, Marshall Murdock (Charles Napier).
Tell me the truth, does this face make me look shifty?
Murdock looks like a creepy bureaucrat because he is wearing a polyester shirt and a rayon tie in 100 degree heat, but there is an even more obvious sign that the guy is bad news. Murdock has a coke machine in his office and during his meeting with Rambo he asks for a cold beverage. One of his goons opens up the machine and pulls Murdock out a coke. Yep, they don’t pay, which means Murdock is ripping off the Coca Cola Company. Nice people don’t steal from big soulless corporations. They do it with people they know, because it’s all about building a relationship. Wait, what the hell was I talking about again? Oh right, Rambo, thanks!
Murdoch tells Rambo he’s to infiltrate into Vietnam and go check out a POW camp. If any American’s are present, Rambo is to take some pictures. Rambo looks at Murdoch like he’s nuts because everyone knows Rambo is a watercolors man.
Next they show Rambo a warehouse full of high tech goodies to take on his photo shoot. Rambo looks over the gear and says he’s always thought the mind was the most dangerous weapon. (You can insert your own cheap joke here.)
After Rambo has packed up all of his goodies, he gets on the plane that will take him on his mission. Right before taking off, he tells Colonel Troutman he’s the only one on the mission Rambo trusts. This makes Troutman nervous because the Army’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy is still about eight years away and even then this could be a dicey situation.
The mission gets off to a bad start when Rambo’s static line gets hung up when he tries to parachute out of the plane. Rambo has to cut off most of his equipment to get to the static line. Rambo cuts through that and disappears into the night, meaning that nobody on the mission with him knows if he’s dead or alive.
Murdoch wants to bag the mission and knock off early so they can all go to Applebee’s for riblets but Troutman gets him to agree to send in a helicopter in 36 hours to pick up Rambo. Troutman is the only guy back at headquarters who doesn’t come off like a complete douche, but on the other hand, he’s the sort of guy who makes everyone stay until 5:00 on the Friday before a three day weekend. I’m not going to lie; I have mixed feelings about this guy.
Colonel Troutman, if you’re trapped behind enemy lines, best guy ever. Want to leave work 15 minutes early? Biggest dick ever.
On the ground, all Rambo has are a bow and arrows, and that great big honking knife he used to cut away all of his other stuff. (For the rest of the post we will refer to this knife as Rambo’s mind.) Rambo makes his way to an old Buddhist temple where he hears someone scurrying around. Rambo grabs the scurrier and holds his mind up to the guy’s throat. Only it turns out the scurrier isn’t a guy, but a really hot Eurasian chick who is Rambo’s contact for his mission. She tells Rambo her name is Co Ba and he seems surprised she is a woman. Seeing as Rambo just spoke to her in Vietnamese, I’m guessing her name translate into English as “Jacko”.
The name is Jacko, Miss Jacko if you’re nasty
Rambo puts his mind back in its sheaf and then he and Jacko head out to take some pictures.
It turns out they need to take a boat to the POW camp, and Jacko has hired some pirates to take them up river. Rambo doesn’t think this is a good idea, and seeing as none of these guys are really into the whole hygiene thing, and that they keep hitting on Jacko I’m inclined to agree with him. Still, my mom always told me not to judge a book by its cover so we’ll reserve judgment for a later date.
When they get to the camp it seems pretty deserted. Until all of a sudden this one guard steps out of the shadows, and then there are so many of them, if there were glow sticks present it would look like a militarized rave.
Rambo heads down for a closer look, even though Jacko thinks it’s a bad idea. Rambo uses his mind to cut his way through a barb wire fence and heads into the camp. Finally Rambo gets to this cage all the way in the back of the camp, and jackpot! It’s just packed with POW’s. Well maybe not packed, but it’s pretty full. Ok, there are maybe six guys in the cage, but they’re Americans damn it!
There is one American tied up to post who Rambo cuts down and decides to take with him as a souvenir. The POW starts coughing in the middle of the camp. Actually the guy sounds like a one man TB ward, so for the rest of the movie we’ll call him Coughy. Anyway, Coughy ends up making so much noise that Rambo has to use a bow and arrow to kill this one guard who’s shining a spotlight on them, and then guts another guard with his mind on his way out of the camp. Rambo hooks up with Jacko and then he, her and Coughy head off to get another boat ride from the pirates.
After a while the camp guards start finding dead bodies all over the camp and realize somebody has stolen one of their war criminals. They get a big commie posse together and head out to get him back.
Meanwhile on the boat, the pirates double cross Rambo and Jacko so they can turn them into the bad guys for money. Don’t judge a book by its cover? Wrong again, mom. From now on, I’m cover judging, especially when it comes to pirates.
Rambo, kills a couple of the pirates with these little knifes he has in his belt, and then uses a shotgun to kill the other 18 pirates on the boat. Right then a commie patrol boat shows up and starts shooting the crap out of the pirate boat. Rambo has Jacko and Coughy jump off and swim for shore, while he uses a bazooka to blow up the patrol boat. The flaming wreckage of the patrol boat is going to crash into the pirate boat, but before Rambo can jump off the last pirate on the boat loops a garrote around Rambo’s neck and starts strangling him. Rambo pulls out his mind and stabs the guy through the roof of the boat with it. Boy it’s a good thing Rambo has the kind of razor sharp mind that can pierce corrugated steel. Rambo jumps off the boat at the last second and swims for shore right before the two boats collide and make a big fireball.
Finally, when they are almost to the rendezvous point, Rambo tells Jacko she can take off. Jacko tells Rambo he’s dreamy and when he tries to smile his face almost cracks.
Right after Jacko takes off the Vietnamese show up, and boy are they pissed. They start dropping mortar rounds on Rambo and Coughy. OK, they never actually hit them, but they explode close by Rambo, and it looks really cool.
Colonel Troutman shows up with the helicopter to pick up Rambo and he sees Rambo has a POW with him. When he radios Murdock to let him in on the good news Murdock has the helicopter pilot abort the mission. This means Rambo is forced to surrender to the commies.
When Troutman gets back to the base he and Murdock have a big fight and he comes to find out the government never wanted to find the POW’s in the first place. They were just going to go through the motions to get the families of the POW’s off their backs. Troutman then tells Murdock Rambo is going to kick his bee-hind when he gets back.
The only problem is it doesn’t look like Rambo is going to be coming back anytime soon. The Vietnamese have him tied up in a cesspool.
There is a lot of commotion in the camp. It likes like our house used to look before company came over. Boy that’s got to be stressful what with their mom screaming at everyone to clean their rooms, and to “pretend for one GD day they aren’t a GD troglodyte!” What’s that? Your mom never said that to you? Mmmmm, me neither?
Worst. Spa. Ever.
Anyway, the company shows up, and hey, it the Ruskies! There’s about 12 guys in funny hats, but only two we really have to pay attention to, Lt. Col. Podovsky (Steven Berkoff), the chief Ruskie, and some humungous no necked guy in a striped wife beater who is his chief goon.
The head Ruskie has Rambo pulled out of this cesspool they were keeping him in, and to show Sly what best buddies they are going to be he uses Stallone’s mind to peel leeches off Sly’s torso. Personally I would have pointed out to Sly that headbands are always a bad idea for dudes, because real friends can tell each other stuff like that.
They take Sly to this hut and every thing starts off okay, but somehow Sly and Lt. Col. Sourpusski get of on the wrong foot. Okay maybe it had something to do with the LC Sourpusski wanting Rambo to sell out the good ol’ US-of-A, and maybe, just maybe Sly dropping an FU into the conversation might have something to do with what happens next.
Everyone’s going to dinner and the lights keep flickering. Mainly because Sourpusski and the big guy in the wife beater have Sly strapped to bedsprings and are running enough electricity through him to, well, make all the light bulbs flicker.
Tell me where Moose and Squirrel are!
Not to worry though, because someone is coming to rescue Rambo. Yeay! It’s Jacko and she’s dressed as a hooker. Why is she dressed as a hooker? Well in the 80′s when the chips were down women dressed like hookers. If you don’t believe me, just check out any episode of Hunter, and see how Dee Dee McCall is dressed.
Lt. Col Sourpusski is getting tired of trying to electrocute Rambo, so he tells the guard to bring in another prisoner. Oh look, it’s Coughy, hi Coughy! Sourpusski tells the goon to put out Coughy’s eye with Rambo’s mind, and then Rambo gives in.
Sourpusski makes Rambo sit at the radio and call the American base and ask if they have Prince Albert in a can. Just kidding, but that would have been awesome too.
No, Sourpusski just wants Rambo to say the standard, USA bad, evil, icky, and Communism rocks bit. Oh, and Rambo is to make darn sure to tell his bosses not to try any more rescue operations, because the last thing anyone needs right now is for Chuck Norris to show up. One American action hero with limited acting range in Southeast Asia at a time, thank you very much.
Does it make me a bad person because I’d torture this guy to make him be quiet? Okay, I can live with that
Rambo gets on the radio and asks to speak with Murdock. Murdock promptly gets the same look you get on your face when you run into your boss at the track after you called in sick. (I didn’t like that job anyway) Murdock is all “hey buddy, how’s it going? Haven’t heard from you in awhile,” but Rambo cuts to the chase and tells Murdock he’s coming for him.
Sly then whacks Sourpusski with the microphone, straps the big goon in the wife beater to the electric bed, retrieves his mind, and legs it out of the camp with Jacko. The commies respond by running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and getting together another posse.
The next morning Sly and Jacko spend a little quiet time together. Jacko tells Rambo he’s a great guy and Vietnam sucks, so hows about they both head back to The States and start a life together. Sly thinks this is a great idea. They can drift from town to town, and blow the crap out of them for not loving Sly the way he loves them. Jacko says she was thinking more along the line that Sly get a job at the post office and she gets into Beauty College, but they can talk about that later. The important thing is they’re together now, and nothing could possibly go wrong.
Jacko then steps around some trees and promptly gets mowed down by about 50 dirty commies. Rambo gets there and kills all the commies except for the leader who gets away. Sly scoops up Jacko in his arms and seems surprised when she dies even though she’s got enough holes in her to qualify as a human colander.
Okay, now it’s the best time of any action movie. Now it’s personal. Sly gets all ready to go kick commie butt, translation, he flexes for about five minutes. Oh and he straps on Jacko’s lucky charm. You know what? It’s a really touching gesture, but seeing as she just became the preeminent bullet stopper in Southeast Asia, I’m calling bullshit on the “lucky” part.
Now Sly is all ready to get a little whoopass on the red menace. Of course it isn’t going to be easy. Remember the Ruskies are here now, and these guys are crack commandos. That’s why they make sure to spread out so Sly can pick them off one at a time. Oh and they don’t make any noise when Sly snuffs them; they just make an “oh crap Rambo got me!” face. These guys are the best, no doubt about it bad hombres…oh balls. The only way these guys could be any more doomed is if this was a Friday The 13th movie and they were cheerleaders who’d each just lost their virginity with their boyfriends.
Sly kills a shitpot of these guys in all sorts of entertaining ways, but there is one we have to talk about, the big pile of mud kill. One of the soon to be painfully deceased Ruskies is wandering around looking for Sly. He walks just about all the way through the frame, when we see Sly has camouflaged himself with mud so he looks like part of the hill. Sly moves up behind the poor schnook and impales the poor guy on his mind.
You know the sign of great actor is that he becomes the role and all I have to say is whenever I look at Sly in this movie I see a big pile of mud. Kudos to you Sly!
Stallone is a big pile of mud!
After killing a whole mess of extras Sly finds himself being chased by another mess of extras through a village. Sly needs to kill these bozos but all he has is his bow and arrows (and of course his mind), what’s an action hero to do? Luckily he finds some crates, a dinky little gas can and a live chicken.
That big commie posse follows Rambo into a field of bamboo and they think they’re closing in on him. Too bad Rambo dosed the field in gasoline and sets it on fire resulting in commies flambÃ©. Yep Sly set a field of bamboo that is roughly the size of Yellowstone Park on fire with maybe a gallon of gas. What that doesn’t make sense? Oh and a guy covered in baby oil with Bon Jovi hair running through the jungle does? I keep telling you, you just have to go with it.
(Still I have to admit this part of the movie always disappoints me. Every time I see that chicken in the village I find myself hoping against hope that this will be the time I watch this movie that Sly kills someone with a live chicken. That would be freaking awesome. Well maybe the next time.)
Sly’s not done yet, not by a long shot. The commies have some jeeps and trucks parked on a bridge and Sly blows them up with his bow and arrows. How? Explosive tips. Bet you didn’t think of that, did you? Good thing the screenwriter did, huh? That’s why he went to film school. Well that, and truck driving school was full that semester.
Sly is walking through the jungle when he just happens to run into the commie who killed Jacko. Too bad for the commie his gun jams. And double too bad for him because Sly blows him to hooie kablooie with one of those exploding arrows, which is kind of cool. Well for you and me, for the commie, not so much.
Now at this point you might have noticed that Sly has killed him a mess of lefties. So many that the Republicans could probably win a mid term election around here now, is the movie over yet? Oh hell to the no.
The big commie goon in the wife beater shows up in a helicopter with a big napalm bomb and starts chasing Sly. Sly takes a swan dive off of a waterfall right as the napalm bomb hits causing a super humungous fireball. That’s right even waterfalls burst into flames in Vietnam, this is why it’s Smokey the Bear’s least favorite country.
Sad Moments in Vietnamese Fire Prevention History
Big commie goon has the pilot bring the helicopter down to the water so they can make sure Sly is dead. Guess what? He’s not! Sly jumps about four feet straight out of the river and hops in the helicopter. This is how he and the big commie goon are able to wrestle around in a helicopter flying over the jungle.
It’s a pretty good fight. Sly and the goon have a good hug, but the big commie goon is just too gosh darn big and is about to shove him out of the helicopter when Sly pulls the old toss the bad guy out first move. Man that one never gets old.
Now that big chief commie goon is splattered all over the jungle, Sly whips out his mind and all set to stab the pilot, so the pilot just jumps out of the helicopter. Luckily for the plot Sly can fly helicopters. He’s notso hotso at speaking in complete sentences, but he can fly the poop out of helicopters.
Sly flies back to the POW camp and he shoots the poop out of it. There are dead commies and fireballs as far as the eye can see. Fun fact, when the Ruskies first show up there are maybe twelve of them, but by the end of the movie Sly has killed a couple of hundred of the dirty lefties. It’s like the miracle of the loaves and fishes gone horribly wrong. Anyway, Sly lands and rescues all the POW’s this time and gets all set to fly back to the base.
Too bad for him (but great for the plot) Sourpusski shows up in this big ass commie helicopter and starts shooting the poop out of Sly’s helicopter. As a matter of fact eventually Sourpusski shoot a missile at Sly and after the smoke clears Sly’s helicopter is on the ground and looks like it’s out of action. Sourpusski brings his helicopter in for a closer look and to gloat, because dirty commies are all about the gloating. Too bad for Sourpusski, Sly outsmarts him (insert your own cheap joke here) and blows him up with a bazooka.
Sly flies back to the base camp and everyone is happy to hear he’s bringing our POW’s back. Well everybody except Murdock. He goes to find a nice quiet room to soil himself in. Sly lands the helicopter grabs a machine gun and heads out to give a big howdy to Murdock, but first he shoots the poop out of all the computers in the radio room.
Die smartie machine, Die!
Oh Sly, don’t hate computers, they’re our friends. Why without a computer I never would have found out that even though you tell everyone you’re 5’10″, Academy Award winning screenwriter, William Goldman swears up and down you’re 5’7″ on your tiptoes. Well they’re my friends anyway.
Sly finally finds Murdock and it looks like Sly is going to stab him with his mind, but instead he shoves it about four inches into the table Murdock is laying on. Then Sly tells Murdock he better go get the rest of our POW”s, or Sly will cram his mind where the sun don’t shine.
Colonel Troutman runs into Sly outside which gives Sly the perfect chance to almost cry one more last time and say he just wants America to love him as much as he loves it. (You know I just realized, if Torch Song Trilogy had a few more fireballs, this could be the same movie.) Then Sly literally walks off into the sunset, and I can totally see what William Goldman is talking about. The End.
There you have it, a movie with plenty of lessons for every occasion, like unless you really enjoy fireballs you don’t want to smoke in Vietnam. It’s not only okay; it’s in your best interests to judge pirates by their covers. If you’re ever in trouble, a woman dressed as hooker might be a lifesaver. Computers are great for finding fun facts, and there really is no weapon more dangerous then Sylvester Stallone’s mind. This one is worth a peek.