First Blood Reviews
It is 1982 and Vietnam war hero John Rambo seems to be minding his own business in the north U.S.A. (filmed in Canada) when he is systematically targeted by some local redneck Sheriffs led by Brian Denehy as Teasle, arrested on a trumped up charge and threatened with 90 days jailtime.
What these police don't realise is that they are messing with the wrong guy. Rambo is a decorated Green Beret awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour.
What follows over the next hour or so is a war against one man psychologically damaged perhaps by his Vietnam War experiences.
Only a smug senior army commander played brilliantly by Richard Crenna can get at the psyche of Rambo and stop the inevitable destruction and death.
Director Ted Kotcheff delivers Stallone's second most famous character after Rocky Balboa to the screen in an action thriller that would go on to multiple sequels.
Stallone is at his muscle bound best before his mangling in the late nineties made him an Expendable laughing stock.
Anything that Bruce Willis and Schwarzenegger would do in the eighties Stallone manages here with some great action sequences of combat and survival skills.
One thing that did catch my attention was quite trivial (which goes a long way to explain my film watching).
How do American police cars in this type of film manage to drive through the forest terrain?
Back to the film. Stallone delivers a testosterone filled thriller.
and an interesting character played beautifully by Sylvester Stallone, all leading up to its powerful and emotional finale. a win. Highly recommended by me.
"First Blood" is a 1982 American action adventure film directed by Ted Kotcheff. It was co-written by and starred Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo. It is based on David Morrell's 1972 novel of the same name and is the first installment of the Rambo series. The film was released in the United States on October 22, 1982. Despite initial mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, grossing $47.2 million at the box office. Since its release, First Blood has received reappraisal from critics, with many praising the roles of Stallone, Dennehy, and Crenna, and recognizing it as an influential film in the action genre. It has also become a cult film. The film's success spawned a franchise, consisting of three sequels (all of which were co-written by and starred Stallone), an animated series, comic books, novels, and a Bollywood remake. A fifth film, tentatively titled Rambo: Last Stand, was cancelled in January 2016 when Stallone stated that he was retiring the character. First Blood originally received generally mixed reviews, with several critics noting that the plot lacks any sense of credibility. Variety called the film "a mess" and criticized its ending for not providing a proper resolution for the main character. More recently, Leonard Maltin gave the film one-and a half stars out of four, saying that it "throws all creditability to the winds about the time [Rambo] gets off with only a bad cut after jumping from a mountain into some jagged rocks." The film's three lead actors received much praise for their performances. In his review, Roger Ebert wrote that he did not like the film's ending, but that it was "a very good movie, well-paced, and well-acted not only by Stallone... but also by Crenna and Brian Dennehy". He commented, "although almost all of First Blood is implausible, because it's Stallone on the screen, we'll buy it", and rated the film three out of four stars. In 2000, BBC film critic Almar Haflidason noted that Stallone's training in survival skills and hand-to-hand combat gave the film "a raw and authentic edge that excited the audiences of the time". James Berardinelli of ReelViews called the film "a tense and effective piece of filmmaking". He noted that the film's darker tone, somber subtext, and non-exploitative violence allowed the viewer to enjoy the film not only as an action/thriller but as something with a degree of intelligence and substance. On Stallone's performance, he wrote "it seems impossible to imagine anyone other than Stallone in the part, and his capabilities as an actor should not be dismissed".
This is the first time we get to see the character John Rambo on the screen and I remember vividly how I thought this was a good and different action movie back in the early 80s as a teenager. The character is more believable here compared to how Stallone developed the character later on. Here he is a Vietnam vet haunted by his memories of what he experienced in the Vietnam war and the emotional layers are strong and thought worthy. Yes, the character does carry some "overpowers" here as well, but not so it feels too over the top as it does in the sequel "Rambo - First Blood II". Sylvester Stallone plays the character in a convincing way and doesn´t become just some super action figure in this first part. The violence in the film is graphic but not overbearing or comic book like. I reckon "realistic" in many ways. It´s easy to sympathise with John Rambo as he is merely a man who is trying to get by haunted by what he became as a Green Beret and the horrifying experiences he had to endure in the Vietnam war. He doesn´t want any trouble, he just wants to be left alone. But, society keeps pushing him and when push comes to shove John Rambo gives Teasle a war that he won't believe. Rambo doesn´t kill anyone with purpose and the killing of Galt is accidental. The drama and the ensemble with Stallone, Crenna and Dennehy works very well and Ted Koetscheff´s direction is dynamic in some ways and uses the beautiful environments and sceneries in a proper manner. "First Blood" is yes maybe not the best action movie ever made, but yet it´s an ok action film from the 80s with some interesting emotional layers.
Trivia: The first rough cut was over three hours, possibly three and a half hours long and according to Sylvester Stallone, it was so bad that it made him and his agent sick. Stallone wanted to buy the movie and destroy it thinking that it was a career killer. After heavy re-editing, the film was cut down to 93 minutes; this version was ultimately released in theatres.
"First Blood" was Sylvester Stallone's first non-Rocky movie which didn't bomb. In fact, it arguably saved his career.