Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rambo: First Blood Part II - George P. Cosmatos

"I'd die for [the United States of America]"
-Rambo (Sylvester Stallone"

The praise of the Rambo saga continues.

The stereotype of Rambo as a violent all-American soldier was actually born with First Blood Part II, the second part of the story. In this movie, Rambo is sent back to Vietnam to collect proofs on the existence of POWs. The government, however, expected Rambo to fail, so it would be able to close the subject.  Marshal Murdock, one of these Washington bureaucrats, is in charge of the mission. Murdock betrays Rambo, showing the double standards of the government regarding POWs. Contrary to Rambo I, where society in general despises veterans, in Rambo II society (or at least the Vets' families) wants the soldiers back home. In both films, the government doesn't really care about the kids it sent to die to South East Asia. In any case, both films focus on the subject of Vietnam War Veterans and their fate after the conflict. The more I think of it, the more I realize that the treatment of veterans would be completely different without Rambo. 

In the original script, the mission is conducted by a group of "civilian contractors" (mercenaries, in plain English), introducing one more element of criticism to the US government military policy. At one point, Cl. Trautman (Rambo's mentor) calls the people in charge of the mission mercenaries, so I guess that the script was not actually polished...

In addition to the vets' related issues, there are two more reasons that make Rambo a movie worth watching:

1. It shows how wrong the US was about the relation of the Soviet Union with the other communist countries.  The movie shows how Vietnam troops were trained and assisted by the Russians. We now have enough evidence that Vietnam did not have good relations with either China or the Soviet Union. The alarming thing was that the conception of a Soviet Union controlling the Asian communist countries prevailed until 1991... (so, conspiracy theorists, you got it wrong once again: the US intelligence services are not that smart, after all)

2. At one point, Rambo II was the movie with most dead people on screen. All the action movies made since 1985 are directly influenced by it. So yes, Rambo is chauvinistic, machista, and it's actually boring after a while. But it's influential...

Here's the trailer:

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