I don’t know just how many on-screen deaths I saw yesterday…but it was a friggin lot! So, here’s the situation: My Significantly Better Half is away on a much-deserved vacation with her family, half-way across Canada. I’ve been left to my own devices…and this is the type of shit that happens, when THAT happens. One of my recent ‘self-improvement’ endeavors has been to start taking a look around at the crap that I own…and then establish what do I need, and what can I purge. As a Movie Nerd, and a genetically-ingrained ‘collector’ (you should see my Dad’s music collection!), I’ve been steadily adding DVDs to my List of Titles for a good while now. About a year ago, I moved ahead and embraced the technological cinematic wonder that is the Blu ray format. Along with this, I also embraced the concept of owning ‘choice’ titles…say, all the films of Tony Scott, for instance…as opposed to just snagging copies of ANY movie that I enjoyed when I watched it, but may never need to watch again. I had a bad habit of doing THAT. So, in my girlfriend’s absence, I decided to whip up a couple cardboard boxes and get down to the ‘purge’. As I was ‘grabbin n tossin’, I came to the ‘R’s and seconds later, I had my DVD copy of ‘Rambo III’ (1988) in hand. I stared down at the hilarious ‘Ultimate Edition’ art (‘Rambo’ from behind, mid-tie on the bandanna, shirtless and glistening before a faded ‘Old Glory’), I realized that, since I bought it, I’d never actually watched this copy. I’d seen ‘Rambo III’ many years ago, and I think only once (in it’s entirety). Being a red-blooded male, I’m a sucker for action and explosions, so the light-bulb suddenly sputtered to weak life in my mind: Since The Lady of the House is gone, why not indulge in a little 80’s Movie Mayhem on a rainy Vacation Friday afternoon (work survived without me). As I was about to slap the disk into the Blu ray player, the flickering Brain Bulb brightened just a wee bit more: Since I have literally NOTHING to do (all domestic chores were done in the morning), why not crack an icy ‘tall boy’ beer and tuck into the ENTIRE ‘Rambo’ series (since Netflix was conveniently showing the first 3). Minutes later, armed with a Marilyn Monroe note-pad, a Sharpie and a tall micro-brew pilsner, I thudded myself down on our new / used couch (Pleather…how decadent) and hit PLAY.
First Blood (1982)
I’ve only ever seen the ‘Rambo’ flicks sparingly and, with the exception of the latest one, only seen them once each. As 80’s action movies go, these were NEVER titles that I actively sought out (I was more of a ‘Lethal Weapon’ / ‘Die Hard’ kinda kid, when I wasn’t seeking out sci-fi / horror movies). The lasting impression for me is that the ‘Rambo’ series were the cartoonish side-effect of Cold War paranoia and another in a long list of largely brainless action titles featuring Sylvester Stallone brandishing heavy firepower, riding on a paper-thin script and inflated budget. Having said that, however, I have to admit to some surprise when ‘First Blood’ got under way.
‘First Blood’ immediately introduces us to ‘John Rambo’ (Sly) as a late-20’s-ish Vietnam War veteran who is drifting around the States searching for former members of his Green Beret unit. Moving about on foot, he saunters into the town of ‘Hope, Washington’ (actually ‘Hope, British Columbia’) after learning that the last member of the squad, who resided nearby, died the summer before of cancer brought about from an exposure to Agent Orange (a nasty chemical defoliate used by the US military to deny the North Vietnamese cover by destroying the heavy jungle canopy). ‘Rambo’, purely by misfortune, is noticed by the local Police Chief ‘Teasle’ (Brian Dennehy) who takes immediate exception to ‘Rambo’s brand of military-surplus dishevelment. ‘Teasle’ offers the grief-stricken and now aimless veteran a ride to the edge of town to get him on his way (is in ‘away from Hope, Washington’). When ‘Teasle’ flat out denies ‘Rambo’ the chance to grab a bite to eat on his way through, the tension is set. It doesn’t take long for ‘Rambo’ to take exception to this treatment and defiantly about-faces and marches back toward town. That’s it!…arrested. It’s while in police custody that the needless abuse from the cops pushes the former Special Forces soldier to a PTSD-induced breaking point. ‘Rambo’, plagued by visions of his time as a P.O.W., proceeds to beat the shit out of every cop in the joint on his way out the door. He and ‘Teasle’ launch into a surprisingly exciting ‘cop car vs dirt bike’ chase that takes them to the nearby forested mountains. And then the manhunt begins.
It’s strange to acknowledge, based on this movie alone, what the ‘Rambo’ character would eventually become. ‘First Blood’ is surprisingly ‘grounded’. I know nothing about the book this flick is based on, but the script here takes the opportunity to slip in some subversive content regarding the bad after-taste that the Vietnam War (1965-75) left on the American psyche. In the opening sequence, where ‘Rambo’ is talking to the still-grieving and bitter widow of his deceased squad mate, it’s interesting that her scorn is pointed squarely at the US government. There’s also the whole element that ‘Rambo’ details about going to war for his country (whether the reasons were ‘just’ or not), only to come back to ‘the world’ vilified by his fellow countrymen and women; branded as a ‘murderer’ and ‘baby killer’ when he was only doing his duty and following orders. As a result of this open character trait, ‘John Rambo’ actually comes across as ‘sympathetic’. There’s humanity to the character and it helps us root for him. There are many times when he shows a reluctance to succumb to violence, but the vengeance-fueled cops push him to the point where he has no choice but to fight back.
At about the half-way point, we are introduced to a character that would become a mainstay for the next 2 films that follow. ‘Colonel Trautman’ (Richard Crenna) is ‘Rambo’s former Commanding Officer and has shown up on the scene to claim his ‘feral weapon of a soldier’; to save the cops from getting their asses killed in the cold, wet forest that ‘Rambo’, in full-on warrior mode, now stalks. He reluctantly teams up with ‘Chief Teasle’ to try and get the rogue veteran to emerge unharmed and with no additional deaths or injuries. The course of the film follows this, only to culminate in a climactic sabotaging of the town and the M-60 machine gun-induced destruction of the local Police Station.
On a technical level, ‘First Blood’ is a solidly-directed thriller. As previously mentioned, early on there’s a well-done high-speed car chase through the town of Hope, as well as some impressive bouts of destruction scattered throughout the run-time. I was particularly impressed with a couple of big, fiery bangs late in the story, and these were augmented with restrained use of slow-motion. Regarding the location, the town of Hope (where this was famously filmed back in 1981) is about an hour’s drive from where my girlfriend and I live. In fact, we drove there for lunch a few months back and it was weird to see the tiny town on film, circa the early 80’s, and host to some sweet action scenes.
All in all, ‘First Blood’ is a good adventure / suspense flick with an interesting undercurrent of ‘criticism’ and ‘examination’ regarding the lasting societal effects of the Vietnam War and the effects of PTSD that many of these soldiers came back with. ‘John Rambo’ is not a blood-soaked psychopath wrapped in the American Flag (as we later come to know him) and there are points where I found myself sympathizing with him and his plight. He’s also not indestructible either. While he proves that the character is well-trained and resourceful, he does take his share of wounds over the course of the film. There are moments when you can tell the character is wondering if he’s seconds away from death and I find that compelling, similar to what director John McTiernan and Bruce Willis later did with ‘John McClane’ in ‘Die Hard (1988). The effect is the same…if you believe that a sympathetic character can be hurt or killed in pursuit of their goals, it raises the tension that helps to pull you into the stories narrative. There’s tension present here and it adds to the admirable quality of the film. Having said that, ‘admirable quality’ stops as soon as the stupid-ass End Credit song starts up. What a way to cut the balls off a flick! For a bad-ass movie like this, it’s surprising that they opted to ‘pussify’ it with this shitty excuse for ‘music’. But before that point, the movie is a good one.
*Hits STOP. stands, stretches and grabs another cold brew. Thuds back down and finds the next movie. Hits PLAY.
Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (1985)
Ok, this one should open with a blood-spattered Looney Tunes logo…as that’s the territory this series is clearly heading for. Like the first film, I’d only ever seen ‘Rambo 2’ once before, which seems a little strange to me as James Cameron (‘The Terminator’), one of my favorite directors EVER, shares a Screenwriting credit with Sylvester Stallone on this one (apparently he wrote the ‘action’, while Sly wrote the ‘politics’). But that’s it. It was directed by George P. Cosmatos (‘Leviathan’) and it’s a mixed bag.
‘First Blood Part 2’ opens with a bang…literally. We cut in from BLACK to a cliff-side in a quarry being blown to pieces. We pan down with the falling debris and see ‘Rambo’ (Sly) working the rocks below with a group of fellow prisoners. As we saw at the end of ‘Part 1’, (*SPOILERS*) ‘Rambo’ was arrested after his rampage in Hope, Washington, and this was the end of that particular journey (as opposed to the infamous original and deleted ending of the first movie, where ‘Rambo’ forces ‘Trautman’ to kill him in the ruins of the Police Station). He’s just toiling away in the heat and dust, just waiting for his time to be served. Into this uncomfortable world again enters ‘Colonel Trautman’ (Richard Crenna), ‘Rambo’s former C.O. and probably the man that saved the Vietnam veteran’s life, after his run-in with the intolerant police forces and National Guard of Washington State a couple years before. ‘Trautman’ has a proposition that could get “Rambo’ out of the pokie and back into the world. But first, he needs ‘Rambo’ to go back into Vietnam and acquire intelligence regarding a supposed P.O.W. camp; the same one he was held captive in all those years before. For whatever reason, the C.I.A. wants proof that there are no more American P.O.W.s being held by Vietnamese forces that didn’t get the memo they had won and the war was over. So, being that “the computer” gave ‘Rambo’ up as one of only 3 men capable of pulling this daring spy mission off, he gets first crack at it. After meeting with the shady ‘company men’ in Thailand, ‘Rambo’, outfitted with gear, embarks on his mission…and is almost immediately fucked by a shitty parachute deployment! He gets hung up on the side of the stealthy little corporate jet and is forced to cut away all his brand-new toys in order to survive. He lands in enemy territory with virtually nothing, but his bow and trademark pig-sticker. In short order, he comes across THE HOTTEST GUERRILLA FIGHTER EVER, a gorgeous Vietnamese girl named ‘Co’ (Julia Nickson, actually from Singapore). From the first time she turns up on screen, this chick is a distraction. She’s running around in the jungle with not just an AK-47, but also beautifully teased hair and shiny lip gloss. It’s pretty hilarious. And those eyes! She has these brownish greenish peepers that just get me…ahem…she’s a distraction, let’s just leave it at that. SO, after these two not-so-wisely employ a group of river pirates to ferry them to their destination, they are set upon by a Vietnamese naval patrol AND betrayed by the assholes they’re travelling with. And then…’Rambo’ kills everybody. From there, they reach the camp only to discover (surprise surprise)…American P.O.W.s! The recon mission then becomes a rescue mission, that comes with a near-genocidal body count from a slew of EVIL Vietnamese soldiers who couldn’t hit the broad side of a continent if it was standing right in front of them! Chaos and mass destruction ensue at the hands of a shirtless and glistening ‘John Rambo’!!
This movie is a REALLY violent cartoon. Where the violence in the first movie is restrained (only one person actually dies, and it’s his own fault), this shit is let off the chain! The movie seems to loose it’s mind around the half-way point and degenerates into the cliche’d ‘Rambo’ we all instinctively bring to mind. It also didn’t help that ‘Hot Shots Part Deux’ (1993) did such a bang-up job of pointing out all the stupidity that ends up on-screen here. Scenes from THAT movie kept creeping to mind during THIS movie. That, like THE HOTTEST GUERRILLA FIGHTER EVER, was distracting. But damn, if this flick doesn’t set itself up for it! First off, the Bad Guys can’t shoot. Plain and simple. They fire EVERYWHERE, but at what they’re supposed to be shooting at. There’s a number of scenes where ‘Rambo’ is right there! Right out in the open! AK-47’s open up on him, and everything nearby gets blown to shit. But not ‘John Rambo’! Oh, no! There’s a scene that ‘Hot Shots’ and ‘UHF’ (1989) aped beautifully where ‘Rambo’ is pursuing the EVIL VIETNAMESE COMMANDER who (*SPOILER*) killed ‘Co’ with a well-timed burst from his assault rifle (her death is amusing). The stupid idiot stands up on a big-ass rock and just unloads in ‘Rambo’s direction. ‘Rambo’, apparently knowing that he’s impervious to mere bullets, takes his time lining up his last nuclear-tipped arrow (they MUST be, given the explosive force we see them generate) and lets fly, as bullets zip all around him. BULLSEYE!! Motherfucker hilariously explodes all over the rocks and water! And going back to ‘Co’s death, I mentioned that it’s amusing…and it is. It happens IMMEDIATELY after she, in her adorably halting English, confides that she’d like to go back to America with ‘Rambo’ and be his gal (or something like it) once they complete The Mission. They have a Moment…get up to leave…*Blam!Blam!Blam!Blam!Blam!!!*…chick goes down!! There’s then another Moment where she gurgles out beautiful final words, gives “Rambo’ her sacred necklace and keels over dead. Then it’s on!!
On a technical level, this movie’s just ok. There are some impressive action sequences involving helicopters and great big fiery explosions (those friggin arrowheads!), but I found much of the production design to be a little flat. Things were just..there, with no real interesting detail or purpose. There was also the maddeningly hazy ‘soft focus’ that kept turning up throughout the flick. It often looked we were watching a scene from behind a smear of Vaseline. It was yet another distraction that this one threw at it’s audience. Given the clarity and attention to detail in the first movie, I found this stylistic nuance to be somewhat perplexing. It was either a choice (a bad one)…or a certain cameraman needed to go back to working at McDonalds. There was also the aspect of the Music. Jerry Goldsmith (‘Alien’) came back to do the score (he did the music for the first one too) and it’s played ad nauseam. There are almost no moments where just sounds of the scene guide us through. ALL the music had me thinking of the Tri-Star logo (or maybe it was Carolco) from the beginning of these movies, for some reason. Yet. Another. Distraction.
All in all, Rambo: ‘First Blood Part 2’ is mostly entertaining in just how over the top it is. This is a movie that, like ‘Red Dawn’ (1984) the year before, fits perfectly into the era in which it came to be. Anti-communist sentiment and American chest-beating was at an all-time high in the mid-80’s and coupled with impressive budgets, this is the type of movie that came into existence as a result. It really is just blood-drenched, gun-metal war-porn, somehow existing to try and save some kind of face in wake of America getting it’s ass kicked in Vietnam. This is a fantasy version of wish-fulfillment brought about from America trying to convince itself that it was, once again, the centre of the ‘Western’ Capitalist universe, flipping the bird at the evil commies! There’s a hilariously ‘deep’ speech given at the end that seems to cater to this mentality. The end result, now, is actually a pretty amusing (and on THAT level, entertaining) flick. I just can’t come out and honestly say that ‘Rambo: First Blood Part 2’ is a good movie. Entertaining? Yes. Good? No.
*Hits STOP. Shakes head in disbelief, stands, stumbles to fridge, grabs Beer #?, flops back on couch. Hits PLAY on next movie.
Rambo III (1988)
‘This Film is dedicated to the Gallant People of Afghanistan’. This is the Title Card that pops up just before the credits roll and given the historical context, I find it ironically amusing. ‘Rambo III’ is cut from the exact same cloth as ‘Rambo: First Blood Part 2’. It takes the cartoon character that is ‘John Rambo’ and runs with the excessive patriotism and fetishistic war-mongering characterized by American cinema of the 1980’s. By the time this one rolled around, the spectre of the Vietnam War was fading and it was time to find a new enemy. Naturally, let’s aim at the Russians!! Sure, they were there in Vietnam when ‘Rambo’ went in to get those poor, left-behind American boys out of the evil prison camp, but the Vietnamese were still clearly ‘the enemy’ in that one. THIS time around, the cross-hairs fall squarely on the Reds.Taking a cue from newspaper headlines at the time, Stallone and screenwriter Sheldon Lettich dreamed up more violent wish-fulfillment by having “Rambo’ go head-to-head with the Soviets in the war-torn deserts of Afghanistan.
The movie opens with another scene that ‘Hot Shots Part Deux’ skewered brilliantly. ‘Rambo’, following the events of ‘Part 2’, has vanished into the wilds of Thailand and is now helping build a Buddhist monastery…while also fighting competitively in some underground ‘fight club’ to raise money for the monks…or something. This was probably to try and get across ‘Rambo’s conflicted emotions about the countries-worth of people he shot, stabbed and exploded in the last flick, but it just comes off as forced and silly. As before, ‘Trautman’ (Richard Crenna) emerges from the woodwork, (with ‘Robocop’s Kurtwood Smith in tow) to locate the wayward Vietnam veteran, to try to convince to him join in on a mission into the rocky mountains and desert plains of Afghanistan. It seems that the CIA’s efforts to keep the noble mujahideen freedom fighters (who in reality would later go on to become The Taliban) supplied with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles (a mission that was actually undertaken) has been a resounding success…except in one northern province. This particular area is governed by a particular Soviet garrison commander, and done so with an iron fist. ‘Trautman’s efforts, however, are wasted and ‘Rambo’ turns down the opportunity to join the plan. Later, we see ‘Trautman’ on mission, just long enough to watch him get ambushed and captured by the pesky Russians. Of course, word gets back to ‘Rambo’ and in no time at all, he’s heading back to war. He teams up with a group of rebels (and an annoying side-kick of a child) and sets about kicking some serious commie ass!!
‘Rambo III’ came about at an interesting time. 1988 was the year that Action Movies changed forever with the release of ‘Die Hard’. It seems that audiences had maybe had just about enough of the overly-patriotic, indestructible and borderline psychotic action ‘heroes’ that had been plaguing the Silver Screen for nearly 10 years (Norris, Schwarzenegger, Lundgren etc). I think this is apparent when you consider that THIS movie lost $10 000 000 at the Box Office, while ‘Die Hard’ rolled in and kicked the shit out of just about everything on-screen that year. People wanted a hero they could relate to and worry about like ‘John McClane’, instead of a pumped and oiled up, heavy machine gun-toting monster of a human who could mow down entire armies in one burst in the name of all that is Right and Just (as the right-winger Americans saw it), like ‘John Rambo’. ‘Rambo III’ takes the ridiculous over-the-topness of ‘Part 2’ and just goes crazy with it. It is insanely, yet cartoonishly violent and all the characters are cardboard cut-outs resembling people. As the movie was playing out, every time they focused on ‘Rambo’s Afghan allies, I inwardly just shook my head and chuckled. I get the same reaction anytime I see Timothy Dalton’s first outing as James Bond, in ‘The Living Daylights’ (1987). In THAT film, as with this one, our Hero aligns himself with the poor, downtrodden people of Afghanistan who, in keeping with ancient traditions of battle and honor, fight the monstrous forces of the Cold War-era Soviet juggernaut with meager weapons and a steely resolve. These ‘heroic’ people would later go on to become The Taliban and would become a serious pain in the West’s ass. It’s the historical equivalent of teaching an attack dog to defend against intruders…only to have it whip around and take a bite out of you unexpectedly. But back then…they were ‘The Gallant People of Afghanistan’! I just find it amusing.
All in all, ‘Rambo III’ is just as bad as ‘First Blood Part 2’, in it’s patriotic ridiculousness and fetishistic blood-letting. Many of the battle scenes are cool, only if you remove your brain and watch on Auto-Pilot. There is no realism to any of what’s shown and by the time the credits roll, I felt like I’d been beaten down by the movie…instead of pulled into it. Granted, watching 3 of these things, in quick succession, may also have that effect.
*Hits STOP, still laughing at the ‘Gallant people’ Title Card. Tries to stand, falls back on couch. Tries again. Succeeds. Stumbles into kitchen. Grabs Beer #?. Grabs DVD copy of next flick. Collapses heavily on couch. Hits PLAY.
In between 1988 and 2007, a little movie named ‘Saving Private Ryan’ (1998) came out…and changed the way action scenes were shot and edited. Steven Spielberg stepped into the ring and put us, the audience, into front-line combat in a fashion that actually frightened me the first time I experienced it. The immediacy and grit of his desaturated, hand-held style obviously spoke to MANY film directors and suddenly, we were seeing that style quickly become The Way to show war in movies. The same can also be said of the use of realistic gore effects, also stemming back to ‘Ryan’. In THAT film, Spielberg used the abrupt explosions of blood and viscera to pound home the idea that REAL combat is nasty, dirty and rough. It served a purpose and was appropriately hard to watch. Somewhere along the way, Stallone took this motif and ran with it, using a new ‘Rambo’ story as the backdrop.
The differences in style (compared to the previous 3 flicks) are apparent from the get-go. Taking the director’s chair this time around, Stallone opens the film with realistic news footage from Burma, detailing the ongoing (at the time) Human Rights violations being perpetrated against The People by the brutal, tyrannical dictatorship. Just to make sure the we, the moronic audience, get the point, the first scene we get is a group of civilians being forced to run across a rice paddy while the EVIL Burmese soldiers hedge bets on who’ll be taken out by the freshly tossed anti-personnel mines lurking in the mud. In the end it doesn’t matter, as all the civilians / victims are brutally machine-gunned to death anyway. We then catch up with ‘John Rambo’, who has gone back to his refuge in Thailand (after his near single-handed destruction of the Soviets in Afghanistan) where he operates a small boat and hunts snakes to sell in town. It’s a quiet existence and the guy seems content to keep it that way. Maybe having several hundred violent deaths under your belt will have that effect. And then the American missionaries arrive. A group of these idiots approach ‘Rambo’ in order to charter his boat for a trip across the border into the hostile and unpredictable territory of Burma, where they intend to set up camp in a village and bring aid and The Word of God to the local, impoverished population. It takes some convincing, but in the end, ‘Rambo’ agrees to quietly take the crew of Bullet Fodder to their destination. Aside from a quick, bloody confrontation with a boat-load of bandits, he gets them to their goal and they go about their business. Naturally, it doesn’t take long for the local Burmese militia to come a callin. These guys are impressively portrayed as serious scum. Stallone took the kid gloves off to show these assholes at work, gracing us with pleasant images of kids being bayoneted, babies being tossed into fires (no shit), men being shot and machete’d while women are raped and murdered. And it’s not cartoonish…like the violence in the other flicks. Stallone is REALLY trying to make sure we hate these pricks so that we can root for ‘Rambo’ to wade in and seriously fuck them all up. Which he does, of course. Only this time, he’s not alone. The church that the missionaries came from passed around the collection plate and hired a group of mercenaries to charge in and rescue their people…or, whoever happens to still be alive. ‘Rambo’ gets caught up with these guys and soon brings his expertise in such matters to bear on the problem. After that, it’s a bloody free-for-all, as lots and lots of people (on both sides) are wasted in fast and gruesome ways.
Most of the entertainment from this one comes from moments of disbelief, where I had to blink to see if I did just see what I think I saw. Stallone practices no restraint with his depictions of gory violence here. Hell, some of it nearly becomes The Stuff of Legend, like the sequence where ‘Rambo’, after having quickly decapitated the soldier manning the anti-aircraft-like machine gun mounted on the back of a Jeep, proceeds to swing the barrel around and open fire on the startled driver, from a distance of about two feet!! The guy spastically explodes all over the place, coating the large metal shield on the gun with what looks like the contents of several jars of pasta sauce. It’s actually cynically amusing in just how over-the-top it is. Numerous other scenes like this are scattered throughout the run-time. What’s strange about this is how at odds it seems to be with the established flavor of the previous movies. Granted, they were all products of the 80’s and there was a certain, established method to showing these kinds of stories that wouldn’t work today. But that doesn’t mean that we NEEDED another ‘Rambo’ movie, especially one that is so totally lacking in escapist ‘fun’, like the others were. This one nearly cuts too close to home with it’s depictions of actual human-on-human cruelty and it’s not fun being reminded that that shit does exist out there in The World. But then again, seeing ‘Rambo’ kill the shit out of the fuckers who we were shown as the perpetrators does act as a sort of ‘distanced’ wish fulfillment of Justice served.
All in all, ‘Rambo’ is a strange addition to the series, as it’s vibe differs significantly from the others. The plentiful violence is nasty and, at times, hard to watch and I’m not sure that’s the route to go for when crafting a piece of escapist entertainment. If there’s never another ‘Rambo’ movie, I think The Masses will be Ok with it. This one is interesting to see as an example of Stallone’s prowess behind the camera (he’s a talented writer / director), and some of the action is undeniably well-shot and edited, but it’s largely an unnecessary ‘throw-away’ of a film, much like the series as a whole (with the possible exception of ‘First Blood’)
And thus ends my ‘Rambo’ marathon. I don’t know if I’m now a Better Man because of this or if I should take this as a warning about the sort of mind-numbing shit I’ll get up to when the girlfriend isn’t around to guide me away from questionable uses of my time like this. It was fun to get drunk and space out watching these slices of the 1980’s, but I think that I’ve reached my quota on the ‘Rambo’ flicks for, at least, the next decade. They’re out there…I’ve seen them…and I know their place in cinematic history. I now have to search out some cinema of a decidedly more mature and cerebral nature…to try and repair whatever damage ‘John Rambo’ may have done to my mind.